Speed is one of the key determining factors in the price of a mono laser printer. Particularly in the network laser market, where the printer is to be shared between 20 or more people, pushing print jobs through quickly is very important. Even so, is HP’s 52 page per minute LaserJet 4350n worth just over £1,100?
In its basic form with or without a network server – the ‘n’ version reviewed here includes an internal JetDirect card – the printer is a substantial machine following conventional lines. A paper feed tray pulls out from the bottom and takes a full 500-sheet ream. The paper then follows an ‘S’ print path, to exit onto the machine's top surface.
Above the paper tray a multipurpose tray folds down and telescopes out to take a further 100 sheets of specialist media, from letterheads to envelopes or transparencies. At the back are sockets for USB 2.0, parallel and 10/100 Ethernet connections, providing plenty of scope for local and networked use. The mains socket is also at the back, though sensibly, the power switch is at the front of the right side panel.
If you have at least one eye on expanding your laser printer, you can go a long way with the LaserJet 4350n. As well as the fairly standard options of an extra paper tray and a duplexer – for printing on both sides of the paper – here you can add two extra 500-sheet paper trays, a 1500-sheet paper bin, a finished print stacker and a stacker/stapler. There's a 75-envelope feeder and even a stand with casters to build the expanded printer tower onto.
A four-line by 16-character backlit LCD display provides plenty of room for the various menus, which are well-organised and easy to navigate. However, for all the extra scope offered by the multi-line display, some inconsistency in button labelling sometimes makes this device less than intuitive to use.
For example, a popular message on the display is ‘To return to Ready press STOP’, yet there’s no button on the panel labelled Stop. The button that’s needed is labelled Cancel Job. Similarly, the button the manual refers to as Menu is labelled Pause/Resume on the printer. HP is usually attentive to these details, but not this time.
Software installation is very simple, with the driver being installed in one operation. It offers common facilities like watermarks and page imposition – up to 16 pages per sheet – and three resolution settings. Although the maximum physical resolution of the LaserJet 4350n is 1,200dpi, FastRes 1200 interpolation produces the equivalent of 1,200dpi without sacrificing speed. It’s the default resolution, though you can set 600dpi explicitly.