HP rates the machine at 30ppm for both black and colour print, which is fast for a colour laser printer. In reality, we couldn’t get it to quite those levels, but it was still quick. Our 5-page black text document took 23 seconds to print, giving a speed of 13.0ppm, though this was extended to 29 seconds when the printer had to wake from sleep mode, first.
Increasing the document size to 20 pages increased the speed to 22.6ppm, so the printer is certainly no slouch, but where it really comes into its own is when printing duplex documents. Double-sided print is standard on the Color LaserJet CP3525dn and the printer uses the common technique of feeding pages out and back in again to print the second sides. Here, though, it uses a different paper path for part-finished pages, so they can be more efficiently interleaved with finished ones.
The result is that our 20-side, 10-page document completed in one minute and two seconds, giving a speed of 19.4ppm, only 3ppm slower than printing single-sided. This is much better than normal; for comparison, the Samsung CLP-620ND took one minutes, 14 seconds to print single-sided and two minutes, 30 seconds to print duplex, over twice as long.
The five-page black text and graphics document took 28 seconds and a 15 x 10cm photo on A4 took just 18 seconds.
The output quality is good for the things you'd expect a business colour laser to be good at. Black text is sharp and clear and the 1,200 x 600dpi resolution produces smooth curves and diagonals, even at small character sizes.
Colour graphics are bright and solid, with good registration of black text over colour. However, the colours themselves, while arresting, can be on the dark side and this is particularly true of greens and blues. Our sample landscape photo suffered from this, with a deeper than normal sky, and the loss of a lot of detail in darker areas of the image.
There are three consumables in this machine: the four drum and toner cartridges, a fuser and the waste toner container. The black cartridges are available in yields of 5,000 and 10,500 pages, but the three colours only come in a 7,000-page version. Using the high yield black and factoring in the other parts gives a cost per page of 2.7p for ISO black and 12.3p for ISO colour, both including 0.7p for paper.
Again, compared with the Samsung machine, the black cost is about 0.1p lower, though the colour cost is nearly 2p more expensive. The HP isn’t a particularly cheap printer to run.
A large, photocopier-style colour laser printer, the HP Color LaserJet CP3525dn prints quickly, particularly in duplex mode, and produces fair text and graphics, though less effective photo prints. It's a bit more expensive to run than some but maintenance costs should be low, as toner capacities are higher than with many printers in this price range.