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Reviews

HP PageWide Pro 452dw review

Picky about paper, but this business inkjet blasts lasers away with its high speeds and low running costs

Price
£310
  • Excellent speed and colour; Inexpensive running costs;
  • Reacts badly to certain paper types; No embedded access controls;

Lasers should be very afraid of the big, bad PageWide Pro 452dw. This colour inkjet looks ideal for busy workgroups since it offers an amazing 55ppm print speed, unbeatably low running costs and a price that similarly high-performance lasers can't match.

The 452dw achieves these speeds with HP's PageWide technology. Instead of using a traditional inkjet carriage that has to move across the page, it has a full-width static print head with more than 42,000 nozzles.

It uses four large ink cartridges inserted behind a pop-down panel at the front, with the high-yield black and colour versions lasting 10,000 pages and 7,000 pages respectively. This combo delivers mono and colour page costs of only 0.9p and 4.6p.

Mobile users should look no further because, along with 10/100 Ethernet, the HP sports 802.11n wireless, AirPrint, Wi-Fi Direct and NFC. Note that the printer doesn't support simultaneous wired and wireless services, and if it senses an Ethernet cable is connected then it will disable wireless.

The HP Connected web portal assigns an email address to the printer, allowing remote workers to send documents directly to it. Basic access controls allowed us to assign black or white sender lists, but we couldn't decide who was allowed to use colour.

We had no problems using AirPrint and Wi-Fi Direct on our iPad, and we also tested HP's ePrint iOS app. After registering it with our HP Connected account, we could remotely print photos, emails, web pages alongside files from Box.com, Dropbox or Evernote, and use the app's tools to resize, crop or rotate images.

The maximum print speed is only achievable on the 300dpi General Office (GO) driver setting. With this selected, our 55-page test Word document was fired out in 1min 1sec with a time to first page of a mere seven seconds.

Colour slows down the pace: our 24-page DTP test returned 38ppm on the GO setting. We found text-only pages were printed at the top speed, but the 452dw slowed down for each colour image.

The Professional driver setting increases resolution to 600dpi and dropped speed for our 55-page Word document down to 38ppm - slightly below HP's claims. Our DTP test document slowed down the proceedings even further, averaging a lower 25ppm.

The GO setting is good only for draft prints since text is very grainy, but it does improve noticeably at the Professional setting. The 1,200 x 600dpi Presentation option delivers near-laser quality, with mono photos revealing good detail in dark areas.

Colour output is excellent, with the IT Pro performance chart revealing bright primary colours and smooth transitions across complex fades. This results in eye-catching colour reports, but choose your paper carefully - cheap 80gsm paper and HP's Everyday paper suffered from the inkjet wrinklies.

Premium 100gsm paper produced superior results, but photos printed on glossy paper were too dark and suffered from occasional smearing. Our best photo results were with HP's 180gsm professional matte inkjet paper, which produced some superb prints on the driver's maximum resolution setting.

The 452dw doesn't have any embedded access controls, so you can't restrict colour usage or apply page limits to selected users. What you can do is use HP's Printer Administrator Resource Kit (PARK) to create custom installations of its universal print driver with built-in printing restrictions.

The PageWide Pro 452dw easily sees off lasers in the same price bracket because it's faster and cheaper to run. You do need to pick your paper carefully, but it's capable of producing high-quality business reports and it also comes with a heap of mobile printing features as standard.

Verdict

The PageWide Pro 452dw easily sees off lasers in the same price bracket because it’s faster and cheaper to run. You do need to pick your paper carefully, but it’s capable of producing high-quality business reports and it also comes with a heap of mobile printing features as standard.

600 x 600dpi A4 colour inkjet

40ppm colour/mono (Professional mode)

512MB RAM

2 x USB 2

10/100 Ethernet

802.11n wireless

Wi-Fi Direct

NFC

Duplex

500-sheet input tray

50-sheet MPT

Recommended monthly duty cycle, 4,500 pages

530 x 401 x 380mm (WDH)

16.4kg

1yr on-site warranty.

Options: 500-sheet lower paper tray, £152 exc VAT

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