HP Pagewide Enterprise Color 556dn
HP’s PageWide Pro and PageWide Enterprise inkjet printers are among the best laser alternatives available. The PageWide Enterprise Color 556dn is $749.99 is essentially the same machine as HP’s slightly less expensive that is $699.99 Editors Choice PageWide Pro 552dw. This is with a few differences in features. Such as the 552dw, the 556dn is fast and prints well. It’s highly expandable. Unlike the 552dw, however, the 556dn has some of the lowest running costs in the business. That’s enough for it to nudge the 552dw out as our Editor’s Choice for medium-to-heavy-duty standalone printers for micro and small offices.
- Good print quality.
- Low running costs.
- High-yield ink tanks available.
- High standard and optional paper capacities.
- Lightweight for its size.
Adding Wi-Fi, wireless direct, and NFC connectivity costs extra.
Expansion paper trays and printer stand are expensive.
The fast inkjet printer is the HP PageWide Enterprise Color 556dn. This produces laser-quality text and terrific-looking graphics at very low costs for its class.
Design and Features
At 16.5 by 20.9 by 16 inches(HWD) and weighing in at 37 pounds. The 556dn is the same weight and size as the 552dw. It’s comparable to a similarly equipped standalone color laser printers in size. Though the PageWide machine is lighter than most laser printers. Canon’s Color ImageClass LBP712Cdn. For instance, measures 15.3 by 18.1 by 18.3 inches. On concord, at 77.2 pounds, it weighs more than twice as much as the 556dn.
HP’s PageWide machines behave such as laser printers in that the print heads consist of an array of ink nozzles that span the page instead of a carriage moving back and forth, spraying ink, printing small sections at a time. PageWide machines image the entire page in memory before sending it beneath the nozzle array in one pass similar to their laser counterparts. This allows for much faster print times than you get from traditional inkjet printers.
Since PC Labs tested the PageWide Pro 552dw prior to developing our current benchmark regimen. We can’t compare its performance stats against the 556dn’s directly. Both machines are rated at 50 pages per minute(ppm) in Standard mode and 75ppm in Draft mode with that in mind. Using our Core i5 tested PC running Windows 10$119.99 at Microsoft. I tested it in Standard mode with impressive results.
The 556dn printed out lightly formatted Microsoft Word text file at 53.2ppm-3.2ppm faster than the printer’s rating. It is also faster than nearly every other printer we’ve reviewed using our new test documents. Only the Dell Smart Printer S5830dn$999.99 at Dell, with a speed of 62.2 ppm, printed our test text document faster. When we added our PowerPoint, Excel, and Acrobat PDF files containing images and graphics to the mix. The 556dn’s print speed plummeted to 18.9ppm. On Concord, such a drop is not unusual. The S5830dn fell from 62.2ppm to 23.8ppm on this portion of the test.
HP rates this printer’s first-page-out time at 7.1 seconds finally. We came up with 14 seconds after averaging several attempts. Overall, first-page-out times were erratic, with a few upwards of 20 seconds. On only one test did we see a time near HP’s rating(7.7 seconds), and without that result, the first-page-out time would have been even higher.
PageWide nozzle arrays aren’t only faster than traditional inkjet print heads. On concord, they contain smaller, tightly positioned nozzles that produce superb business and text graphics. Additionally, inkjet printers churn out better-looking photos than most laser printers. As with the PageWide Pro 552dw and HP’s other PageWide models including the PageWide brand’s OfficeJet Pro X predecessors. We have no real complaints about the 556dn’s print quality. Photographs came out somewhat lifeless and dull on our high-quality document paper. But look much better when we switched to premium photo stock. Other than that, text in all but the smallest fonts looked very near laser quality. Highly legible and suitable for all business applications. Except, perhaps, rendering fine print.
Our PowerPoint slides and Excel graphics came out better than average too, with consistent fills and smooth gradients. Even our darkest and most difficult-to-reproduce gradients printed without noticeable banding or other ink distribution flaws. We should point out such as laser and PageWide printers. This one cannot print “bleed” to the edge of the paper. Every page, even small say, 4-by-6-inch photos. It must contain a small margin on all four sides, making PageWide machines the only inkjet printers we know of that can’t print bleeds. Especially photos, some documents, don’t look properly “finished” with white paper margins all the way around the content.
The HP PageWide Enterprise Color 556dn prints well, inexpensively, and fast. It has a wealth of expansion options. Unfortunately, some of these, especially with regard to connectivity, cost extra compared with the similarly configured 552dw, and the expansion drawers and stand are significantly more expensive. Even so, if you print thousands of pages each month, the 556dn’s low running costs make it a better value. For instance, you print 10,000 pages each month. At 0.5 cent less per page, the Enterprise version will save you $600 per year over the PageWide Pro iteration. That’s reason enough for it to be our top pick for medium-to-heavy-duty standalone printers for micro and small offices.
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