HP Drives Down Small Business Inkjet Printer Costs

By Pedro Hernandez | Posted March 27, 2014

HP is lowering the cost of inkjet printing with new multifunction printers and a service that delivers ink directly to small businesses, well before panic sets in and they rush to the nearest office supply store for more printer ink.

Despite an abundance of entry-level laser printers in the market, small businesses still flock to inkjets. According to InfoTrends, inkjets will constitute 56 percent of all printers used by U.S. businesses by 2016. That's a lot of ink, and HP aims to make it more affordable for small businesses with its new Officejet Pro 8600 series inkjet printers and the HP Instant Ink service.

"Small business owners constantly look for ways to reduce operating costs and increase productivity," said HP's Stephen Nigro, senior vice president of HP's inkjet business unit. His company's solution is a new line of printers that "reduce costs and increase efficiency with the availability of HP Instant Ink replacement service and the latest mobile print technology."

Color Inkjet Printing for Less

Compared to color laser printers (the gold standard of business printing), HP's new all-in-ones (printing and scanning), the HP Officejet Pro 8610, 8610 and 8630, can produce high-quality color printouts at up to 50 percent lower cost-per-page, claims the company. The savings also add up in some non-obvious, yet eco-friendly ways.

"HP Officejet Pro printers are also Energy Star qualified, which means they use up to 50 percent less energy than laser printers," said Mark Quiroz, vice president of current business management at HP IPS. The Officejet Pro line "is also an environmental leader offering automatic two-sided printing to cut paper use in half, and it uses up to 80 percent less in supplies and packaging by weight when compared to color laser printers."

Color Inkjet Ink for Less, Too

Small business can lower costs further by subscribing to HP Instant Ink. The service delivers inkjet cartridges to customers just as their printers report to HP that they are running low.

Quiroz explained to Small Business Computing that Instant Ink-compatible printers—like the HP Officejet Pro 8610, 8610 and 8630—"contain larger high-yield cartridges, which tell the printer how many pages they’ve printed, and how much ink they contain." The printers then relay this information "through the cloud, and HP automatically schedules the delivery of replacement ink well before the cartridges run out."

HP Instant Ink is more than an ink delivery service, it's a new, lower-cost way of purchasing ink, he added. "The program is based on the number of pages you print, not the amount of ink you use, so black-and-white documents, color documents and photos all cost the same, roughly $.03-$.06 cents each.

Taking a cue from some cell phone plans, "you can roll over a certain number of pages from month-to-month for later use," said Quiroz. Further, being able "to print any style of document at one flat rate saves consumers money, because it removes the quantity of ink used from the cost equation." Flat-fee, monthly pricing plans are based on the number of pages a customer prints—not how many cartridges they use.

But can inkjets really rival color laser printers in quality? "Yes, breakthroughs in inkjet technology ensure professional color printing with laser-sharp text and vibrant images," claimed Quiroz. HP's inks resist fading, smearing and the smudging effects of highlighter markers, plus the "HP 950/951 Officejet ink cartridges used in the HP Officejet Pro series include proven proprietary black pigment ink technology for increased durability including water and highlighter resistance."

The HP Officejet Pro 8610 goes on sale in select countries on April 7 for $199. The 8620, with a 4.3-inch color display, and a 50-page automatic document feeder, will also ship in select countries on April 7 with a starting price of $299. Finally, the top-of-the-line 8630 goes on sale on May 5 and includes OCR software, bundled color cartridges and an additional paper tray. Prices start at $399.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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