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HP has just introduced a new category of multifunction printer, the Color LaserJet 2800 series, of which the 2820 is the entry-level offering. This is a printer-copier-scanner device, based not on an ink-jet printer, but on HP’s colour laser engine, as used in the popular 2550 series of printers.
When we recently reviewed Epson's first attempt at a colour laser multifunction machine, we were surprised that it did not include a multi-purpose feed tray. We can't level that criticism at the Color LaserJet 2820, as it has a 125-sheet multi-purpose tray, but that's all it has. The 250-sheet, Tray 2 is an optional extra, so you have to keep the printer front open with the multi-purpose tray unfolded all the time you're using the machine. This is a recipe for people to come along and knock the paper out of the tray – especially in cramped, small offices.
Otherwise, the device is well designed, with a tighter fit between printer and scanner than some of its competitors. It looks more like a purpose-built, integrated device than the product of a designer with a jig-saw and a bottle of super glue.
The control panel is well organised, with coloured buttons to distinguish between functions and a two line, back-lit display which offers useful advice and messages and shows the status of the four toner cartridges.
The flatbed scanner is fitted with a 50-sheet auto-document feeder as standard and is easy to set up and use for copying or scanning directly to a local or networked PC. The 2820 comes with 10/100 Ethernet built in, as well as a USB 2.0 port.
The photoconductor unit and toner cartridges fit easily through a cover in the front of the machine. A scanner section unlocks and hinges up out of the way and there's a useful carousel rotate button on the control panel, which makes servicing toner straightforward. The printer section of the machine uses this carousel of four toners to keep the overall size down.
The Windows software installation is long-winded, though not complicated and the finished suite includes a copy of the Read IRIS Pro OCR application, as well as a comprehensive set of printer control software. The driver includes most of the usual options, including watermarks and multiple pages per sheet, but there's no automatic duplex facility.