HP or Epson: What’s the best draft printer?

HP or Epson: What’s the best draft printer?

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
Memory 8GB 256MB
Power consumption 120W 85W
Warranty One year onsite ex printhead One year onsite inc printhead

The verdict

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.

To find out more about large format printing, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email CAD@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Epson Stylus Pro 7700 and 9700 review

Epson Stylus Pro 7700 and 9700 review

With the help of our CAD expert, Sam Tomlinson, we put the new Epson Stylus Pro 7700 and 9700 printers to the test.

Epson says: The Epson Stylus Pro 7700 and 9700 are packed with the latest Epson technologies that add precision, reliability and productivity to a wide range of professional printing needs. Together they give you the finest quality output without compromising speed.

Sam says: Each time a new printer is launched onto the market it always promises the latest and most advanced technology, so your cynicism is understandable. But from the print samples I have seen, these printers do exactly what they say on the tin! The Epson Ultra Chrome Ink (which now includes vivid magenta) makes the prints clear and they precisely match the colours on screen. Epson have also assured us that prints should last around 75 years, (though we clearly didn’t have time to test this) and that is perfect for archiving. The Micro Piezo TFP printhead is probably to blame for the bulkiness of these printers which seems to be an issue with a lot of Epson printers. However, a look under the magnifying glass revealed perfectly accurate little dots that didn’t mist or have any satellites. Even after long periods of inactivity, it still produced perfect prints immediately, with no nozzle issues.

Epson says: These printers are designed to give you faster output without compromising print quality. They do this by using advanced compression and decompression technologies that speed up data throughput during printing.

Sam says: When it comes to printers, the faster they are the better, but that is only if they can maintain the quality. Of course the level of precision is reduced when you print at faster speeds, but even at the highest speed, these are perfect for drafts and sketches. The slower, higher quality prints are outstanding and would probably give you that competitive edge when pitching for new business. Whilst the highest quality prints do take considerably longer, these models are conveniently equipped to deal with overnight printing.

Epson says: A range of features make the printing process as easy as possible, and gives you the flexibility to match your printer to the way you print. Fast network connection, clear, simple control and straightforward operation and maintenance are built-in.

Sam says: With new ways of monitoring and controlling print jobs, you don’t have to hit print and hope for the best. The control panel screen isn’t your usual multifaceted gadget that scares even the most technical of minds; it is simple, easy to use, straightforward to understand and it genuinely makes a difference to the level of control you have over printing. If anything does go wrong – for example, if you run out of media half way through a job – barcode printing allows you to back-track just as far as the problem, without having to start over (saving both time and money). Different departments can track their printing too.

Buy it if: you do a lot of professional printing. An on-site, high performance professional printer is a worthwhile investment, especially given the cost of external printing. In terms of price, both of these models compare quite favourably to similar printers on the market. These have been crammed with all the latest Epson print technology but, despite all of its technological glory, the 7700 model only takes print sizes up to 24″ and that could be quite restrictive. If you’re not going to exceed this size, great but, if larger prints are what you are after, I would recommend the 9700, which takes paper sizes up to 44″ wide.

Get in touch with our CAD experts on 03332 409 306 or email CAD@Jigsaw24.com for more on our printing solutions.