A Powerful Multifunction Printer for Small Business - Page 2

By Aaron Weiss
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Fast and Colorful Printing

Printing is one area where HP's LaserJet Enterprise Color Flow M575c multifunction printer really shows its colors, so to speak. Most jobs we sent put ink to page one within 10 seconds. And the print speed just accelerates from there. The rated print speed of 31ppm for black and color is not far off the mark. We easily achieved just a few ppm shy for a long, mixed black-and-color document at normal print quality. Expect slower speeds when using automated full-duplex printing for saving paper.

If you spend a lot of time waiting for color inkjets to print, it might be a shock to see a full-color page land in the output tray on the M575c in less than a minute. And while the color output may not be magazine or art-show quality, even full-color photographs on premium paper look rich and natural.

Color laser printers do come with a premium per-page cost compared to their inkjet brethren. The M575c uses three color toner cartridges that about $220 apiece, plus the $200 high-capacity black toner. With a 6,000 page rated capacity, average color prints cost about 11 cents per page. Many inkjets run between 5-7 cents per page. We don’t intend this to knock the M575c, but just to emphasize that this is a premium-priced printer with operating costs to match.

Color aside, the printer's output is not only blazing fast, but sharp and strong. Print a copy of a clean original, and it can be difficult to tell which is which.

Despite its limited support for USB drive file types, the M575c is otherwise well connected to handle incoming print jobs. In addition to printing from a standard desktop, you can send jobs from mobile devices using Apple AirPrint, HP ePrint, and over the Internet via email.

Speedy Scanning

Almost more impressive than the M575c print speed is its rapid, high-volume scanner. With a 100-page ADF and double-sided scanning, this MFP scans up to 30 ppm for color pages and nearly 40 ppm for black and white. To put this in perspective, documents we fed through the ADF essentially rolled right through and into the output tray without even a pause for the scanner to catch up.

Additional intelligence features, such as automatic blank page removal and double-feed detection, help ensure that the MFP doesn't botch a 100-page scan job.

Unlike input file formats, the M575c actually supports a flexible range of output formats for scans—including PDF, JPG, TIFF and XPS. Beyond that, the scanner includes built-in OCR processing. You can choose output formats including plaintext, RTF, searchable PDF, and HTML, for which the machine will output processed text from the original document. Like any OCR system, the results work best when the original document is clear, printed output with a relatively simple layout.

Further, you can save scans directly to the printer’s memory for long-term storage and repeat printing in the future. Or, you can setup the M575c to save scans to a USB drive, shared network folder, one or more email recipients, or a SharePoint server.

High-volume Printer Value

Here's the bottom line with an MFP like the M575c. The high sticker price pays off in high-volume output and efficiency. With a rated monthly duty cycle of 75,000 pages, the M575c is best used in an active, multi-user environment. The price tag buys you the capability to juggle and manage multiple streams of print and scan jobs—and to output those jobs very quickly. You also get a build quality that inspires confidence.

However, the premium features also come with increased complexity—the plethora of menus and options may overwhelm a business with small print job needs. If that describes your business, this is not the printer for you.

We can see small businesses that handle a lot of documents using the M575c as a scanner first and a printer second. In this era where so many documents are ultimately stored digitally, this MFP’s fast and robust automatic scanning offers true performance over cheap MFPs.

Aaron Weiss is a technology writer, screenwriter and Web development consultant living in LA. His Web site is: bordella.com

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This article was originally published on July 23, 2013
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