Wide-Format Printers/Plotters

First Look Review: HP OfficeJet PRO K850DN Color Inkjet Printer

31 Jan, 2006 By: Ron LaFon

HP's new OfficeJet Pro K850dn color inkjet printer generates quality wide-format color prints.

HP Introduced A variety of new printers, one of which—the HP OfficeJet Pro K850dn—we thought would be of particular interest to Cadalyst readers for generating check plots. The HP K850dn is a wide-format (Super B) color inkjet printer with integrated networking capabilities. Its print speeds in draft mode reach 24ppm black and 21ppm full color. In laser quality mode, it prints up to 7ppm in black and 6ppm in color—comparable to the performance you might expect in an entry-level color laser printer. The printer's performance is augmented by a 256MHz processor and 32MB of onboard RAM. For the absolute best quality, speeds of 4ppm per minute black and 3.7ppm color are more typical. Speed depends greatly on the quality of output needed.

The K850dn is priced at $499.99 and features a duplexer module and integrated Ethernet networking in addition to all of the features included on the base model. A built-in Web server enables users to enter its IP address in a Web browser and easily control the printer or determine print job and ink level status. Both Ethernet and USB 2.0 connections are available, as well as a standard IEEE 1284 parallel port, making the printer extremely useful for workgroup situations.

The HP OfficeJet Pro K850dn includes a 100-sheet output tray that accommodates paper sizes from 3" X 5" through 13" X 19". The input tray holds 150 sheets of 13" X 19" paper or smaller. A 10-sheet manual feed slot is provided for specialty papers and heavy stock (up to 76lb). Effective print resolution using HP PhotoREt III enhanced color-layering technology is 4800x1200-optimized dpi color printing on premium photo papers, 1200x1200 input dpi. If you're using the duplexing attachment included with the K850dn (available as an optional accessory on the K850), you must remove it to use the manual feed slot, though this is quick and easy to accomplish.

 HP OfficeJet Pro K850dn
HP OfficeJet Pro K850dn

Ink cartridges and print heads are separate in the K850dn, with two ink cartridges sizes available—69mL and 28mL for black and 28mL and 14mL for color. We tested the HP OfficeJet Pro K850dn with 5" X 7" and 8.5" X 11" glossy Advance HP Photo Paper, and 13" X 19" HP Premium Plus Photo and Proofing Gloss paper. Test output was surprisingly fast and of very high quality, with no streaking or unevenness visible whether the printer was outputting vector (line) art or bit-mapped (raster) images. Text produced by the printer was crisp, with no signs of fill-in or breaks, even in smaller point sizes. The K850dn has eight built-in fonts, four each in portrait and landscape orientation.

The K850dn is compact for the size of output it handles, measuring 24" X 20.66" (with the duplex unit attached, 17" without) X 8" (WxDxH). Relatively quiet in operation, it weighs 31.5lb fully equipped. The box includes the printer, a setup roadmap chart, printer heads and ink cartridges, a multi-language user guide, power cord, power adapter and driver CD. The HP OfficeJet Pro K850dn requires at least a 90MHz Pentium processor, 16MB of RAM and 90MB of hard disk space. It's supported under Windows 98/ME/NT 4/2000/XP and various flavors of Macintosh, including OS X. Other operating systems supported include Red Hat Linux 9.0+, SuSE Linux 8.1+, Debian 3.0+, Stackware 8.1+ and Lindows 1.3+.

The HP Officejet Pro K850 series color inkjet printer handles checkplots with a maximum print area of 13" X 100".
The HP Officejet Pro K850 series color inkjet printer handles checkplots with a maximum print area of 13" X 100".

With its relatively low cost, high quality, fast performance, solid engineering and ease of use, not to mention its connectivity options, the HP OfficeJet Pro K850dn offers a winning combination that will make it a comfortable fit for the individual user as well as the small workgroup.

Ron LaFon, a contributing editor for Cadalyst, is a writer, editor and computer graphics and electronic publishing specialist from Atlanta, Georgia. He is a principal at 3Bear Productions in Atlanta.

About the Author: Ron LaFon

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