HP PageWide Pro MFP 577dw Review

Cloud computing coupled with virtualization technologies significantly leveled the playing field for small and medium sized businesses in terms of their ability to have enterprise-class infrastructure at less than enterprise-class pricing. The latest generation of HP PageWide Pro multifunction printers brings a similar level playing field to document solutions for the small and medium sized business market.

I recently had the opportunity to review the new HP PageWide Pro MFP 577dw, which provides enterprise printing performance at a cost of ownership that's pallatible to businesses of any size. More importantly, the 577dw does this without compromising on features in the process.

Below I highlight some of what makes the MFP 577dw a powerful business mutlifunction printing solution.

HP PageWide MFP 577dw

Printing and Copying

When you look at the output from the 577dw, you'd think it was coming from a laser printer and not from an inkjet. That's partly because HP did a great job rethinking how ink-based printers should work. Gone are the days of the print head moving back and forth shaking your entire desk as it prints. The entire PageWide line of printers uses a print head that spans the page, allowing the page to move over the print head just like a laser printer moves the page across the drum. This allows the printer to output more quickly and generally promotes a higher quality image.

The 577dw includes native support for Microsoft Word and PowerPoint files, which means you don't even need a computer with either app installed in order to print the two formats. You can insert a thumbdrive in the printer or even email either format as an attachment and expect the document to print.

Printing speed is definitely one of the more impressive features of the 577dw. Both printing and copying are possible at 50 pages per minute at best quality while draft mode for both can output as fast as 70 pages per minute. The printer even wakes up quickly from idle which means the first page should start printing within 7 seconds of the printer receiving the job.

For materials management, HP makes it easy to reduce the replacement cycle for both paper and ink cartridges. Cartridges are good for roughly 17,000 black and white pages and 13,000 color pages. Paper trays can be expanded beyond the base configuration to include multiple 500 sheet trays, which helps reduce the need for employees to frequently load paper. The base unit incudes one 500 sheet tray and the ability to side load odd paper sizes.

Scanning

The scanning funtions of the 577dw are probably my favorite feature. In addition to being able to do 1200dpi scans of up to 8.5x14 inch materials, the scanner can also autofeed pages as well. This to me is where the device shines among other printers in this class. The auto-feed option supports dual-sided scanning, meaning you can scan in full documents without needing to babysit the entire process. The scanner can send your job to a variety of destinations, allowing you flexibility in getting your documents to the right location.

Faxing

I do very little faxing these days, but sometimes it's still the best way to send a document. HP bundles a solid set of faxing features into the MFP 577dw. The device can store up to 100 black and what pages or 8 color pages for faxing. With caller ID enabled, the 577dw can help block junk faxes. And the speed dial supports up to 99 numbers in the address book.

On the receiving end, HP Digital Fax technology will route inbound faxes to a computer or email address, reducing printing costs and avoiding printing any of the junk faxes that might sneak through the filters.

Enterprise-class Experience

While the actual day-to-day operations are what you should definitely appreciate, HP has done a nice job of including a true enterprise-class experience in the 577dw feature set.

The touch screen makes the process of choosing the type of job you are working on painless. The onscreen experience (walk through included in the embedded video below) is very app-like. You can hide features that aren't relevant to your office and re-order the features so that the most commonly used components show up first.

With an NFC-enabled smartphone or tablet, you can walk up and print without needing the device to be on the same network as the printer.

On the security front, HP builds in several features that are more commonly found in enterprise printing solutions. PIN-based print job retrieval prevents the wrong people from seeing your print job. If you've got employees who abuse the use of color printing, built-in HP Color Access Control allows you to selectively enable color printing.

Conclusions

The MFP 577dw is a workhorse that handles fairly sizable workloads for organizations who demand fast print output and high volumes without needing to replace materials frequently. HP managed to lower the power usage to the point where a simple 2-prong plug is used rather than a grounded cable. As of this writing, the base package is available online for $899, which is highly competitive for the feature configuration in the 577dw.

While I generally like to point at least one or two flaws in a produc, I'm having a hard time coming up with anything this particular case. Maybe HP could have included some paper in the box to get me started?

Be sure to watch the video below for a walkthrough of many of the features discussed in this review.