The HP Officejet Enterprise Color X555xh Printer ($1,199.99) is one of a select group of inkjets that are better grouped with, and measured against, laser printers. Like the Editors' Choice HP Officejet Pro X551dw Printer( at Amazon Canada), the X555xh offers laser-like speed and paper handling, which lets it easily take the place of a laser in a midsize office or workgroup. It also offers extras, like the ability to print files stored on its own hard drive, that makes it of particular interest to offices that need the sort of features most often found on enterprise-level printers.
Like the X551dw and other printers that are laser-class but not actually lasers, including the Xerox ColorQube 8870DN( at Amazon Canada) and the Memjet C6010 Powered by Memjet( at Amazon Canada), the X555xh takes advantage of a printhead that's nearly as wide as the page. HP calls its version HP PageWide Technology.Our Experts Have Tested 53 Products in the Printers Category in the Past YearSince 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. (See how we test.)
The advantage of the wide printhead is that it can print the page in one sweep from top to bottom, without the printhead shuttling back and forth. That lets it print a lot faster than a traditional inkjet. For the X555xh, this translates to a 44-page-per-minute (ppm) rating. In theory, that's the speed you should see when printing a text document with the printer's default setting and ignoring the time for printing the first page. It wasn't quite that fast in my tests, but I clocked it with a text file at a more than respectable 31ppm.
The BasicsAt least as important as its raw speed is the fact that the X555xh offers an appropriate level of paper handling for that speed, with two 500-sheet drawers, a 50-sheet multipurpose tray, and a duplexer (for two-sided printing), all standard.4.5OutstandingCheck Stockat AmazonRead Our HP Officejet Pro X551dw Printer Review 3.5Good Read Our Xerox ColorQube 8870DN Review3.5Good Read Our Memjet C6010 Powered by Memjet Review
Among the X555xh's noteworthy conveniences are the ability to print PDF files from a USB memory key and a 4.3-inch color touch-screen control panel that makes it easy to change settings and give commands.
If you want to connect by Wi-Fi, HP offers an external module for the printer with standard Wi-Fi only ($199.99). In addition, you can get optional internal ($49.99) and external ($69.99) modules that add Wireless Direct—HP's version of Wi-Fi Direct—so you can connect directly to the printer from a smartphone, laptop, or tablet to print even if you don't have an access point on your network. Both modules also add NFC Touch-to-Print, which lets you print though a connection you can establish simply by touching the device to the printer. At this writing, however, only a limited number of mobile devices support Touch-to-Print.
Among the features that earn the printer the "enterprise" designation is the ability to add both administrator and user passwords. The administrator can log in at the printer's front panel or from a browser to change any number of options, including security settings, whether to allow printing from a USB key or printing through the cloud, and whether and where to automatically send alerts such as low-ink warnings via email or text message.
Setup, Speed, and Output QualityThe X555xh is big and heavy for an inkjet, measuring 21 by 15.7 by 24 inches (HWD) and weighing 63 pounds. Moving the printer into place, and stacking it on top of the second paper drawer, is best considered a two-person job. Setup is otherwise standard. For my tests I connected the printer to a wired network and installed the drivers on a Windows Vista system.
I timed the X555xh on our business application suite (using QualityLogic's hardware and software for timing) at 8.8ppm, essentially tied with the HP X551dw's 9.2ppm. (Differences of up to about 0.5ppm aren't significant at this speed.) That makes it slower than the Memjet C6010, which I clocked at 14.8ppm, but it's still faster than most laser printers we've tested at PC Labs.
Output quality is also a plus. Text quality was a step below par for a laser in my tests, but easily good enough for almost any business use. Graphics were par for a laser, making them more than good enough for any internal business use, up to and including PowerPoint handouts and the like. Depending on how critical an eye you have, you may consider the output good enough for marketing materials like one-page handouts.
Because the X555xh is meant to compete against lasers, I ran our official timing tests with our photo suite using plain paper rather than photo paper. The output was a little worse than you would expect from an inkjet, with colors a little dark in terms of a hue-saturation-brightness model. On the other hand, it was comparable to the bottom of the range that includes most color laser printers.
I also ran the photo suite using photo paper. As you would expect, the output looked better than on plain paper. However, colors were still a little dark. The overall quality was roughly a match for the worst you would expect from drugstore prints.
One final plus for the X555xh is a low claimed cost per page, at 1.1 cents for a monochrome page and 5.5 cents for a color page. That's not particularly low for this expensive a printer, but it is low enough to help keep running costs down.
If you're looking primarily for fast printing, the Memjet C6010 is worth a look, because it was much faster than the X555xh, at 14.8ppm, on our tests. However it only has a 250-sheet paper capacity, which may keep you busy refilling the tray if you print a lot of pages. As a practical matter, you'll probably be better off with either the X555xh, with its 1,050-page capacity, or the HP X551dw, which offers 550 sheets standard and an optional 550-sheet drawer ($199) to bring the capacity up to 1,050 sheets.
If you don't need the HP Officejet Enterprise Color X555xh's hard drive or its administrative features, be sure to consider the HP X551dw. It offers the same speed and nearly the same output quality as the X555xh, which makes it a better value for most small and mid-size offices and keeps it in place as Editors' Choice. If, however, you can make good use of a hard drive and assorted features for security and administrator control, the X555xh will likely be the better printer for your needs.
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