Colour laser printers continue to get more discreet and multifunction printers based on colour laser mechanisms are also reducing in size. This sleek new multifunction from HP is little bigger than a typical single-function laser from 2007, and is aimed at the SOHO market, or possibly even a family resource.
Looking like a small set of library steps, the Color LaserJet CM1312 is decked out in cream and something approaching black and the simple, curved lines look strangely elegant.
Working from the top down, under the cream lid is a simple, A4 flatbed scanner and the control panel is backed up by a two-line by 16-character LCD display. Although this hasn't a backlight, it is angled forwards and contrast is high enough to be read in normal overhead light.
Controls are fairly typical for a laser-based multifunction printer, but the large, raised button which cycles left and right through menu options when you press either end of it, has an OK button set within it, which makes it fiddly to use.
Unusually, the scanner section of the machine doesn't hinge up, but there's sufficient space between it and the printer section to rescue any paper that might get jammed. The printer section has a very rounded front, which is a hinged cover giving direct access to the cartridges. Below this is a barely adequate, 150-sheet paper tray.
Just above the tray is a hinged cover, which we at first thought might hide a single-sheet feed. In fact, it's labelled ‘Front door for jam access'. To get at paper jams you'd have to lift this cover and remove the paper tray below to be able to get a hand in.
When you fold down the printer's front cover there's an inset handle, which pulls out a tray holding four and near-identical drum and toner cartridges, making this a particularly easy colour laser to maintain - remarkable in a device at this price.
The single software CD includes custom-made HP software for scanning, copying and printing, as well as a copy of ReadIris OCR software. The installation program includes animated instructions for setup, which makes the whole process very easy.