I was on the lookout for a wide format printer for a while and hemmed and hawed about whether I would ever get the business for one or not.
All the posters I sold were either A4 or A3 size and the real reason I thought about getting a wide format printer was to give me the ability to print canvas.
I found it very hard to find any HP DesignJet Z6 reviews online so why did I choose the Z6 in the end? It boiled down to a few reasons really.
1. I needed to be fit to get the printer upstairs in my home which had a 90-degree bend halfway up. This ruled out all 44-inch models.
2. Filling up the six Z6 cartridges would cost around €700 which I know I can manage with the income I'm making from my design business at the minute so with the HP DesignJet Z6 I'm taking a calculated risk. I know the quality of the Z9 would have been better but the difference would be subtle.
3. I wanted fade-resistant pigment inks that would last for years.
So, I ordered the printer along with a roll of satin photo paper roll and a canvas roll and got it shipped from the UK to Ireland for a total of €2400 from www.graphicdesignsupplies.co.uk who were very helpful in helping me make up my mind. I was back and forth with questions and they were super-fast to respond.
The pallet arrived in about 4-5 days and it just about fit through my front door, the door measures 31 inches and the pallet was 29 inches.
I built the legs in around 40 minutes and then it came time to try getting the big beast up the stairs. The size and weight are some of the things I took into consideration when I was doing my homework. I knew I could manage the Z6 because it only weighed 76kg which is a fair bit lighter than the Canon and Epson counterparts. Luckily with these printers, you can flip them on their sides before you put the ink in. Once that ink goes in though you have to keep it flat.
With the printer on its side, I gently flipped it and lowered it meaning the other end landed on the 4th or 5th step. From there I lifted the bottom end and my wife lifted it one step at a time.
Once the building was complete and I must state the instruction manual provided is very clear and precise I powered it up and the small display on the printer instructed me very clearly through the set-up process. I installed the six 150ml Ink cartridges that came with the device, the three print heads, and put the satin photo paper that I bought along with the printer onto the 2-inch spindle. The Z6 then done a collaboration and print head alignment which took around 15 minutes.
One of the faults with the DesignJet Z6 in my book is the lack of built-in WIFI.
GraphicDesignSupplies.co.uk did provide a LAN cable which is about 5 metres but sadly not long enough for my needs. Because of this I went on Amazon and purchased a 20m LAN cable as I knew the printer would be a good bit away from my router.
Once connected I done a quick search on the computer for new devices and quickly picked up the new printer. From here I downloaded the HP software including the HP Click which is a handy tool for searching for the paper been used, aligning, and adding cut lines around the edges of your posters plus a few more features.
Start-up of the DesignJet Z6 takes roughly 30-40 seconds
OK, so enough about the setup, what's the print quality actually like I hear you ask?
Well, pretty dam impressive I have to say. I was a little skeptical because it was so hard to find any reviews or videos online but I took the pledge, paid the money and I'm delighted with my decision at the minute.
This is a video of the personalised Newspaper Back Page poster that I do being printed A2 size. The text and images are sharp and the colours really pop.
I have purchased a canvas roll but need a 3-inch spindle for the printer in order to use it. I should have it any day now and when I get a chance to test it, I will update this review.
The touch display is easy to use and provides you with all the usual information like remaining ink levels, print queue, USB printing, printer usage, etc.
One thing I would recommend is getting some sort of dust cover as this thing is a magnet for dust.
HP gives you a starter Ink set that gave me just over 50% on their display levels.
At the time of writing this, I have printed 2 x A2 sized posters and 2 x 18x24 inch posters. The ink levels haven't moved a lot except for the photo black. I did order a black ink cart as I knew this would be the first to go. I'll pick the other colours up as they get to around 20%
The full 330ml Ink tanks for the HP DesignJet Z6 cost around €130 each.
A couple of other things I like is the fact that the printheads are cheap compared to the Canon Pro printers, again, been unsure of how often I'd be using the DesignJet Z6, this may be important down the line if printheads get clogged. I'll be printing a couple of times per week regardless just to keep the ink moving through it.
The printheads for the HP DesignJet Z6 are universal and cost around €90-€100.
The printer is also nice and flat on top which comes in useful for putting your prints on.
So I have had the printer now and have replaced all the inks just this week. The photo black was the first to go so having this space first would be useful.
Each 300ml ink tank will cost around 130 - 140 euro.
The canvas comes out exceptionally well and a lot of my customers having been delighted with the results.
My only gripe would be that the printer can't cut the canvas so you will have to manually unload the roll, cut the roll yourself before loading the roll back into the printer.
I have uploaded a few videos on my YouTube channel where I print photos at the end using the DesignJet Z6.
If you're looking for a printer that can print crisp and sharp images with vibrant colours then you can't go wrong with the HP Designjet Z6.