The HP TopShot LaserJet Pro Color M275nw is presented as the first colour multifunction printer equipped with the innovative 3D scanning process enabling it to scan images of real objects with the TopShot Scanning scanner and post them straight to the Internet. A great idea that should be of interest to companies and individual salespeople on online sites. According to recent figures from etailers' trade body, IMRG, online sales in the UK were up 16% on last year in January.
This model is small (46.8 x 40.9 x 27 cm) and discrete enough with its black plastics to stand on any desk. The driver is built-in and you simply plug the printer in to any computer to get everything installed. You’ll be able to connect it up via USB, Ethernet, or wi-fi. The TopShot LaserJet Pro is a compact machine and its 128 MB memory means it can be shared comfortably by a group of twenty people. We like its touchscreen and connectivity, though the finish doesn’t really inspire confidence. The platter simply sits on top of the cartridges and the plastic coating on the arm is rather cheap looking.
This 3-in-1 supports PCL 5c and 6 and Postscript but there’s no duplex mode.
3.5-inch touchscreen (the ‘Scan’ button didn’t appear on our test model)
The paper loader has a capacity of 150 pages, which is ideal for home use. You’ll have to pull the scanner plate out to access the four cartridges lodged deep in the machine. Access from the front would have been more practical.
Access to cartridges isn‘t as convenient as it could be
Once connected via wi-fi, the printer proposes various connected print applications: eStorage to access documents stored on Google Doc (for example), a summary of the day’s news, pro and legal documents from Biztree, calendars, the weather, colourings and more that can be downloaded using eprintcenter.
HP ePrint: the printer has its own email address and can receive print orders from anywhere.
SpeedWhile colour prints are rather slow (4 pages per minute), the black and white are better at 16 ppm. There’s no draft mode.
For comparison with another 3-in-1 laser, the Lexmark X543dn delivers 13 ppm for colour (3 times as fast) and 18 ppm black and white (almost the same).
Pages per minute
QualityThe characters are sharp and legible during standard printing. The quality is perfectly okay for text documents however on more demanding prints (see our test graph) the image does fall short in a number of areas. You can see that there’s a lack of sharpness on the 0s in the yellow box. On the black and white version, all the letters lack a bit of depth and this compromises legibility on some of the graph captions. As we said above, there’s no draft mode on this printer.
The deltaE 94 measured by our sensor shows that the blue isn’t very accurate. Nevertheless, overall, the colour rendering is relatively accurate.
Average deltaE 94 (colour difference): 7.9
The higher the value, the lower the accuracy.
For comparison, good screens score under 3.
Scanner and copierThe TopShot scanner hardware includes an arm-mounted camera. This is very much along the lines of the Flash Scan technology used on the Lexmark Genesis S815 (an inkjet) that also uses a photo sensor rather than the more traditional CCD scanner. The Genesis has a 10 Megapixel sensor compared to 8 Megapixels on the TopShot and is also much faster. The Flash Scan takes just 3 seconds to print a page, against 50 seconds for the HP. On the TopShot, the sensor is mounted at the end of an arm. The white background provided by the plate gives a very realistic outline to the object being scanned. The combination of six photos taken from different angles, three of which with a flash, added to three photos taken under ambient lighting conditions at different exposures, produces the 3D effect. The scanner prints a photo of the object from a fixed angle as a camera would do, but has the advantage of working under controlled conditions: it uses its own lighting, accompanied by 3 LEDs, is the right distance away and so on. It varies the lighting as it takes the shots and combines them into a single image, providing a maximum of detail and fairly homogenous lighting.
Video of the scan of the rabbit
The scanner will be effective on contrasted objects. Some parts of our rabbit came out underexposed because they reflected the light too much.
Result of the rabbit scanIn contrast to what you can see on the photo (supplied by HP) in the ‘Hardware’ paragraph, there was no scanner icon on the machine’s control panel and we had to use the computer. HP justifies this by claiming to be ‘simplifying the information flow’ so the scanned image can be used on your computer. HP has however got us so used to using its printers without a computer and relying on all the in-built applications instead that it's difficult to understand what the strategy is here.
Copy mode also works using scanning technology. Paper documents are placed on the glass and are then photographed from above using the photo sensor.
Average deltaE 94 (colour difference): 5.1
Energy consumption & Noise levels
We like being able to set standby mode to kick in after just one minute of idle time but why does it consume 5 Watts in standby when most printers now run at under 1 Watt in this mode? Consumption is more reasonable when printing, with an average of 130 Watts and peaks at 350. This is lower than average for a laser printer. It is however a bit noisy: we measured it at 51 dB(A).
Cost per page: 12.3 pence
It’s difficult to compare the TopShot with other lasers as none of them really has the same profile (touchscreen, connected, original scanner). If we take the most recent lasers tested: the Xerox Workcentre 6015 NI (also a colour laser) costs 17.9 pence a page (only 1 size of cartridge) and the Brother MFC-9970CDW is at 8.9 pence thanks to its XL cartridges. The starter cartridges on the TopShot don’t come full and only give 500 pages instead of 1000, so as to force the consumer to buy new cartridges sooner.
ISO lifespan for text
|Cartridge||Price||ISO lifespan||Cost per page|
|CE310A (black)||£32||1200||2.7 pence|
|CE311A (cyan)||£32||1000||3.2 pence|
|CE312A (magenta)||£32||1000||3.2 pence|
|CE313A (yellow)||£32||1000||3.2 pence|
- Very realistic scans of objects
- Touchscreen and connected
- Built-in driver
- ePrint: print by mail
- Option to scan straight to an email address or a network
- Flexible standby setting
- Low cost per page
- No double sided
- No direct access to the scanner from the screen
- Scanner not well adapted to documents
- Start-up cartridges come only half-full
- Speeds and responsiveness down
- High stand-by energy consumption: 5 W
Equipping a multifunction printer with a 3D scanner for objects is a great idea. It’s just that the TopShot seems more like a prototype than a fully developed model.