HP rates the LaserJet Pro P1102w at 18ppm, which is a fair speed for a personal laser printer. Our 5-page text print took 27s, which is equivalent to a speed of 11.1ppm, but increasing the page count to a 20-page document took the speed up to 15.8ppm, which is over 75 per cent of the rated speed.
The 5-page text and graphics document printed at 13.0ppm and a 15 x 10cm photo on an A4 sheet took just 13 seconds at the machine's top resolution, called FastRes 1200. At the normal FastRes 600 it took just 10 seconds.
These speeds are very reasonable for an entry-level machine and compare well with recent Samsung models, such as the ML-2525 and ML-1915.
It's difficult to write anything original about the print quality of modern, monochrome laser printers, as nearly all manufacturers have got the basics sussed. Text at normal point sizes, from 10 to 12 point, shows no artefact of any consequence, and is dense and black.
While retired printers (human) might be able to tell the difference between this laser output and letterpress print, for most business users there will be little obvious difference and the quality is more than adequate for internal reports and printed materials aimed at the general public.
Greyscale print is also very reasonable, with generally smooth greyscales available for all kinds of business graphics. Some colours translate to very similar shades of grey, which can be confusing, but for the most part business charts and graphs look smart and clean.
Even photo images, never a mono laser’s favourite task, look realistic and well detailed. While areas of sky appear a little mottled, at least they're not covered in light and dark bands, as is often the case with inexpensive laser engines. The level of detail in darker areas of photos is also better than average, with less of the image tending to black.
The single-piece drum and toner cartridge comes in just one capacity, though HP manages to more than halve this by offering an introductory cartridge good for just 700 pages.
We reckon it's legitimate to supply a new machine with the lower of two capacities of consumable, if both are available to buy, but to create a special, low-capacity cartridge simply to ship with new printers strikes us as cynical. Why should new customers not get the standard yield cartridge?
At the cheapest price we could find for the consumable, the page cost comes out at 3.6p per page, including 0.7p for paper. This isn’t particularly good. Comparing again with the two Samsung machines, you’re looking at around 0.8p more per page with the LaserJet. It’s not because the HP cartridge is new to market, either; it’s already used in other HP personal lasers.
Overall, this is a worthwhile, entry-level mono laser printer, which comes as standard with wireless connection and prints good-quality pages quickly. It’s comparatively expensive to run though, and costs around 25 percent more to buy than some of its main rivals. Unless you’re a devoted HP customer, there are other machines that are strong contenders here.