Looking for a print solution for your drafting workflow? There are dozens of large format printers out there which will all produce good quality results, so we’ve pitched two of the top offerings from HP and Epson against each other so you can see what kind of printer is best for your needs…
HP DesignJet T790
HP are primarily known for producing technical CAD printers for use in architectural, engineering, surveying and construction environments. Their 44″ DesignJet T790 is a plug-and-play large format printer which combines high-speed results with intuitive use. The real stand-out points here are the ability to easily create print-ready PDFs with the optional AutoCAD plug-in and the collaborative aspect of HP’s exclusive ePrint & Share application. This free web-printing solution allows you to select, print and share files directly from the colour touchscreen.
Epson Stylus Pro 9700
Epson’s range of photo and graphics printers have a heavy emphasis on print quality, and so are mainly used in the print for pay, production graphics, pre-press proofing and photographic sectors. They may seem a little over-qualified if you only need a printer that’s adept at producing 2D drafts, but if you’re working in an environment where you work with a range of designs and media, the flexibility of the 44″ Epson Stylus Pro 9700 could be what you need. ENERGY STAR-qualified, it also boasts plenty of eco-features such as a fixed printhead and low power consumption to boost your green credentials and keep printing costs down at the same time.
How they stack up
The stats you need to know, at a glance.
|Printer||HP DesignJet T790||Epson Stylus Pro 9700|
|Printhead||HP Thermal Inkjet||Epson Micro Piezo TFP Variable-sized Droplet Technology|
|Max resolution||2400x1200dpi||1440x1440dpi (special line mode)|
|No. colours/cartridges||Six cartridges (C, M, Y, Photo Black, Matte Black, Grey)||Four colours, five cartridges (C, M, Y, Photo Black and Matte Black), ten ink channels|
|Nozzles||2,112 nozzles per colour, 12,672 nozzles||720 nozzles per colour, 3,600 nozzles|
|Minimum droplet size||6-9pl||3.5pl|
|Max print speed||50m^2/h||50m^2/h|
|Best quality print speed||2.8m^2/h||4.2m^2/h|
|Paper thickness||60 to 328g/m^2 up to 0.8mm||0.08 to 1.5mm|
|Warranty||One year onsite ex printhead||One year onsite inc printhead|
In terms of initial cost, there’s little to separate the two printers (both have an RRP of around £3000), but the Epson does just edge the HP in terms of consumables, with printheads included in the guarantee and ink costing nearly half per ml. The real decider should be what you want your printer to achieve – for a dedicated drafting printer, you may be better off with the quicker, more accurate Epson 9700 and its collaborative tools, but if you need your printer to do more flexible colour design work, the HP T790 could clinch it for you.