HP muscles out third-party ink cartridges with new office printers

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HP is switching its ink cartridges on new PageWide and OfficeJet Pro printers so they use a proprietary type of ink in order to improve print quality among other factors – and also to ensure users can't purchase cheap cartridges from third-party suppliers.

As PC World reports, the so-called pigment ink has only been pushed by HP in industrial printing thus far, and this is the first time it'll be used in office printers.

The good news is that print speeds will be nippy, as pigment ink can be sprayed simultaneously across the whole page, with the top of the range PageWide model achieving around 75 pages per minute in basic mode (and 50 PPM when switched to high-quality).

HP says that the print quality is better than an office laser printer, and the ink is also more durable than a standard inkjet, so your printed pages should last for a good deal longer.

Only HP sells the new ink cartridges, with prices starting at $40 (around £28, or AU$54), and the company claims the cost of printing is cheap with a black and white page running to a cent, with colour costing 6 cents – half the cost of printing a colour page with a laser printer.

Best-in-class security

HP also notes that the new PageWide printers boast best-in-class security features including the likes of firmware integrity checking.

The PageWide models are targeted at bigger organisations, with the OfficeJet Pro suitable for smaller offices and SMBs (printing up to 2,000 pages per month) offering compact designs to easily fit on desks and budget oriented prices – but obviously they won't be as quick on the draw in terms of printing speed.

The PageWide printers will start from $400 (around £280, or AU$535), and the OfficeJet Pro from as little as $130 (around £90, or AU$175) when they're released later this year (most models will ship next month or in May, although the cheapest device we've just mentioned isn't coming out until September).

Enrique Lores, president, Imaging and Printing, HP, commented: "We're reinventing printing for every business – large or small. Traditionally vendors have spoken about 'Good, Better, Best' where most customers have to compromise, but today we are promising 'Best, Best, Best' allowing our customers to determine the right print solution for their business, not their budget."

Owners of these new printers can also benefit from HP's Instant Ink, the print service whereby new cartridges are sent out by the company just before you run out of ink.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).