Fast. Great text and graphics quality in testing. Very low cost per page. USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and wireless direct connectivity. PCL and PostScript drivers.
Sub-par photo quality in testing. Large and heavy.
- Bottom Line
The HP PageWide Pro 750dw Printer is a speedy, heavy-duty use color inkjet printer with great text and graphics quality, very low running costs, and the ability to print at up to tabloid size.
By Tony Hoffman
Workhorse color printers designed to print at up to tabloid (11 by 17 inches) or A3 size are uncommon enough that we are always eager to test them here at PC Labs. Although traditionally the best have been lasers, such as the Editors' Choice Xerox Phaser 7100/DN, laser-class inkjets have been making inroads into this niche. In fact, the HP PageWide Pro 750dw Printer ($2,199) brings enough to the table to earn it our Editors' Choice for up to heavy-duty use in a workgroup or small office. It combines the lightning speed typical of HP's PageWide line with text and graphics quality good enough to print marketing materials. Although its purchase price is on the high side, its comparatively low running costs should recoup the money paid up front.
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A Humongous Printer for Large Prints
The off-white 750dw is ginormous, measuring 18 by 23.5 by 20.9 inches (HWD). At 110 pounds, it is heavy enough that you will want two or more people to move it into place, and you will want to put it on a sturdy bench or table. We expect tabloid/A3 printers to be large and heavy, but the 750dw tops the laser-based Xerox Phaser 7100/DN (16 by 21 by 19.7 inches, 97 pounds) in size and weight. The 750dw does have greater standard paper capacity—650 sheets of up to tabloid-size paper, split between a 550-sheet main tray and a 100-sheet multipurpose feeder, while the both the 7100/DN and the OKI C831dn have a 400-sheet standard capacity.
You can add up to three optional 550-sheet trays ($399 each) to the 750dw for a 2,300-sheet max, or a 4,000-sheet drawer and stand ($1,829), for a maximum 4,650 sheets. The trouble with the latter option is that the drawer is split between two 2,000-sheet trays, each of which can hold only letter-size paper.
The 750dw has a maximum monthly duty cycle of 75,000 pages and an impressively high recommended monthly duty cycle of up to 15,000 sheets. The Xerox 7100/DN's maximum monthly duty cycle is 52,000 pages.
On top of the printer is a tiltable 4.3-inch color touch screen, which lets you change settings, run print apps, and control security features such as password-protected printing.
The 750dw has an excellent selection of both wired and wireless printing choices. They include USB for connecting to a computer, and both Ethernet and Wi-Fi for connecting to a LAN. (I tested it over an Ethernet connection, with its drivers installed on our standard testbed running Windows 10 Professional.) It supports two peer-to-peer options for connecting wirelessly with a computer without needing to go over a network: Wi-Fi Direct and NFC (near-field communication). It is Apple AirPrint compatible, and it supports printing from Google Cloud Print. It offers a good set of drivers, including PCL 6, PCL 5, and HP's PostScript emulation. Most businesses don't need to print with PostScript, but for those that do, a PostScript driver is a must.
Sizzling PageWide Speed
HP's PageWide inkjet printer technology features a print-head assembly that runs the full width of the page and remains stationary while the paper moves across it, producing speeds that are more typical of laser printers than inkjets. The 750dw is no exception, and speed is a key strength.
I timed the 750dw at 35.5 pages per minute (ppm) in printing the text-only (Word) portion of our new business applications suite, just beating its 35ppm rated speed in its default Presentation mode. In ad-hoc testing in Draft mode, for which it is rated at 55ppm, we timed it at 50.8ppm, short of its rated speed but still impressively fast and with no obvious loss in quality. On our full business suite, which includes PDF, PowerPoint, and Excel files in addition to the aforementioned Word document, it averaged 16.2ppm—very fast for an inkjet and faster than most color lasers we have tested. Although we can't measure it head-to-head with the Xerox 7100/DN (rated at 30ppm) or the OKI C831dn (rated at 35ppm), for which we used our old test protocol, you should have no complaints about the 750dn's speed.
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Great Text and Graphics
Overall, output quality is a plus for the 750dw, with above-average text and graphics, and below-par photos. Text quality is unusually good for an inkjet, and it should be fine for any business use except perhaps those requiring tiny fonts.
Graphics were crisp, with well-saturated colors, even in backgrounds, which with inkjets often look faded. In a few illustrations we noticed some minor banding, a regular pattern of faint striations. Graphics should be good enough for printing PowerPoint handouts, even ones to be distributed to important guests or clients. With photos, colors were slightly off in some prints, and there were traces of posterization, sudden shifts in tone where they should be gradual. One monochrome image showed an obvious tint.
Low Running Costs
The 750dw has very low running costs for a tabloid or larger-format printer, 1.1 cents per black page and 5.6 cents per color page based on HP's figures for its highest-capacity cartridges. These figures are much lower than the costs for the Xerox Phaser 7100/DN (2.2 cents per black and 13 cents per color page) and the OKI C831dn (2.2 cents per black and 12 cents per color page), and they easily beat out the costs (2 cents and 10.6 cents) for the Xerox Phaser 7500/DN, our Editors' Choice workhorse supertabloid (13-by-19-inch) color printer.
A Formidable Tabloid-Size Printer
The HP PageWide Pro 750dw Printer is priced a little above the other high-volume color tabloid printers we have looked at, but it is money well spent. For one thing, although you may pay more up front for the 750dw than other tabloid printers, you should be able to save money over time, thanks to its modest ink costs. Its print quality for both text and graphics are great for an inkjet, and it is fast. The 750dw offers better paper capacity, a much wider range of connectivity choices, and considerably lower running costs than the Xerox 7100/DN, and becomes our new Editors' Choice color tabloid printer for up to heavy-duty use in a workgroup or small office.
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As Analyst for printers, scanners, and projectors, Tony Hoffman tests and reviews these products and provides news coverage for these categories. Tony has worked at PC Magazine since 2004, first as a Staff Editor, then as Reviews Editor, and more recently as Managing Editor for the printers, scanners, and projectors team. In addition to editing, Tony has written articles on digital photography and reviews of digital cameras, PCs, and iPhone apps Prior to joining the PCMag team, Tony worked for 17 years in magazine and journal… More »
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