When choosing a new wide-format plotter system, there are many factors to consider.  Is it easy to use? What is the print speed? What is the print quality? Is it durable? The research company, Buyers Laboratory LLC (BLI Labs), has conducted an independent study comparing two top models, the Canon iPF780 large-format printer and the HP Designjet T920 ePrinter. The study was a series of stringent tests to compare device performance and to report on the strengths and weaknesses of the two products. See how they compare regarding large format plotter reviews in the following categories:

  • Image Quality
  • Productivity
  • Direct Print Submission (not having to use another application to print a file)
  • Ink Consumption


Color Image Quality

When printing on plain paper in Fast, Economy mode, the Canon model delivered an eight times larger color gamut than did the HP T920.

The HP model showed some bleed into the (plain) paper in both text and line art in all modes, causing some “fuzziness” when viewed under magnification, whereas no bleed was detected with the Canon model.

When evaluating Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) graphics in Standard/Normal and High/Best Quality modes, both the Canon and the HP units showed an excellent level of detail and very distinct fine lines, although there was some evidence of ink bleed with the HP model when viewed under magnification.

Color business graphics produced by the Canon iPF780 unit exhibited sharper details than the HP device.

Skin tones produced by both models were natural looking.

The Canon device delivered exceptional text, fine text lines and circles, and a much larger color gamut in all modes in both plain and photo quality papers.

Black Image Quality

In Fast Economy and High/Best quality modes, the Canon model provided higher optical densities for black, while Fast and Standard modes were comparable.

The HP device showed some ink bleed or overspray in test and line art in all modes when viewed under magnification.

The Canon unit provided darker solids with higher optical density in Fast Economy and High/Best modes and exhibited no mottling when compared with the same output from the HP model.

When evaluating AEC graphics in Standard/Normal and High/Best Quality modes in black, both models provided detailed and distinct fine lines.

Monochrome business graphics in High/Best Quality mode on plain paper were produced more accurately by the Canon model, with smooth halftone gradations and crisp text, whereas some fine lines and circles were indistinct with the HP unit, even without magnification.

Both models delivered excellent AEC and GIS graphics.

Print Productivity

One factor that had an impact on productivity is that when the HP T920 model runs out of ink, printing must stop for the cartridge to be replaced, leading to operator down time.

In contrast, the Canon model will continue to print (drawing ink from its sub tank) when ink needs replacing, and its control panel conveniently alerts the user to replace ink as well as providing ink purchasing information. Inks can be replaced while printing is in progress, so again no ink or paper is wasted and there is no operator downtime.

The Canon IPF780 delivered a 10.9% faster first page out time of 111.03 seconds after a weekend of non-use, compared with 124.63 seconds for the HP device.

When printing BLI Lab’s job stream, designed to simulate a typical mixed workflow for a large-format unit, the Canon IPF780 was 3.6% faster than the HP model in Fast mode, 26.2% faster in the Stand/Normal mode, and 55.6% faster in High/Best Quality mode.


Direct PDF Print Submission Functionality


A free download from Canon’s website, the IPF Direct Print & Share utility enables PDFs to be printed without opening Adobe Acrobat, and it also allows users to retrieve files from cloud storage for printing.

HP’s ePrint & Share web services software provides the same direct PDF submission and cloud storage retrieval functionality for the HP device and supports printing from Apple or Android smartphones or tablets, it also automatically saves copies of work to the cloud.

HP’s ePrint & Share requires users to register for the ePrint & Share Library and the HP ePrint & Share Printing tool by creating a separate account for each on HP’s ePrint & Share Web Center (server), each with its own unique password, which BLI Lab’s analysts found to be a more tedious and time-consuming process than with iPF Direct Print & Share. Canon users who are registered with Google Drive will have instant access to its hierarchical folder system, in contrast to the flat file structure of HP’s ePrint & Share.


Ink Consumption

When producing 50 prints of an Architectural Plan in Fast Economy Mode, the Canon unit used 19.4% less ink than the HP T920.

When printing an Office Poster in High/Best Quality Mode, the Canon unit used 24.1% less ink than the HP T920.

When printing a GIS Map in High/Best Quality Mode, the Canon iPF780 used 19.1% less ink than the HP device.

Learn more about Canon iPF print head technology. 



The results are overwhelming and speak for themselves! The Canon imagePROGRAF iPF780 outperformed the HP Designjet T920 ePrinter in almost every aspect of BLI’s evaluation, demonstrating higher productivity, superior image quality and lower ink consumption. The Canon device is capable of handling ink and paper outages without having an impact on user productivity or causing unnecessary waste. When the Canon model runs out of ink, it continues to operate while alerting the user to replace the cartridge, and, thanks to its hot swap ink tanks, inks can be replaced on the fly. Business graphics, fine lines and circles were also reproduced more distinctly with the Canon model.


Read the Definitive Guide to Canon Large Format Plotter Printers


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Dawn Higgs
Post by Dawn Higgs
April 9, 2015
TAVCO's Administrative Assistant, Dawn works the front office, runs the e-commerce store, and handles various critical bookkeeping duties. Overall, she is a dynamic superhero. Look for Dawn to share the latest wide-format info on the TAVCO blog.