The Battle of the Fastest Inkjets:
NEW HP 970Cse vs Epson 900

(first posted 10/21/99)
© 1999 Rob Art Morgan, editor of BARE FEATS

You might recall the shootout I conducted when the HP 895Cse and Epson 900 first came out. At that time, I was so impressed with the Epson, I sold my old inkjet and got one for myself. I was a little sad for Hewlett Packard. I've always loved their printers but in recent years they seemed to come up short on speed and print quality. But when I found out they were coming out with a new inkjet that could rival the speed and quality of the Epson 900, I couldn't wait to test it.

Here are a fresh results using a new set of test files. I've included the popular Epson 740i (available in iMac colors) and the large format 6 color Epson 1200 as reference points.



Conclusion: The HP 970Cse Rocks!
(Wanna buy an Epson 900?)

The HP won every speed test hands down.

As for output quality, the HP made the color photo look as good at 600 dpi with "Advanced Color Layering Technology" (ACLT) as the Epson did at 1440 dpi. In that mode, the 970 lays down as many as 29 dots for every pixel in your color graphic.

The HP's Draft text looked better than Epson's Normal text. That's largely due to their use of pigment based ink for black printing. (Color is dye based.)

I've always been suspicious of printer speed ratings. Nowadays, manufacturers time their printers from "pick" to "clunk" or from when the printer picks up the paper until it "clunks" the finished printout into the tray. They reportedly do that to eliminate the computer's activity from the equation. But that doesn't tell the whole story. The rest of us want to know how long it takes from "click" to "clunk" or from the time we click "OKAY" until the finished printout "clunks" into the tray. So that's the way I do my tests.

Speed isn't everything. There are other factors to consider:

  1. The HP was extremely quiet. The Epson was as noisy as R2D2. It shakes the whole table when it's printing. Sort of a "shake rattle and roll."
  2. The HP has a sexy shape and its two tone gray color scheme goes well with my new Graphite G4. It looks fast sitting still. The Epson is a squared off beige box which looks better next to my old 7500.
  3. The HP gives you the option to automatically print on both sides. Epson requires you to feed the same sheet in manually.

    In defense of the Epson, it does have more interfaces. It includes a Serial port, along with the USB and the Parallel port. My interface tests found the USB and Serial print about the same speed but both are much faster than using the various Parallel adapters. I tried running the HP 970Cse using a Infowave's PowerPrint Serial to Parallel cable but none of the available drivers worked. So, for now, it's USB or nada.

    In the near future, I will retest the HP 895Cse using the new test files. Also, stay tuned for a test of the NEW Epson 760 and 860. If you have any model of printer you want included, let me know.


Testing Notes


A big MAHALO to...

...Hewlett Packard for the use of the HP 970Cse

Where to buy? Best price I've found for the DeskJet is at BUY.COM.

DESKJET 970CXI 12/10PPM 600DPI DUPL PAR USB-98/00/MAC 110/220V

The Epson has a great price at Buy.Com, too.


See MORE SPEED tests

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© 1999 Rob Art Morgan, editor of BARE FEATS
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Rob Art