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Hewlett-Packard’s Officejet Pro K5400 is the best value workhorse inkjet printer

Issue #0732/2 – With a long-term CPP that is a minimum of 30% below its closest rivals in the business inkjet market (and can easily cost as little as one-third of the cost of some rivals – depending on print volume), the Hewlett-Packard Officejet Pro K5400 is the low-cost A4 printer for small businesses.

Almost as an addendum to the article , a comparison of the models mentioned against the Hewlett-Packard Officejet Pro K5400 (launched in the spring of this year) is a valuable exercise because Hewlett-Packard has created a Total Cost of Printing model in the Officejet Pro range that currently has no match.

As a starter, it’s purchase price on the street averages out at only €90, which is right in line with the single function business oriented inkjet printers reviewed in the article , and yet its suitability for business use is unrivalled.

Hewlett-Packard Officejet Pro K5400Hewlett-Packard Officejet Pro K5400

Utilising Hewlett-Packard’s fastest inkjet print engine, black print speed (at 36ppm) is just 1ppm short of the current record set by Epson and yet colour pages can print as fast as 35ppm. At normal print quality (which equates to correspondence quality), the print speed is 16ppm for black pages and 15ppm for colour pages. It is here that the Epson D120 appears to have an edge with its 25ppm correspondence quality black print speed.

Nozzle density offers a native resolution of 1,200dpi and the print heads incorporate 1,056 nozzles per colour, compared to 180 nozzles in Epson’s black print head and 90 nozzles in the each colour head.

Standard paper capacity on the K5400 is a healthy 250 sheets and there is the option of adding a second paper feed that offers another 350-sheet capacity, taking maximum capacity to 600 sheets from two sources – a level that is every bit as good as a number of the low-end colour laser printers.

Hewlett-Packard has followed its usual model range structure, meaning that customers will need to purchase the dt model in order to gain access to auto-duplexing and dual feeds from purchase. Each of these features is available as an optional extra to the base model.

Maximum duty cycle for the K5400 is set at 7,500 pages per month, a figure that is very much higher than the average inkjet printer and gives plenty of leeway for small businesses. In fact, a duty cycle figure is quoted only by Lexmark for the printers lined up in the article . This is quoted as 3,000 pages per month, less than half the capability of the K5400 – and is probably unrealistically optimistic for the device.

Perhaps the most significant feature of the Officejet Pro range though, is the fact that they utilise individual and independent ink tanks and two long-life (41,500 pages!), replaceable print heads that contain nozzles for two colours each. At this level, they far exceed the life expectancy of most low-end laser printer OPC drums!

These independent ink tanks are high capacity, providing a massive 2,450 pages from the black and 1,750 pages from each colour and each can be replaced on its own, as required.

So, users can expect to end up with an overall Cost of Printing under the 3 €cents level if they print 500 pages per month. For higher-volume users, the savings grow further.

Even for users printing as little as 125 pages per month (6 pages per work day!), the K5400 is still the best value option, with a long-term CPP of 5.23 €cents – 29% lower than any of the alternative printers (the closest of which just happens to be Hewlett-Packard’s own Deskjet D6940).

A saving of 60% should be expected against the Canon iP-4500 and the Lexmark Z1420.

Business class
colour inkjet
Print Speed Nominal
Mixed mono/colour
CPP over 3 years
OfficeJet Pro K5400
€90.32 Mono
1.25 €cents
5.05 €cents
3.94 €cents

Note that all prices used here are quoted in Euro and are average street price, inclucing tax.

For this level of machine, the mixed mono/colour CPP over three years shown in the accompanying table is calculated on the basis of printing 500 pages per month; 70% pages in mono and 30% pages in colour; is based on the use of maximum capacity supplies; takes into account any standard, or starter, supplies shipped with the device; and also includes the cost of purchase. All prices are average street price in Euro and include tax.

Total Cost of Printing

Business Class Inkjet Printers

While the K5400 is perfectly well capable of printing photo quality images on specialty media, this is not what the Officejet Pro series is designed for. The one feature it lacks, therefore, is a borderless printing capability. This should not, however, be a major issue for the type of businesses for which this printer is designed.

To conclude, the OfficeJet Pro K5400 should be the best value proposition for a very wide range of business users.

But, there are a couple of major barriers to its adoption in many businesses.

Firstly, there is a tendency for buyers, and perhaps business buyers in particular, to discriminate against inkjet in a business environment simply because it is inkjet.

Secondly, with laser printer prices falling so rapidly, most businesses should be able to afford to adopt laser printing – and this plays heavily into the hands of the ‘Holy Grail’ syndrome that draws users towards laser technology as the ultimate solution.

However, the one aspect that is heavily in favour of inkjet rather than laser is, quite simply, the Total Cost of Printing. Even with colour laser printers costing so little to buy, the long-term Cost of Printing of the K5400 is very much lower than that of typical low-end colour laser printers.

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