Versatile large-format inkjet printer

Hewlett-Packard’s latest six-color, thermal-inkjet, large-format printer, the Designjet 130nr, brings a lot of versatility to the table in what is a niche product type. With 64-MB RAM standard, the 130nr can produce photo-quality images at 2400×1200 dpi in sizes from postcard to 18×24″ within the paper tray and up to 24″x50′ roll-fed. With its proprietary RIP software installed, the results are consistently clean and clear.

While 2D and 3D Illustrator and InDesign output was sharp, accurate, and impressive, Photoshop output was somewhat more finicky, making recalibration necessary. This is actually a nice problem to have, as the results were consistently good in all sizes and contact sheets. The tonal balance and transition tones stand up well from both design work and digital photography. While the color saturation was accurate, overall output was slightly cool. Once the printer was recalibrated, colors were more accurate, but image contents that were truly cyan in color were slightly oversaturated by about 6%.

Standard Ethernet, HP Jetdirect 615 LAN, 1 EIO, and USB 1.x connections are on board, along with an easy-to-understand LCD status screen so that you know your ink levels at all times. Performance specs are good with B-sized prints rated at 4 ppm and D-size at 12 ppm; however, in better output settings, I found times about one-third less—still acceptable given the quality of the output. On the downside, the built-in cutter is inconsistent and tends to miss the last 3 or 4 millimeters when printing from HP’s roll papers.

The HP Designjet 130nr produces consistently great results for a large- or even standard-format printer and offers a lot of quality for a more modest cost—and with a wide range of output options.

PRICE: $1,895
FOR: Mac and Windows
FROM: Hewlett-Packard Development Company
PHONE: 800-752-0900