HP revolutionises colour printing with mono option

I thought I had seen it all when Canon said a good way of getting fit is printing more in the office; but I’ve just seen that HP has a revolutionary new printer innovation – a mono printer that can print in colour.

Can’t most colour printers already print in black and white if you change their configuration? Well you might ask, because yes, most can. So how is a mono printer that can print in colour different from a colour printer that can print in mono? Again, well you might ask.

But perhaps HP does have a point. You see with the new HP LaserJet 3000 Series, if the colour cartridge runs out, it continues printing in mono. With many colour printers (not least others in HP’s line-up) when the colour cartridge runs out, you can’t print anything – even in mono – until you replace the colour cartridge. With some models you even need to install a new black cartridge before you can get printing again.

The other apparent benefit of the new 3000 Series is that you get ‘mono performance’ – “up to 29ppm, cost per page and footprint mean this product can replace your ageing mono fleets without compromising productivity or the operational costs associated with volume mono printing,” the company explains. But you don’t sacrifice ‘colour performance’ either – “at 15 ppm and cost managed by colour access control software.”

The colour access control software means that you can enable colour to be used only by specific users or applications, you can temporarily disable colour, and you can also collate usage monitoring reports to see how much colour is being printed and by whom.

To be fair, they’re not the only ones flogging such a product – Dell’s Colour Laser Printer 5100cn is fairly comparable, with up to 35ppm mono and 25ppm colour, as well as having print management software that enables one to restrict colour only to certain workgroups or individuals.

The print management software for both the Dell and HP devices is perhaps the most valuable feature, giving IT departments a little control over who can burn up their colour cartridges and who cannot. In the scheme of things companies do still bleed a lot of money from their printer estates, and anything that can help to reduce that is a good thing.

The difference between a colour printer that is capable of printing in mono, and a mono printer capable of printing in colour, may ultimately be close to zero. But in terms of the way IT departments look at their print infrastructures, and how they deal with a handful of end users asking for colour print capabilities, it may actually represent an important philosophical difference.

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