The print quality is a bit variable. Black text pages, while cleanly printed and easy to read, come out a dark grey, rather than a true black. In contrast, colour fills, as in graphs and charts, print darker than their on-screen equivalents by default (though you can adjust for this). Photo prints also exhibit some colour shift, with blues veering slightly to the purple, and lose a lot of detail in darker areas.
Again you can compensate for these problems, most directly with the digital adjustments offered in the driver for contrast and digital flash, but it would be good to see better reproduction straight out of the box.
HP doesn’t quote the noise level from the LaserJet 3000, but we measured it at 64dBA, which is loud. While it would probably go unnoticed in a busy office, it could make it awkward to take a phone call, if it were printing beside your desk.
HP’s toner cartridges include photo conductor drums to build up the image in each colour, before the complete image is transferred to the paper using a transfer belt. The black cartridge should print 6,500 pages at five per cent colour, while the colour cartridges are available in standard and high-yield versions. The standard yield cartridge produces 3,500 pages and the high-yield one, 6,000 pages, both at five per cent cover per colour.
Of course there should be two other consumables: the photosensitive transfer belt and the fuser unit. In fact, these components have service lives of 150,000 pages each, so we’re happy to treat them as lifetime components. This gives a cost per page of 1.72p for five per cent black text and 6.30p for 20 per cent colour. These figures are good in comparison with rival machines in the same class, with the colour page cost particularly competitive.
Although the Color LaserJet 3000 uses HP's new Colorsphere toner, we weren't that impressed by its print quality. The printer’s speed is impressive, but you're paying quite a bit extra for the increased throughput. As a workgroup machine we would expect a network connection as standard, too.