The technicians at Keypoint Intelligence / Buyers Lab have been bowled over once again by the outstanding performance of Canon’s imagePROGRAF products. This time while pitting the Canon TM-300 against the HP T730.
They described the superb TM-300 as “the stronger performer in the Buyer's Lab large format evaluation overall”. They went on to say that not only did it (Canon TM-300) deliver faster productivity and top-class colour and black image quality, it handled the Buyers Lab's banner test successfully (which the HP failed to output) and its driver and device feature sets are richer, providing many ways to boost productivity and enhance functionality.
The Canon imagePROGRAF TM-300 was the more productive model, with significantly faster speeds (especially in High / Best quality mode, where it was up to nearly 80% faster).
The Canon TM-Series features a hot swap ink tank design, which lets users replace empty inks during printing. In contrast, when the T730 runs out of ink, printing has to stop for the cartridge to be replaced, which leads to more downtime. Another area where the Canon model had an advantage was in the ink consumption evaluation, where it used approximately 21% less ink in all three test scenarios.
Both the Canon and HP will pause and alert the operator when they run out of paper. After a new roll is installed, the Canon TM-300 will resume printing at the beginning of the interrupted page. In contrast, when the T730 runs out of paper, it will automatically cancel the entire job, even if it's in the middle of a multi-page print run. This means the operator must resubmit the job again from the workstation once the paper is replenished, which has a negative impact on productivity, since the operator must determine the number of the last page printed and then resubmit the job from that point to avoid wasting unnecessary paper and ink.
The output quality delivered by both printers was of the standard expected by professionals working in AEC, CAD and GIS industries. The HP T730 produced higher optical densities for magenta (except in Standard / Normal mode), yellow and composite black, as well as larger colour gamuts in all settings when printing on plain paper.
However the Canon TM-300 delivered better quality overall. It produced higher optical densities for cyan, smoother circles and crisper text (with no bleed), consistent halftone coverage and sharper AEC graphics in High / Best mode printing on plain paper. The TM-300 delivered more distinct detailing in dark and light contrast areas and more vibrant, saturated colours in photographic output as well as more natural looking skin tones than those produced by the HP T730. In addition the TM-300 produced the larger colour gamut in High / Best mode when printing on photo-quality paper.
Both units utilise a single user-replaceable printhead, which takes less than five minutes to replace. During the evaluation and testing of both printer models there were no issues with either printers with nozzle clogging.
Device and Feature Sets
The Canon TM-300 has plenty of advantages over the HP T730. It has a higher memory capacity to aid with job processing, smaller ink drop sizes, a unidirectional feature which eliminates banding on image output even when printing in Fast mode, borderless printing capability and a flexible layout nesting option to save on paper.
The HP T730 offers a similar nesting feature to the Canon, however, jobs are positioned automatically and it doesn't support the same flexibility and control over image placement.
Both printers offer a robust direct print submission functionality and support for mobile printing via proprietary mobile print apps for both iOS and Android mobile devices, providing additional flexibility for workers who work between sites or remotely.
The Canon TM-300 supports a larger diameter of roll paper (150mm as opposed to 100mm with the HP T730) and a higher maximum media thickness (0.8mm compared with HP's 0.3mm).
The HP T730 uses less power than the Canon TM-300. The power consumption on the T730 whilst active is 35W compared to the TM-300's 69W. In standby mode (where the majority of printers will spend the majority of their time, the HP T730's power consumption is 0.2W as opposed to the TM-300's 3.6W
If you are thinking of purchasing either one of these printers, you might want to check out the full report here -
To see our full list of BLI Comparison Reports and Awards for Large Format Printers see HERE.