HP quotes a maximum speed of 26ppm for the LaserJet M2727nfs, but we didn't see more than 17ppm, which was for our 20-page text print. Although the print engine requires virtually no warm up, there was a significant processing lag before the start of each print, ranging from 7 to 18 seconds, depending on the number of document pages which needed to be rasterised.
The machine can print duplex documents, saving paper, and although this reduces print speeds to around 10spm, print is pretty efficient, with very little time gap between pages.
The scanner uses an LED light source, so there's no warm-up time involved before a scan or copy and we saw a single page scan from the glass take just nine seconds. A five-page copy from the ADF completed in 26 seconds, too, so this makes the machine a quick and efficient digital photocopier. The stapler works well too, though you don't have time to position the papers before they're stapled. A staple button on the control panel might work better than a paper sensor.
The print quality, as you'd probably expect from an HP laser printer, is very good. Black text is crisp and very well formed and there's no sign of any infill or toner spatter. Business graphics also look good and there's a sufficiently wide range of greyscales to differentiate between colour shades reasonably well.
The only blot in the machine's performance is its copying of greyscale graphics via the scanner. A one-word description of this is ‘hopeless'. Using a few more words, this is because it reproduces greys either as very light or completely black and make them all very blotchy, into the bargain.
Our test photo print is generally very well reproduced, with good shadow detail and plenty of intricacy in the fine foregrounds. There's some sign of blotchiness in the grey skies, however. Our print was produced using HP's FastRes 1200 print mode, which is the default. We normally use the highest resolution available when reproducing this test piece, but HP's ProRes 1200 wouldn't handle the 6.12 MB test file, complaining of too much data. This is the first time we've ever had this problem.
The drum and toner cartridges cost £55 and £90 each, depending on the capacity. Using the larger, 7,000-page cartridges gives costs per page of 2.12p (including 0.7p per page of plain paper), which is quite a bit higher than equivalent mono laser print costs from its main rivals, where we've seen typical figures of around 1.7p.
There's quite a bit to commend the LaserJet M2727nfs, which has good paper handling, including the innovative stapler, and prints and copies quickly. Print quality is good, unless you are copying greyscales, when it's awful. It looks like it could also do with extra memory when reproducing high-res images.