HP claims a top speed of 18ppm for the LaserJet 1217nfw MFP and we got pretty close to this under test. Our 5-page text document printed with a speed of 11.5ppm, slightly faster than in toner save mode, which gave 10.7ppm. The 20-page text document managed 15.6ppm, though, which is a very respectable speed and within 15 percent of the spec.
The five page text and graphics print gave 13.0ppm and a 15 x 10cm photo took just 12s; this machine has an instant-on fuser and starts to print very promptly. A single page copy from the flatbed took 15 seconds, but a five page copy from the ADF took over a minute, which is sluggish compared to some of the machine’s rivals.
We expect good quality print from an HP laser and this machine delivers very sharp, crisp text, in both normal and toner save modes. Greyscale graphics are also smooth, with little sign of blotchiness, though there’s a little speckle in smooth areas of photo prints. A single page copy of a greyscale print was poor, though, with grey fills reduced to near black and overprinted text unreadable.
We noticed more paper curl from this machine than from many mid-range lasers; enough to make it difficult to feed 20 sheets back in to print second sides. They fitted, but we then had a couple of misfeeds. This was using the standard 80g/sm Staples multipurpose paper we use for all printer tests.
The printer is unusually quiet for this class of laser, hitting peaks of around 63dBA… unless it’s copying from the ADF. The ADF feed is very noisy, quite loud enough to distract you from other work while it’s copying.
There’s only one consumable for this machine, a cartridge with a 1,600 page yield, so cost calculation is simple. The machine should cost around 2.9p per page, low compared with several of its rivals.
This is a good, inexpensive machine for the small office, which can handle the four key tasks: print, scan, copy and fax. It’s quick, produces good quality print, unless you’re copying greyscale originals, and is cheap to run. The ergonomics aren’t as sound as on some other HP machines, but it’s still a contender.