The HP LaserJet Pro 200 Color M251nw has a top claimed speed of 14ppm, and since it has an inline print engine, it’s just as fast in colour as it is in black print. However, 14ppm is a bit optimistic. Even though the first page out claim of 19s isn’t far off the mark – we saw 21s – our five page text print took 42s, a speed of 7.1ppm, overall.
The printer offers Economode, which saves toner, but not a true draft mode. The five-page text document still took 42s in Economode, but in normal print, the 20-page test gave 10.3ppm, the fastest speed we measured and some way off HP’s claim.
Our five-page black text and colour graphics test took 40s, equivalent to 7.5ppm and the 15 x 10cm photos took between 21s and 37s, depending on source. Frankly, longer print jobs may require a cup of coffee.
The printed pages we obtained from the machine were of uniformly high quality. Black text is razor sharp and densely black, with no signs of spatter. Economode fills the text with a pattern of white dots, which gives it a slightly bitty feel, but colour graphics are dense and superimposed black text shows no signs of mis-registration.
Colour photos, never a strong point of colour laser print, are well reproduced here and although the colour gamut is slightly restricted, there’s little sign of banding or other unpleasant artefacts.
Only the black toner cartridge is available in standard and high-yield versions, but running costs are still very competitive, with a black page coming out at 3.2p and a colour one at 12.1p.
Despite the commonly held belief, colour laser print is considerably more expensive than print from a colour inkjet. Small business inkjets we’ve tested recently come in at around 2p and 5p for black and colour pages, respectively. That’s a big difference, particularly if your job mix includes quite a bit of colour print and is something you should bear in mind when buying in this category.
When you compare the HP LaserJet Pro 200 Color M251nw with something like the http://www.trustedreviews.com/xerox-phaser-6500v-dn_Printer_review Xerox Phaser 6500V/DN, at around the same price, this machine is a lot slower, doesn’t offer duplex print and has less versatile paper handling. It does have a colour touchscreen, though, and direct wireless connection for tablets and phones. It comes down to wireless features vs performance.