We had a chance to visit the Konica Minolta showroom recently to demo the HP PageWide XL 8000 printer.
The first thing you notice about the PageWide is the speed. It is fast. And the speed is not just an incremental improvement. It is revolutionary.
With most printers, the print head needs to pass over the paper in order to print that section. Some printers have used multiple print heads to reduce the amount of space each head will need to cover. With the PageWide, there are eight print heads and those heads don't have to move. This allows for lightning fast print speeds even at higher quality range.
While the PageWide does not market itself as an art level graphics printer – like the Canon Colorado 1640 poster printer - the results are very close to slower, higher quality printers. There is also word that a firmware update may resolve some of the issues that keep the printer from being a top level graphics printer.
The other notable feature of the PageWide is the seemingly easy maintenance. The print heads are designed to last for over a million or 1.5 million square feet. And when they do need to be replaced, it is a snap out and snap in operation.
Here are some pictures we took of the printer during our demo.
The target market for the PageWide XL is industrial or CAD posters. It also works great for posters that aren't viewed from up close, such as posters used for specials at supermarkets.
There is also a Colex Fotoba cutter that integrates with the PageWide that will cut the posters as they come out, so one could feasibly print and cut 100 movie size posters in a matter of minutes.
We look forward to re-evaluating the PageWide XL 8000 once they have a chance to upgrade the firmware to see if we can get graphic level quality prints.