HP's Capable OfficeJet Pro 7740 Wide Format All-in-One (AIO) Printer

Decent print speeds and awesome output quality

OfficeJet Pro 7740 Wide Format All-in-One Printer
OfficeJet Pro 7740 Wide Format All-in-One Printer. Photo Courtesy of HP

Pros:

  • Single-pass auto-duplexing automatic document feeder, or ADF
  • Good print, copy, and scan quality across the board
  • Respectable print speeds
  • Wireless Direct (HP’s equivalent to Wi-Fi Direct)
  • Near-Field Communication (NFC)
  • PCL emulation
  • Competitive purchase price

Cons:

  • Running costs could be lower
  • No PostScript emulation
  • Big and heavy for what it is

Bottom line: HP’s Officejet Pro 7740 Wide Format All-in-One Printer ($249.99 MSRP) prints quickly and well, at a great purchase price for a wide-format Tabloid (11 by 17 inches) printer. Running costs are somewhat high, but that’s not unusual for an oversize machine.

Introduction

Consumer grade wide-format printers typically support tabloid (11 by 17 inches) or supertabloid (13 by 19 inches) pages, or both. Today’s review unit, HP’s Officejet Pro 7740 Wide Format All-in-One Printer, supports only the 11 by 17 format, which, for most applications, is plenty large enough. Tabloid is actually twice the size of the standard letter size (8.5 by 11 inches), providing some built-in versatility of its own. You can, for example, print a four-page booklet by simply folding the sheet in half.

Overall, aside from a somewhat too-high cost per page, discussed later on, this is a fine printer. Whether you need oversize spreadsheets or poster-size flyers, HP’s OfficeJet Pro 7740 can handle most print jobs.

Design and Features

HP’s recent round of printers, from the higher-end PageWide Pro MFP 577dw Multifunction Printer to the more mainstream OfficeJet Pro 8740 All-in-One Printer, as well as the OfficeJet Pro 7740, all have this ultra-modern, black on white, streamlined appearance about them. Not only do they bear little resemblance to the competition, HP’s latest round of office printers don’t even look much like each other. That said, the Pro 7740, like its siblings, is a highly attractive machine—as office machines go, that is.

The 7740 is topped by a 35-sheet, single-pass, auto-duplexing automatic document feeder, or ADF. What that means is that the ADF is equipped with two scanning mechanisms, so that it can scan both sides of the page at the same time, thereby saving time and reducing a possible point of failure.

Just below the ADF you’ll find a 2.6-inch color touch screen. In addition to making configuration changes, you can use the touch screen to perform walkup, or PC-free, tasks, such as making copies, connecting to cloud sites, or printing from and scanning a USB thumb drive. The USB port is located on the left side of the chassis, next to the power button.

HP provides a wealth additional mobile connectivity options, including Wireless Direct, HP’s equivalent to Wi-Fi Direct, and Near-Field Communication, or NFC. Both are peer-to-peer protocols that allow you to connect your mobile device to the printer without either device being connected to a network. NFC is, of course, a touch-to-print protocol that allows you to print by touching the smartphone or tablet to a hotspot on the printer.

Finally, just by being a wide format printer, the 7740 is larger than standard-size models. At 15.1 inches high, by 23 inches across, by 18 inches from front to back and weighing a stiff 42.9 pounds, this isn’t a large printer for what it does, but it’s bigger and bulkier than normal.

Performance, Print Quality, and Paper Handling

Of all the inkjets I’ve tested recently, this tabloid printer has been one of the fastest. HP rates it at 22 pages per minute, or ppm. It doesn’t happen often, but the 7740’s score of 24ppm actually beat the manufacturer’s rating by a full 2ppm.

As all printers are want to do, when I threw color, graphics, heavier formatting, and images into the mix, the OfficeJet Pro 7740 bogged down significantly, to about 10ppm, which isn’t a bad speed at all for an inkjet printer in this class. Keep in mind as you read these results, though, that I tested with standard letter-size (8.5 by 11 inch) paper. Printing tabloid pages with similar content would take about twice as long.

Like most HP printers, the OfficeJet Pro 7740 printed quite well on our tests. Text quality was very near laser quality, perhaps even typesetter quality, and graphics looked good overall, with only minimal banding when using dark gradients and other dark fills. Otherwise, print quality looked great in general.

A for paper handling, the 7740 comes with two 250-sheet paper drawers that adjust from 3 by 5 inches up to 11.7 by 17 inches. Printed pages land on a 75-page output tray that telescopes out above the paper input cassettes. HP’s maximum monthly duty cycle (the number of pages the company says you can print each month without undue wear on the printer) for this OfficeJet is 30,000 pages, while the recommended amount is 250 to 1,500 pages.

Cost Per Page

Depending on the cartridge sets you buy and where your buy them, the 7740’s running costs are somewhere between 2 to 5 cents for black-and-white pages about 8 to 13 cents for color pages. In any case, the difference is big enough that, unless you don’t print very much at all, you should always buy the larger, XL tanks.

That said, XL black tanks sell on HP’s site for $41.99, and they’re rated by HP at 2,000 pages. The three color ink tanks (cyan, magenta, yellow) sell for $31.99 each. When combined with the black ink tank, the color tanks are good for 1,600 pages. Using these numbers, we came up with 2.1 cents for black-and-white pages and 8.1 cents color pages—not the best I’ve seen, but not bad for a relatively low-volume wide-format multifunction printer, or…

Keep in mind that to get these numbers, I used letter-size, or 8.5 by 11-inch paper in my tests, not the 7740’s maximum 11 by 17 inches. Again, printing tabloid should use half as many pages as letter-size.

Conclusion

The OfficeJet Pro 7740 Wide Format All-in-One (AIO) Printer sure comes with a lot more to suggest it than not. It’s relatively fast and it has a decent range of paper input options, including a single-pass ADF for making scans faster and more dependable. The two, 250-sheet drawers allow you to serve up two different types of media simultaneously, so that you don’t have reconfigure a paper drawer, thereby taking the machine out of service, each time you want to change paper types.

Frankly, I’d like this printer more if it were supertabloid, simply because the larger format carries more impact. In any case, printing such large format pages can be quite expensive, and not just from ink. Premium 11 by 17-inch paper, too, is costly, sometimes, depending on the paper itself, close to $3 per sheet.

The point? Yes, having all this wide-format room in convenient, and it allows you to create a wider range of document types. If a tabloid printer is what you’re after, this one is again reasonably fast and reliable. The cost per page needs improving, but I still like this as a quality tabloid all-in-one.