The Color LaserJet CP1515n is claimed to print 12 black pages per minute or eight in colour and, while this is still a little optimistic, it's not as much of an exaggeration as with many printers in this price range. Our five-page text print finished in 52 seconds, giving a real-world speed of 5.77ppm, but when we increased the print run to 20 pages, the speed also climbed, to 9.52ppm.
Our five-page black text and colour graphics test took 1:06, a speed of 4.54ppm and a 15 x 10cm colour photo print completed in 33s.
These speeds are reasonable, but still a way short of some of the machine's competitors, such as the £125 Xerox 6125. For comparison, this printer produced a top mono speed of 10.52ppm and a colour speed of 8.11ppm.
The print quality of the CP1515n depends on what you're printing. Black text print is very good, with clean, dense characters at the machine's default resolution of 600dpi. There's no sign of toner spatter and characters are well formed at all point sizes.
Colour graphics are also very vivid and bright, ideal for attention-grabbing charts and graphs and with excellent black text registration over coloured backgrounds. The only place where this output is let down is in reproducing photographs, never a laser's strong-point.
The colour gamut from this machine, even though it uses HP's patented ColorSphere toner, is smaller than from some other lasers and from nearly all inkjets we can think of. It produces an over-vivid rendition, with a ‘seaside postcard’ effect, which detracts from photos of landscapes. There's also loss of detail in darker areas of images and colour transitions, such as in blue skies, are not as smooth as they should be.
The running costs in this machine are the four drum and toner cartridges and these cost around £50 each. For this you get 2,200 ISO black pages and 1,400 colour ones. This gives a cost per page of 3.02p for black and 13.91p for colour. Again, comparing with the Xerox 6125, the HP machine produces an almost identical mono page cost, but betters the Xerox by nearly a penny per page on colour.
There are several aspects of the HP Color LaserJet CP1515n that are very likeable. It's easy to maintain, produces excellent black text and good colour graphics and is competitive in its running costs. Against this, it's a little slow, has a low capacity paper tray and a hard-to-read LCD display. On balance, it's a worthwhile contender, but do look at the competition, too.