The world of printers isn’t fast-moving, but every so often there’s a genuine leap forward. We’ve recently seen several inkjets trying to provide the strengths of lasers with mixed results, but the Lomond EvoJet Office pulls it off spectacularly: it’s an inkjet that its maker claims will print colour documents at 60ppm.
With standard inkjets, the print head scythes left and right across the page as the paper is fed through. The EvoJet uses Memjet technology, where a single massive print head – 223mm wide and with 70,000 print nozzles – remains static, laying down a “waterfall” of ink as the paper passes through. The nozzles create 1pl ink drops, which is the same size as the leading Canon Pixmas, and Lomond says the fixed head makes it more durable than a standard inkjet with more moving parts.
We were sceptical of such heady claims as we set the device up. It has a low, long shape, with the four ink tanks dropped in from a flap on the top and the paper loaded into a 250-sheet tray in the base. There’s a single-sheet feed at the back, and the only controls are a few buttons on the right of the sloping top.
We connected via USB, loaded the ISO standard 5% colour document we use for all of our inkjets, and first printed multiple copies of a single mono page. Sure enough, after around ten seconds of preparation, the pages began hurtling out – spitting may be a better word – at an amazing 60ppm. We tried again with the full colour document and the speed didn’t drop at all. The claims are right on the money.
There’s no draft mode – as if you’d need prints any quicker than that – but there is a Best mode. With that engaged the speed was bang on 30ppm with every document we tried. Apart from a slightly more solid look to blocks of colour, we really couldn’t see a difference between the two modes, so even at top speed you’ll get clear text and accurate colours. It isn’t perfect: blacks are quite pale and prints lack the boldness of the best inkjets, but to all but the most discerning eye they’re absolutely fine.
Better still, the EvoJet can also print photos, albeit only on A4 paper. We loaded a few glossy sheets and opened our test photomontage in Photoshop. Again, we didn’t expect much, but it came rocketing out at the same speed as a normal print. There were faint lines visible in places and the detail wasn’t quite there, but with remarkably accurate colours we’d put it a single rung below the best from Canon and HP.
There’s a major downside to all this: a hefty £659 price. It’s offset to some extent by print costs of 1.1p for a mono page and 3.1p for colour, although you’ll need to shell out £230 to replace the all-important print head after 50,000 pages. It also lacks a few important office features, such as a duplex mode and the ability to add extra paper trays.
But despite that, what you get for your money is an office device with unique abilities. The combination of amazing speed and good-quality prints, along with running costs lower than most colour lasers, makes this hugely appealing for workgroups. It’s a genuine advance for inkjet printing.