Thanks in advance for responding to two additional questions (#1 & 2). I have also included two additional pieces of info that might be useful for this discussion (#3 & 4)
(1) Those of you with the 24" model -- did you get it from standard retail channels or as a result of a special arrangement with HP? I'm wondering how soon the 24" models will ship to retailers. I have one on backorder (I am the first backorder on the list) with a major retailer. HP small business thinks that retail channels will begin receiving them next week, but they aren't certain. The HP small business division (in Canada) just received their first 24" unit in the last two days.
(2) HP pre-sales send me the following in response some questions I sent them. Is this correct? This is a feature that is not mentioned in the manual, and none of you have mentioned it either. As noted below, the following answer directly contradicts statements made by Reichmann in his review -- so both can't be correct.
"Reprinting jobs. You may reprint jobs from the queue by selecting the desired job from the print queue via the front panel. The hard drive is intended to store jobs during printing, and is cleared when power to the printer is turned off. If jobs of different types, for example, PCL3GUI and HP-GL/2, are sent to the printer, all jobs will not appear in the queue. Please send jobs in only one language at a time if you wish them to remain in the queue."
If this is correct it means that jobs that were recently sent to the hard drive can be accessed and reprinted directly from the printer. This would be a big advantage over the Epson models. Reichmann reported that the Canon can do this -- but he said in his review that the HP can NOT do this.
So someone is wrong -- either HP presales or Reichmann in his review.
(Unless HP presales is referring to using the HP-GL/2 upgrade. I asked about using that to see the print queue with tiff or jpeg files, and they recommended against doing so, so I don't know why they could be confused in that regard. In any case, that upgrade will cost $400 so it isn't worth it just to get that feature.)
Two last tips that might help all of you --
(3) If you order extra spindles, they do NOT include the adapters for 3" cores. In a really stupid marketing and design decision, HP requires you to buy them separately from a different division. (Spindles are sold by small and medium business; the 3" adapters are sold by parts.) The problem is that the 3" adapters are not even available yet, even though you can order spindles, although a supervisor in small and medium business promised me that they will be available very soon.
(4) I'm an advance amateur who won't be printing every day, and my use of the 3100 would be far less than a pro who is selling prints. I also don't need next day service for a business. That is what the really expensive extended warranty offered by HP is aimed at -- next day service for a time critical business. So I've been trying to determine how likely it is that I might have a problem in the first 3 or 4 years, the life of an extended plan for $1500. I learned that a single maintenance call, when HP sends out a factory technician, would cost at least $1,500. It is possible that a local guy trained to do HP work might cost less. (These are estimates based on other large format printers obtained from HP tech support.)
The supervisor (in small and medium business), as well as a guy in tech support (who did not appear to be very well informed) also said that the maintenance ink tank (not a user replaceable part) typically doesn't have to changed for 3 to 5 years or longer, and that assumes heavy pro use. (The tank on an Epson 4000 would have to be changed twice as often from my experience, so HP must dump far less ink.)
In terms of parts that might need replacement, the next candidate would be the hard drive, and how often it would have to be replaced. The drives do go into sleep mode even when the unit is left on. So who knows on that issue. We have all seen drives last that long, or far less.
The supervisor felt that I am not likely after the first year to experience more than one problem requiring service -- the cost of the plan. And I am, in fact, not likely to require even one call in the first three years according to the supervisor. So it depends on your point of view. If you assume no problems after the first year and for the next two to three years (the life of an extended plan) then it would not be worth spending $1500. Instead spend that if one problem develops. And since I don't require next day service, I could wait for an HP trained tech guy in my local city to check it out. On the other hand, one problem would cost the equivalent of the maintenance plan.
So it really comes down to the likelihood of a single problem, and the supervisor thought that was very low based on his experience, and even more so for an amateur like me who is not printing everyday like a pro.
If anyone else has actual experience with HP large format printers, your view would be welcomed.