Colour laser printers have been eclipsed in the last year or so by colour LED devices, but HP is fighting back with the snappily-named LaserJet Pro 100 Color MFP M175a. This device uses a tried and trusted colour laser engine, but should it be tried, tested and ultimately rejected as too slow?
The thing is, this is a carousel-based colour laser engine, which means that when printing colour, it builds up the page image by creating four part-images, one for each colour, on the photoconductor drum, before transferring the complete image to the paper. This can take up to four times as long as printing a black-only page, but the way around it is to have a fast enough engine that even one quarter-speed colour pages are still fast enough.
This all-black cased machine has a surprisingly small footprint and is reasonably low to the desk, too. Its 35-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) sits on top of its A4 flatbed scanner, with completed pages exiting just below.
There's a flip-out paper support with a pop-up end-stop which increases the depth of the machine, but no further than the 150-sheet, fixed paper tray. It's a shame this tray has no cover, as it leaves the paper stack susceptible to dust and spillages. There's no second paper tray option, either, for those who need to expand its paper handling capacity.
The tall, narrow control panel hinges out from the left of the laser engine and may be locked in any of four positions. The 2-line by 16-character LCD display is backlit and as well as the standard controls for starting and stopping tasks, navigating the machine's menus and selecting the number of copies, there's a special button for rotating the carousel, so you can access any of the four toner cartridges.
These, and the separate drum unit, which slides out from the front of the machine, are the only consumables and are easy to get at, though with rather low yields for a SOHO device.
This version of the printer has only a USB data connection, but there is a separate model which also offers cabled and wireless networking, too. Software support includes a copy of ReadIRIS Pro 12, a fine OCR application, as well as HP's own scan and print drivers.