HP prints wide across enterprise

Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Ltd. has released the LaserJet 5100, an entry-level wide-format monochrome printer.

Designed for general office environments, the 5100 prints documents as small as 3×5 inches and as large as 11×17 inches which makes it of special interest to fields such as architecture, engineering, graphic design and finance, said Jean Paul Desmaris, HP’s Toronto-based business manager for LaserJet printers.

This printer also features four sources for paper input, a speed of 21 pages per minute (ppm) on standard-size documents, 1,200-dpi resolution and a 65,00 page-per-month duty cycle.

Desmaris also highlighted the 5100’s embedded Web server which allows IS managers and users to manage the device remotely from any standard Web browser. He also said that standard HP PCL, HP-GL/2 and HP PostScript 3 emulation ensure that it works in any environment, and has usual HP support features such as automatic notification for driver updates.

Wide-format capability makes up only about 5 per cent of the Canadian printer market, but the numbers have been growing slowly and steadily at about the same rate as the general monochrome laser market, said Bill Fournier, an analyst with Toronto-based Evans Research.

Fournier said that a multi-tray printer like this often has a vertical application in a horizontal market. That is, it allows companies that aren’t engineering or design firms to still do some designing and engineering.

Fournier also noted that although remote management and non-user interactions, such as automatic ordering of toner, are strong features, these “smart” printers “have a lot of power that has yet to be realized. It all translates to better, more reliable printers at a better prices, but nothing that’s going to say (to IT managers), ‘Let’s go out and replace everything.'”

Brian Greenspan, director of Wam! Interactive, a Toronto-based marketing services firm, has been using an earlier HP wide-format printer for speciality printing jobs and especially likes the device’s network compatibility.

Greenspan said that Wam! initially set up its printer on its Macintosh LAN and one day someone took a notion to plug it into the PCs as well and “when we said ‘print’ it printed.”

Although he has been quite happy with the device’s support and reliability, on the next one he buys Greenspan would like to see a feature that tracks the amount of toner used per job to help set his rates and monitor his own expenses.

Available now, the HP LaserJet 5100 has an estimated retail price ranging from $2,500 for the base model, to $4,300, for the most feature-rich. For details, the company can be found on the Web at www.hp.ca.