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HP OfficeJet Pro K5400n Inkjet Printer
The Pro suffix to a range of printers and all-in-ones usually denotes a heavyweight office device and this is certainly true of HP's OfficeJet Pro K5400n, though its price, currently just under £80 including VAT, is still substantially cheaper than a colour or even most mono laser printers.
We mention the laser printer comparison as HP is selling the machine as a direct alternative and claims speeds of up to 10ppm in ‘laser quality' mode. Is it really a viable alternative to a laser printer for office use?
There is a continuing trend in inkjet printers and all-in-one devices to use permanent or semi-permanent print heads. This means when you replace the device's consumables, you're only paying for extra ink and not a new set of inkjet nozzles. This doesn't necessarily make the device cheaper to run - that depends on the pricing of an ink cartridge - but it should reduce the amount of wastage and recycling.
The OfficeJet Pro K5400n uses semi-permanent print heads, arranged so that there's one for yellow and black inks and another for cyan and magenta. The ink cartridges themselves, four individual units, plug in behind a rather obvious and ugly pull-down cover on the left-hand side of the printer, while the print heads plug into the machine's carriage.
The rest of the design is fairly minimalist, with a four-button control panel, providing buttons for power, paper feed, job cancel and network access, as well as six indicator lights for faults with cartridges or print heads. There's a single, 350-sheet paper tray, with no supplementary multi-purpose or photo tray and no memory card slots to print photos directly.
This is a machine intended primarily for the office as a laser printer replacement, so the one concession it does make is in its PC connectivity, where it comes as standard with Ethernet networking, as well as USB 2.
Physical installation requires you to plug in the four ink cartridges, then the two, dual-ink print heads and wait for charging and alignment cycles, all automatic, to complete. This is a one-off process, when you fit new consumables and otherwise the printer starts up quickly.
Software installation is reasonably straightforward, though the driver software did get stuck halfway through its setup utility and we had to uninstall and reinstall from scratch. It then went through without further problem. Software comprises the HP Solution Centre and a driver, which incorporates multiple pages per sheet and poster printing, but no watermarks or overlays.
HP does offer its real life technologies photo fix, which is designed to improve the quality of photo prints by enhancing shadow detail and other image features, automatically.