As a trusted seller of both these ID card printer models, we’re here to provide a comparison between two of the most popular retransfer printers on the market, which should help you make the right decision when it comes to your ID card printing needs.
Fargo HDP5000 vs Magicard Ultima
The Fargo HDP5000 and Magicard Ultima are both retransfer printers designed to produce high-quality printed ID cards. If you’re unsure whether a retransfer ID card printer is the machine for you, check out our comprehensive guide and find out more about retransfer card printers.
In a nutshell, a retransfer printer offers a more durable, long-lasting and high-quality printing experience than direct-to-card printers are capable of producing. With professional over-the-edge printing, even on the uneven surfaces of access control smart cards, a retransfer printer is the ideal solution for efficient card printing. You can read more about the benefits of a retransfer ID card printer in our direct-to-card vs retransfer explained guide.
In this blog, we’ll be breaking down the key features of a retransfer printer and how both models stack up against each other. So, let’s compare these two printers side by side.
1. Printing quality and speed
Print quality and speed are two primary factors you’ll be considering when comparing printer technology. The good news is both these machines effortlessly print high quality, full-colour photo ID cards. Both machines are able to print cards with photo-level 300dpi results, 256 shade colour depth levels and detailed text results.
The Ultima is capable of quick print speeds up to 100 colour cards per hour however the HDP5000 does provide faster results, with up to 150 cards per hour (full colour). The HDP5000 and Ultima have similar card input and output capabilities, making either an ideal tool for large-scale card production.
Both come fitted as standard with 200-card output hoppers. The Ultima comes with a 200-card input hopper as standard too, meaning you won’t need to worry about running out of miss-matching hopper loads while printing. While the HDP5000 has just a 100-card input hopper as standard, this can be upgraded to a 200-card unit.
All in all, both machines produce high-quality cards, with slight variations in speed and output. With both machines printing ID cards in high volumes, it comes down to whether you could benefit more from the extra speed capabilities of the Fargo or the higher card capacity of the standard input hopper in the Ultima.
2. Encoding and security options
Both printers can be customised with a range of encoding options that program a variety of proximity cards to meet your access control requirements. Being retransfer printers, these machines are the best choice for this kind of activity – the printhead does not come into direct contact with the card, meaning there’s no risk of the raised edges on access control or debit cards causing damage to the card chip or printhead.
The Ultima can use extra smart card encoders for more niche and precise configurations. However, the encoding abilities of the HDP5000 are so strong, most organisations don’t even need to look up whether their access control system will be compatible; it simply will be. For reference, however, the table below gives you a full list of encoding options available for both machines:
It’s important to have a printer fitted with technology capable of printing to access control cards professionally and without compromising the card security features.
Fortunately, both of these machines can encode HiCo and LoCO magnetic stripe cards and offer a wide range of options for customisation when it comes to smartcard encoding. Both are also capable of encoding and reading iClass, Prox, MIFARE and DESFire products.
Each ID card printer also has holographic overlaminate printing features which not only protects your ID cards from wear and tear but also card cloning and forgery attempts.
The Ultima uses Magicard’s advanced HoloKote card security system, which is a built-in secure watermark printed across the entire surface of a card via a clear film. It comes with 10 watermarks as standard, and any of these can be replaced by your own custom design or company logo through Magicard’s secure online delivery method.
There’s really not much difference between the two when it comes to security. These printers can handle the demands of most businesses and organisations, with both being specifically built to produce highly secure ID badges.
3. Connectivity, compatibility and usability
It’s important before purchasing a printer to make sure it is compatible with your computer operating system.
Both machines have user-friendly printer interfaces and are Windows compatible, ideal for most office environments. One benefit of the Ultima is it is also macOS-compatible. This is beneficial for use in more specialised industries where these systems are used as standard.
The HDP5000 is only Mac-compatible with certain operating systems – OSX v10.4 to v10.6 to be exact. If you are planning to use a Mac to operate your printer, the Magicard Ultima is the better choice.
These printers also have USB and Ethernet compatibility as standard to ensure ease of use and set-up. In terms of usability features, the HDP5000 has an easy to navigate menu for quick settings configuration. It’s the Ultima that arguably comes out on top here though; it’s one of the few ID printers to get an intuitive touchscreen interface.
4. Appearance and dimensions
These machines are well-suited to life in an office and don’t take up a huge amount of desk space. The HDP5000 however, is smaller and better suited for a smaller office space.
However, its size is understandable when looking at more reduced features such as the smaller input hopper. It’s worth noting that with the addition of a dual-sided printing module, this printer is a similar width to the Ultima.
Whereas the Ultima is a larger machine, it is still easy to position in an office space. With its added features such as the touchscreen, the size is easily offset by the many benefits of these features.
While there is a size difference, both printers are larger than your average direct-to-card printer. If your top priority is high-quality access control and smart cards, you will need to accommodate this by allowing more desk space for the printer. However, you won’t want to be moving these printers around too often, they both clock in at over 10kg in dual-sided form.
5. Reliability and warranty
Being retransfer printers means that both the HDP5000 and Ultima come with lifetime warranties on their printheads; yet another plus point this technology offers. It’s because the printhead is much less likely to be damaged than one on a direct-to-card printer.
Other components on both machines are covered by a three-year warranty, although you’re unlikely to be relying on it; these are among the most reliable printers currently available.
Should you run into difficulties, our partnerships with both manufacturers mean our technical support team is trained directly from Fargo and Magicard themselves. This makes them a great resource to call upon in the rare event you experience technical issues.
Verdict – Fargo HDP5000 vs Magicard Ultima: Which one is right for you?
Looking at both the Fargo HDP5000 and Magicard Ultima there are a lot of positives; especially in how much more beneficial a retransfer printer can be to your business long term.
It will really be down to the small details when it comes to which of these industry-leading printers you decide is best for your business needs. For those looking to upgrade from a printer from these respective brands, however, the choice might be easier.
Find out more about these machines, and see our full range of card printers here.
Remember, if you still need advice, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our printer experts on 0800 988 2095.