HP OfficeJet 7000 Wide Format review
Printers that can cope with paper larger than A3+ are mainly confined to the world of graphics professionals, but HP and a couple of other makers are trying to stretch their office inkjet ranges to include A3+ printers, which can handle ordinary office documents as well as full-bleed photo prints, even at the larger size.
HP's OfficeJet 7000 Wide Format is a new release into this market.
The large paper size means the OfficeJet 7000 has to be wide, but HP has done its best to keep the footprint small when the machine isn't printing A3 or A3+ pages. Its gloss and matte black case has a single paper tray at the front, using HP's traditional C-shaped paper path to an output tray directly above the input one. For A4 and small paper sizes though, you don't have to extend either the feed or output trays, both of which are telescopic. They are easy to extend when you want to switch paper sizes, but it would have been useful to have a second feed tray, so you could keep two different paper sizes loaded at once.
Controls are minimal, with four buttons set into the machine's front edge, governing network connection, job cancel, paper feed and power. There are also four LED indicators for ink levels, although the easiest way to check these is via the monitor applet that's installed with the rest of the Mac software. Data connections are USB and Ethernet, with sockets at the back, together with a low-voltage input for the black block power supply - HP still refuses to integrate its PSUs into the bodies of its printers.
The printing system uses a semi-permanent inkjet head - with a very deep swathe giving fast print times - and four separate cartridges that clip into place in the head carrier. The design of head and cartridges is reminiscent of Canon's, right down to the twist-off orange seals on the bottom of the cartridges. Once installed, the printer carries out an alignment and ink-charging cycle, but seems to fiddle around maintaining itself before and after most prints. Software installation is completely painless and paper detection is automatic.
Performance was good, with our 10-page black text document completing in one minute 24 seconds, a speed of 7.14ppm. It was a bit slower on shorter documents, and when printing in colour, with a five-page black text and colour graphics test returning a speed of 4.05ppm. These speeds are still good for an inkjet printer, although hopelessly adrift from HP's quoted draft mode speeds of 33ppm and 32ppm. These figures exclude the time the printer takes to prepare, which goes some way to explaining the discrepancies in print speeds - depending on how recently it has printed and how much ink it has used, the OfficeJet 7000 can take up to 50 seconds before the first page of a document starts to feed. It also spends a while spinning its drive rollers and squeezing ink after it's finished a print job, which doesn't increase the print time, but can be irritating to listen to.
A 15 x 10cm print took one minute six seconds to print and a full-bleed A3+ print completed in three minutes 10 seconds. Both these speeds are very good for a printer whose primary function isn't photo printing. Photo print quality was also pretty good for a four-colour machine. Colours were smooth and natural, but there was a slight red cast when printing at larger page sizes. Images showed plenty of detail in both highlights and shadows, though.
On plain paper, colour results were also good, with plenty of brightness in business graphics and good registration of black text over coloured backgrounds. Reverse text was still easy to read and straight black-on-white was clean, with only slight evidence of bleed.