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The only problem we hit was that once the software setup was complete, the 2420d refused to offer a duplexing option in its printer dialogue, offering just manual duplex. We got round this by switching on the ‘duplex option installed’ switch in the driver, but in the ‘d’ version of the printer duplexing is standard, not an option, and should have been sensed at install time. Once set, the duplex function worked as expected.
Surprisingly, for an HP laser printer, there are some problems with the print quality of the 2420d. While black text comes out clean and precise, reproduction of grey scales is less good. Our mixed text and business graphics test page produced spatters along drawn lines, which were reproducible across several pages. Tinted fills were also uneven and looked bitty, even after we had removed the toner cartridge and shaken it to check an even displacement of toner.
Photographic reproduction, using the printer’s highest quality ProRes, true 1,200dpi resolution, also showed a graininess in what should have been areas of smooth tone, such as sky. Some detail in foreground images was lost.
Print speeds were pretty good, with our five-page text document printing in 22 seconds, giving a true print speed of nearly 14 pages per minute. Since these are printed at normal, rather than draft, quality, it's a pretty good result. Our text and graphics page completed in 11 seconds, so nearly 5ppm there, too. Even the 5 x 3 photo print took just 12 seconds to print.
Print costs are very easy to work out on this machine, as all you have to consider is the cost of the integrated toner and drum cartridge, which we found at a minimum price of around £69. HP claims 6,000 pages at five per cent cover for this cartridge, which gives a cost per page of 1.62p, including paper. This figure places it in the middle of the field of mono lasers we've tested in the last year.
As a new LaserJet from HP, the 2420d should be a good, solid office laser printer, but the problems we had with its duplex function and the question mark over some of its print output, left us less impressed than we expected. If you're paying this kind of money for a laser printer, the quality of the print output should be taken as said… it isn't, here.
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