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This all-in-one uses HP’s fairly recently introduced ColorSphere toner where, as the name suggests, each particle is closer to being a true sphere than in previous HP toners. This is supposed to give smoother colours and an increased colour gamut. From the results we saw, the company has achieved these claims. Print quality is crisp, with black text coming through almost like letterpress print, though with a slight gloss to it, which some people may not like.
Solid colours, as in business graphics, are bright and dense, with little sign of the dither patterns that this 600dpi printer must use. Even photo prints, always a test for colour laser engines, look better than most, though there is some obvious colour hue restriction, when compared with an inkjet print.
Special praise is due to the device’s colour copy quality, which is excellent. The copies come out very close in colour shades to the original and with only a slight drop off in clarity. A slight distraction from the overall print quality is that there is more page curl than from most colour lasers. Pages come out with a distinct curl down their length and may need to be rolled in the opposite direction to flatten them.
HP only claims 8ppm for this machine, printing either black or colour pages, but from our tests the real-life speed is closer to 5ppm; not that quick for a device in this price bracket. A single page copy takes around 33 seconds and a scan into your PC completes in around 40 seconds.
The four toner cartridges are the only regular consumables in this machine, with the black cartridge, rated at 2,500, 5 per cent pages, costing £43 and each of the colour ones, capable of 2,000, 5 per cent pages, coming in at £47. These prices give page costs of just over 2p per page for black and just over 9p for full colour. This is quite high, compared with some other colour lasers. The recently reviewed Dell Laser 3110cn, for example, gives 1.4p and 6.4p, for black and colour pages, respectively.
It’s a bit early to say how good this machine will be on overall value, as at the time of review there are no Internet retailers quoting a price for it. We had to use HP’s RRP, which is probably around £100 over the typical street price. What we can say is that this machine gives some of the best colour prints we’ve seen from a colour laser-based device. Against this, it’s not the fastest machine to use nor the cheapest to run so before you buy you have to ask if a colour all-in-one is what you really need.
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