For graphic designers, accurate color output is a must. While many home Mac users are fine with an inexpensive ink-jet printer, designers need a post-script printer, good color-management tools, and reliable printing. Enter the DesignJet 10ps, a true post-script six color 2400 x 1200 dpi, and is touted by Hp to be able to reproduce 90% of the pantone color library.
Set-up is relatively simple. The DesignJet 10ps uses your Mac as the software RIP, rather than a more conventional network RIP (raster image processor) more generally found in large print shops and design studios. The DesignJet 10ps is not a networkable printer, but a stand-alone unit for one user. The solo graphic designer can rejoice, however, because you can use USB Print sharing with the DesignJet 10ps, making the unit somewhat a network printer. However, USB Print Sharing is a slow process, and those designers needing to share a large-format post-script printer would do well to look at the DesignJet 20ps, the $1,400 cousin of this printer.
The DesignJet 10ps is a large format (A3+, or up to 13 by 19 inches) printer, meaning you can print full bleeds of spreads with crop marks. The DesignJet 10ps supports both gloss and mate paper.
Speed is relative. Those used to working with software RIP will understand that the DesignJet 10ps is not the speediest printer, but is acceptable depending on the speed of your printer. A 350MHz G4 will take forever, while a dual processor 1.2Ghz machine will speed right through the RIP process. Printing speed itself is remarkably fast, due in large part to the half an inch printing at a time. A full 13 by 19-inch color print, once the RIP was done, took less than one minute to print out. Impressive.
Print quality is very impressive. Using a Pantone guide, color accuracy seems spot-on. Also impressive is the ease of which the user can swap-out the ink in the system, lifting a simple transparent plastic door to access the printheads. Nice.
What is not so impressive is the cumbersome color management. While the software tools installed on both the OS X and Classic work, they are not easy to use. And I simply could not get an X-Rite to work with the DesignJet 10ps at all. Whether this was the RIPs fault or my Mac is unknown, but the standard color settings HP provides the DesignJet 10ps with seem to work. Besides, if you need perfect prints, you will probably want to look at a printer a little higher up the food chain than this printer.
I enjoyed my time with the DesignJet 10ps. For those operating a small print shop, say two people, or the freelance graphic designer who needs large format printing capabilities, give the DesignJet 10ps a long look. Under $900 is a very good price. One thing to keep in mind is that this is a six-ink system, meaning each print-head will set you back on average $35. (Or over $200 to change all print-heads.)
Pros: True post-script accurate printing, large format, speedy printing, and ergonomic attractive case. Great control and status window on the unit itself. Easy print-head access. ColorSync Compatible.
Cons: Excessive fan noise at idle, slow RIP, very poor documentation.
MacMice Rating: 3.5 out of 5