HP claims print speeds of 16ppm black and 12ppm colour for the Color LaserJet CP1215, but as usual these are a bit ambitious. We measured 6.12ppm for our five-page black text print, but this rose to 9.45ppm on the 20-page test document. The five-page black text and colour graphics print produced 4.76ppm, so in both cases we saw considerably less than the claimed speeds.
They also don't compare particularly well with the CP1215's direct competitor, the Xerox Phaser 6125, reviewed recently, which produced 10.5ppm in black and 8.1ppm in colour, making it a noticeably faster machine.
The quality of print from the HP printer is fine for general office duties, with clean, sharp, black text, right down to small point sizes. There's no sign of toner spatter and emboldened text in headings come through looking as clean as body copy.
Colour graphics are vivid to the point of over-saturation and have a slight gloss to them, which some people don't like. More problematic is the fact that some shades come out over-dark, so black text over the top is hard to read; a shame as registration of black over colour is generally accurate.
Finally, our test photo print wasn't particularly good. Although there's little sign of banding and colour gradation is reasonably smooth, the main colours are again too vivid and darker tones are too keen to veer to black.
One of the comments we read on the HP site for this machine complained of the noise level when it was printing, but we only measured peaks of 58dBA at 0.5m, which isn't bad for a colour laser.
The four drum and toner cartridges are the only consumables on this machine and cost around £55 for the 2,200-page black cartridge and £50 for each of the 1,400-page colour cartridges. This gives costs per page of 3.2p for ISO black and 13.5p for ISO colour, each including 0.7p for paper.
These costs are around 0.1p higher than for the Xerox machine on black print, but 1.1p lower on colour and are not bad, in general, for an entry-level colour laser. As we've noticed increasingly over recent reviews, though, equivalently priced inkjet printers and all-in-ones are coming through with lower print costs than these lasers, so if print economy is particularly important to you, you should look at the new business inkjet models available from HP and other makers.
There are some good points about the Color LaserJet CP1215, such as its small size, ease of maintenance and good text print quality. However, it's also pretty slow, offers over-saturated colours and has no Mac support. Then there's that rather silly flap at the front and no multi-purpose feed slot. Not one of HP's best designs.