Many who would have bought a cheap inkjet printer a few years back, will now go for an all-in-one, because the price is little more and you get the extra convenience of copying and scanning. The same logic applies to personal mono lasers and HP has just refreshed its range. The LaserJet M1132MFP comes in at just £120, so what do you get for the price of a night in a London hotel?
Most of the curves of the previous models have gone and the jet-black casing is based around verticals and horizontals. As with the mono laser printers of which this machine is an extension, it has a feed tray that pulls down from its front surface, with no cover for loaded paper. Above this 150-sheet tray is a clip-on output support, which takes the printed pages, so the design ends up more functional than elegant.
A low-profile, Contact Image Sensor flatbed scanner sits on top of the printer section of the machine and has no Automatic Document Feeder, so the machine can only handle single-sheet scanning.
Equally basic is the control panel, which folds out to three different click-stops and relies on two, seven-segment LED displays, rather than any form of alphanumeric LCD. This display is difficult to read from an angle, because of a segmented mask positioned in front of the LEDs. It’s used to display number of copies, brightness and copy magnification level.
A single selection button toggles between these three modes and two arrow keys deal with numerical adjustments up and down. There's a small button to start a copy and another to stop a current job and three more LEDs indicate data, errors and low toner. A power button is positioned lower down, on the body of the machine, and a single USB socket is the only data connection, at the back.
HP incorporates its Smart Install feature on this machine, which we’ve only seen on a few devices before. It means that, on a standard Windows installation, you don't need to use the supplied driver CD, but can simply connect the all-in-one and switch it on. The connected PC then receives a download from the printer of the necessary drivers and control software, so it effectively installs itself.
This is a much simpler process than a CD installation, but doesn't work for OS X or Linux, though there are drivers for both. The machine's first task, once installed, is to print a handy quick-reference sheet for its controls.
The single-piece drum and toner cartridge slides well down into the heart of the machine, once you've lifted up the flatbed scanner and the top cover of the printer section of the device.