Hewlett-Packard Australia Designjet Z3100
- Simple setup; the print driver lets you automatically add custom paper types; impressive detail and colour accuracy
- Takes up to half an hour to take the printer out of the box and setup
It's rare that a product – even a very good one – balances function, innovation, and performance, but that's what Hewlett-Packard has done with the Designjet Z3100 Photo Printer. The ease of use, excellent print quality, and smart design touches have been combined into one of the best professional printers we have ever seen.
The HP Designjet Z3100 is a wide-format, fine-art printer that offers great prints, updated technology features.
For the past decade, Epson printers have sat at the pinnacle of the professional photo market, their hallmark being top-notch print quality, solid performance, and archival print life. In the past year, however, Epson's two primary rivals – Canon and Hewlett-Packard – have released competitive printers in an attempt to challenge Epson's leadership.
One of those printers, HP's Designjet Z3100 Photo Printer, has, in our opinion, surpassed any offering Epson has shipped to date. It rolls high-quality, long-lasting prints and a smartly designed feature set into one of the most innovative and easy-to-use printers to come our way in a long time.
Out of the box, into the room
The Designjet Z3100 is a wide-format printer, coming in 24in and 44in versions, and, as such, it's a large unit. But from the moment you open the Z3100's crate, it's obvious that HP's engineers were thinking about usability. The printer is packed upside down in the box: you first build the stand, which is at the top of the box, then affix it to the underside of the printer, and roll the printer out of the box and onto the floor. The process takes about 30 minutes.
The rest of the setup is similarly simple. The cartridges snap easily into place. You connect the printer to your Ethernet network or to your PC via USB, and then install the driver software, which is as well thought out as rest of the package.
The driver is integrated with a utility that manages all aspects of the printer, from adding custom paper types to checking supply levels and more. As was the case with HP's Photosmart Pro B9180, the Z3100 print driver lets you automatically add custom paper types – the Z3100 can accept roll and cut-sheet media up to 1.5mm thick.
The printer uses 11 pigment-based inks: magenta, light magenta, light cyan, yellow, red, blue, green, photo black, matte black, grey, and light grey. An additional cartridge contains a gloss enhancer, which is used for printing on glossy or semi-glossy photo papers. The enhancer helps reduce the unsightly gloss differential effect, where areas of an image with no ink applied have a different reflectivity than areas with ink (this is often referred to as bronzing).
Like most pigment-based printers, the Designjet Z3100 uses photo black ink when printing on glossy papers, and matte black when printing on smooth-finish and fine art papers; the printer automatically uses the black ink appropriate for the paper chosen. The Z3100, however, goes one better than most of its competitors when printing black-and-white photos on matte-finish paper: it uses both black inks and both grey inks, giving you, in essence, a quad-tone print with an expanded tonal range. On a paper such as Hahnemuhle's Photo Rag, for example, we got some of the best black-and-white prints we've ever produced with an inkjet printer.
The calibration advantage
Most professional photographers want to use their own custom ICC profiles with a printer of this calibre. This often means either buying sophisticated profiling systems (and learning how to use them) or contracting with a service that will create custom profiles for you.
With the Z3100, HP has made it drop-dead simple to create your own profiles on the fly, by embedding an X-Rite i1 spectrophotometer (which measures light intensity) into the printer. All you have to do to create an ICC profile is fire up the HP Printer Utility and select Create and Install ICC Profile, and the printer will take the currently loaded paper, print a calibration chart, scan it using the i1, and build the profile for you. You can even print the chart, let it dry overnight (which many experts recommend when building a profile), and scan it in the next day.
Even better, the next time any Mac on your network prints to the Z3100, an update notification is presented in the print driver, and a quick click of a button will add the new profiles and any new paper types. You can also see how long it's been since a certain paper has been profiled, and get an alert when it's time to build a new profile, if you like to regularly update your paper profiles.
Quality and performance
With its 11 inks, the Z3100 has a nice wide colour gamut capable of generating excellent prints on all media types, and the detail and colour accuracy of the Z3100's prints are as good as those from any of Epson's or Canon's most recent pro printers. And, with the two grey inks, black-and-white prints come out extremely neutral on all paper types. When we placed Z3100 prints in front of a jury alongside prints from Canon's imagePROGRAF iPF6100 and Epson's Stylus Pro 3800, viewers could not reliably discern which printer produced which image, a testament to the strides that HP (and Canon) have made with their latest round of printers.
While performance is often secondary to quality and efficiency when choosing a wide-format printer, the Z3100 has quite respectable print speeds. At the standard print quality setting, the Z3100 produced a 16x20in print in 5 minutes and 20 seconds; a 24in square image in 7 minutes and 57 seconds; and a borderless 24x36in print in 11 minutes and 27 seconds. Ink management was quite good as well; we printed more than 200 images, most larger than 16x20 inches, before we had to replace any ink at all.
Join the newsletter!
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Apple iPhone X
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
cloudandco Smart Cane
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Toys for Boys
Bose SoundLink Micro
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Google Daydream View VR Headset
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Lego Mindstorms EV3
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Xbox One X
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 LG 65E7T Ultra HD OLED TV review: The South Korean thoroughbred is still first past the post
- 2 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 3 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 4 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 5 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
Latest News Articles
- Epson launches new Expression Premium Photo Range
- Epson Australia Unveils New Expression Home Range of Printers
- Epson launches new high-speed Enterprise inkjet printer
- When life gives you a 3D printer, make a house
- Hacker hijacks thousands of publicly exposed printers to warn owners
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- JBL Link 10 review: Full, in-depth review
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- CES 2018
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSenior Test AnalystOther
- CCSenior System Engineer l Office 365,Windows 10, VMWare WorkspaceNSW
- CCCisco Communication Engineer / Technician - FIFOWA
- FTSenior DevOps ConsultantVIC
- FTBusiness Analyst - CMS / DMSOther
- FTTableau DeveloperOther
- CCSQL DBAWA
- TPDevOps Practice OfficerQLD
- FTSenior Graphic DesignerACT
- CCSenior Network Engineer - TelcoVIC
- CCLead Pega Systems ArchitectACT
- TPSenior Project Manager - Risk & ComplianceNSW
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- FTAndroid DeveloperQLD
- FTSenior Data Quality Management OfficerNSW
- FTJava DevelopersVIC
- TPSolution Architect - HealthQLD
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- FTBusiness Analyst - Operational Performance ReportingOther
- FTJunior Account Manager - Global Cloud OrganisationVIC
- CCNetwork Engineer (Juniper)NSW
- FTPHP DeveloperOther
- FTIT Security OfficerACT
- TPSenior Business Analyst x 2 - ServiceNowQLD
- CCSenior Java DeveloperQLD