The humble inkjet printer has seen its fair share of reboots over its several decade history. Recent attempts to reinvent the inkjet have revolved around making it more business friendly, kitting it out with oodles of features, and playing up its potential for vibrant graphics.
See: inkjet printer reviews.
In truth, few of these attempts have been little more than damp squibs. Enter Lomond, an Isle of Man-based company whose main operations are in Russia, Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union.
Lomond has a technology that threatens to crack the inkjet market wide open. The not-so-secret (and definitely not discreet) ingredient is the MemJet printhead.
The Memjet is packed to the gills with print nozzles – the company estimates the Lomond EvoJet 2 Office has around 70,000 of them. To put this into some perspective, the already impressive Canon Pixma MX895 has around 4608 nozzles. Add to this the fine drop size, and you have an astonishing amount of colour being plastered across the page at any one time.
In addition, the printhead remains still while the paper is passed underneath it, in a reversal of the traditional inkjet mechanism. All of this allows for some astonishing resolutions – Lomond promises detail levels of up to 1600 x 1600dpi – while still allowing searing print speeds.
You can tell the Lomond EvoJet 2 Office is a little unusual even while getting it out of the box. It’s one of the largest inkjets we’ve seen, and its unusual design makes it look as though almost a quarter of the printer has been carved out.
The various consumables need to be fitted into a pair of spacious compartments, and the visual instructions weren’t the easiest to follow. Better printed documentation would certainly be on our wish list for future versions of the Evojet.
The main input tray is a meaty unit that takes up to 250 sheets, although a separate manual tray (built neatly into the side) can take up to 20 sheets. The Lomond has built into it a sizeable plateau onto which the finished prints land. Despite its size, this plateau still isn’t quite large enough for the pages to remain flat, and so powerful is the EvoJet in its fastest mode that, even when extended to its fullest, the plastic paper guide struggles to contain the swell of sheets.
The more nervous might feel a need to watch the Lomond EvoJet 2 Office at work and check that everything is remaining in place.
What you don’t get with the Lomond is an awful lot of features. It’s aimed at the professional rather than the home or enthusiast user. As such, you don’t get USB thumbdrive or camera-card slots, nor a touchscreen. In fact, the display is a rather primitive two line LCD panel. This isn’t terribly clear and we often had to peer closely at it to see what it was saying. Luckily, the printer ran fairly smoothly in our tests, so we didn’t need to refer to the screen very much.
The menu is useful rather than truly comprehensive, but the essential options and features are included. It’s fairly easy to navigate with the simple button system, and you can also cancel jobs with the tap of a switch.
Besides a USB 2.0 interface, the Lomond EvoJet 2 Office also supports 10/100 ethernet. Unsurprisingly given the traditional business angle, no wireless facilities are included.
Lomond EvoJet 2 Office: Performance
The Lomond EvoJet 2 Office isn’t about fancy features. Rather, it’s about brute force. And here it delivers handsomely. In its fastest mode (‘Normal’) – yet still boasting an astonishing resolution of 1600 x 800dpi – it turned out sheets at the blistering rate of 41.4ppm.
Take into account the seven second start-up time and this figure rises to an even more emphatic 52.2ppm – the larger the print job, the higher the performance.
Even the high quality (1600 x 1600dpi) mode sees a print speed of 21.4ppm. The quality is very good too. Gone are the fuzzy letters characteristic of inkjet prints. The text is clean and sharp, while still offering decent levels of black in comparison with the rather light output put out by typical laser models.
Lomond EvoJet 2 Office: Colour
In colour graphics, the Lomond churns out its fastest pictures at a rate of 23.1ppm, falling to 15ppm at the highest quality setting. Colours were good, even if graphics aren’t the EvoJet’s greatest strength – its palette isn’t quite as accurate as those of the typical Canon, for instance. However, the graphics certainly match, if not better, those of most lasers. And the results on photo paper are very good.
There’s no auto duplexing, which will come as a disappointment to those wishing to save money on paper costs. The Lomond makes it easy for you to reload paper for manual duplexing, but it still mars the final product slightly.
The Lomond is fairly quiet when it’s printing in Best mode, although it’s a touch noisy in Normal mode, adding around an extra 24dB when in full cry.
The Lomond EvoJet 2 Office printer itself costs a rather steep £549 ex VAT but running costs are superb, with the printer working out at around 1p for black and 3.5p for colour.
However, it may also be worth businesses getting directly in touch with Lomond, as it will be offering mobile phone-style monthly contracts whereby you pay for the usage of the printer rather than buying the model outright.
With costs ranging from £49 to £149 a month, and including the costs of consumables and repairs, this interesting new approach might be the most significant innovation of all those unveiled by Lomond.