Despite regular updates, the technology behind printers hasn't fundamentally changed for decades; lasers, inkjets and even dye-sublimation photo printers all work essentially as they always did, which is why it's exciting to review the Lomond EvoJet Office. Based on technology developed in Australia, the EvoJet's makers claim that it will print a page a second. It's an inkjet, but not as we know it.
About the same size as a laser, but lighter and much less power-hungry
The dramatic step up in speed is made possible by the EvoJet's print head which, rather than moving back and forth across the page, is fixed in place and spans the full width of the paper path. Pages cascade through the printer at a constant speed as the huge head lays down a so-called 'waterfall' of ink. Unlike a laser, there's no lag while the page image is created on a photosensitive drum.
Physically, the EvoJet Office looks much like a workgroup colour laser printer. There's a 250-sheet paper input tray in the base, a single-sheet multipurpose feed at the back, and a 125-sheet output tray at the front. That's where the similarity ends, however. With less complicated working parts it's a fair bit lighter than a laser, and with no fuser to heat it runs far cooler and uses much less electricity – we measured peak power consumption of just 34 watts. In use it's much quieter than most other inkjets, helped by the absence of frenetic print head movements. The only significant omission is the lack of an automatic duplexer.
There's little time to appreciate such subtleties while the EvoJet is at work, however. We cued up our regular black text test and watched open-mouthed as it shot out at more than 45 pages per minute (ppm), closely followed by our taxing colour test at nearly 31ppm. While these may seem a way off the claimed 60ppm speed, we usually include the time taken to create the print job and send it to the printer. Removing this, the text test hit exactly 60ppm, with colour lagging only slightly behind. It's an astonishing result for any printer at this price, let alone an inkjet.
Fast inkjet prints are rarely impressive, but the only fault we could find with those from the EvoJet was that on plain paper they were a little faint, lacking the impact we'd expect from a good colour laser. Printing on Lomond's own coated matte paper, text and graphics became incredibly punchy, but at 3p a sheet the extra quality is only worth it for special presentations. Surprisingly, given that photos were spat out almost as quickly as plain paper prints, the results on Lomond's glossy paper were impressive, let down only slightly by a couple of very faint vertical lines. It's quite uncanny watching photos this good appear so quickly.
Fortunately, Lomond hasn't dropped the ball when it comes to the EvoJet's running costs. Even allowing for a new print head after the rated 45,000 pages, mixed pages of text and colour graphics should cost only about 4p each, slightly less than the most cost-efficient workgroup colour lasers in the same price range – which will run up higher electricity bills. Combining quality, speed and value, this really is a remarkable printer.
Not just the fastest printer we've tested, the EvoJet Office produces quality prints for peanuts. It's the future of inkjet printing.