HP's ink-based MFP threatens laser supremacy
Big new CM8060 Color MFP with Edgeline technology proves that six print heads are better than oneFollow @infoworld
Meanwhile, the CM8060 went about its business. Although it's as big and bulky as any other corporate-level MFP, the gentle swishing sound it makes while printing will tip you off that it's no laser. The noisiest part of the machine was the optional, 4,000-sheet input bin, which whirred and rattled a lot while feeding paper; the integrated input trays were more discreet. Most features are available via a large, full-color, LCD control panel. Big buttons for primary functions lead you into more detailed menu levels.
Fast and fuzz-free
The CM8060 is, indeed, fast. It printed a 10-page, plain-text document at an impressive rate of 27.64 ppm; more complex documents, such as full-page presentation slides and photos, exited at much slower (but still good) speeds of 8.44 ppm and about 3 ppm, respectively. Making multiple copies helps any MFP hit its stride; in my tests, the CM8060 topped out at 53.5 ppm while making 10 copies of a 10-page, plain-text document -- admirably close to its fastest spec.
The print, copy, and scan samples I made on the CM8060 (all on HP papers) equaled those of a select sampling of laser MFPs for crispness and color quality. Printed text looked flawless to the naked eye; copied and scanned text looked only a little fuzzy. Color images varied more: Printed photos and Excel charts looked bright and realistic, but large areas of color on our PowerPoint presentation slides looked washed-out and sometimes blotchy. Copied and scanned color images faded a bit and looked a little grainier than the originals. The CM8060 sprays a bonding agent onto the page to enhance image quality and water resistance; in my anecdotal attempts, the CM8060's output can handle a little water spillage or one or two swipes with a highlighter before it begins to smear.
Big MFP, small (mostly) problems
Although the CM8060 is mostly easy to use, a few quirks stood out. The top of the multifunction finisher I used looks like a great place to lean your elbow -- until it adjusts itself upward, pushing you away. Opening the multipurpose tray is difficult because you can't tell where to pull -- and you have to pull hard. If you get lost among the many features available on the control panel, you'll have to look hard for the "Home" button; tucked into the upper left-hand corner, it looks more like a decoration. The onscreen keyboard's buttons -- which one might use, for instance, to send a scanned image to an e-mail address -- seemed too small and insufficiently sensitive to the touch.
Trying to print in pure grayscale -- using only black ink -- uncovered some problems: Selecting the "Black and White" Printing Shortcut (one of several umbrella settings that automatically changes a lot of underlying settings) yields a four-color gray (which looks a little pinkish); you have to go into the Color tab to set it straight. Currently you can't print in pure grayscale on the printer's own Edgeline Glossy Media 180g; HP says it'll fix this in the near future.
I used to complain about 300-pound, color-laser MFPs, but no more; the CM8060 outweighs all of them by more than double. But this isn't a sumo-wrestling match; it's a test of a new technology against a really familiar, comfortable, older one. In this regard, the CM8060 measures up very well.