The Hp K550

By: Asif Amod

While the cost is a touch more than other "prosumer" printers, the price is still WELL below that of a color laser, regardless of who makes it. Unlike a color laser, there are less parts to break. Which is always useful. Utlimately, you get what you pay for with hardware and this is very true in the case of this printer.

In terms of speed, the printer delivers reasonably well on the promised 37 ppm. From when the first sheet is picked up to when the last sheet came out, I averaged about 20 ppm in draft mode for 2 PDF files, a word document and color powerpoint slides, all totaling to 96 pages. The printer really excels at printing draft color quickly and there was almost no speed difference whether the document printed in color or in just black and white.

Draft mode was very legible and acceptable even for presentations if it was a tad bit darker. Obviously, if draft mode is used, the quality is lower than normal, but for everyday usage, draft mode is fine for me.

Other things to consider: the unit is fairly large and clunky, but built solidly enough. Since the printheads are heavy, there will be a lot of vibration if the printer is placed on an unstable surface. It's noisy at times with clicks and taps, but not annoyingly so. Initial setup and callibration uses about 8 sheets of paper and takes 10 minutes.

It also comes with some printer utilities that allow you to track how much ink is left, what percentage, and projects how long each ink tank will last based on current usage. I think the driver is well built in that there aren't unnecessary third party applications running in the background to monitor the status of the printer.

All in all, HP has done fairly well with this offering, further entrenching their reputations as leaders in their field.

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