Colour laser all-in-ones offer the speed of a laser printer with the ability to reproduce everything from colour highlights to photographs and graphics. This kind of versatility used to cost hundreds of pounds. However, the HP LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw – designed for small-office use – can be had for just £190.
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The printer is largely styled in white, with slate-grey panels on the base of the automatic document feeder (ADF) and the output tray. The ADF has a healthy capacity of up to 50 sheets, which seems a slightly odd mix with the main paper tray, which can hold only 150 sheets. I'm not sure why manufacturers assume that customers like restocking printer trays when making copies of large documents.
Controlling the device is achieved via the 76mm touchscreen, which has a light, positive feel and supports gestures for scrolling through the menus. The all-in-one offers print, scan, copy and fax, plus USB and wireless device support. Smartphones and tablets can be connected with minimum fuss; simply tap the device on the printer’s NFC logo, which can be found on its front panel.
Below the control panel is a USB socket, which can be used for uploading files to print – including Word and PowerPoint documents – and downloading scanned images in a wide variety of formats.
As well as the main paper tray, there’s a single-sheet paper feed for special media, such as letterheads and envelopes. There are USB and Gigabit Ethernet sockets at the rear, but wireless connection is the most versatile. As well as connecting to a wireless network, it can link directly to mobile devices and ePrint servers via the internet.
The HP LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw comes with a good suite of support software, including IRIS OCR, scan and fax applications and a print driver. The four cartridges slide out from behind the front panel of the machine and are a simple drop fit.
HP specifies the LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw at 18ppm printing both mono and colour. In our tests, these figures look optimistic, with our five-page mono text test giving 8.8ppm and the colour equivalent giving 8.6ppm. Increasing the page count to 20 pages also upped the speed, to 14.3ppm, although this is still some way short of the claimed throughput.
Duplex print, which is standard on this device, came through at 9.2 sides per minute – which is a good speed, particularly for colour print. A single-page colour copy from the flatbed took 16 seconds and a five-page mono document took 29 seconds to copy from the ADF, both very fair speeds.
Photo prints took between 13 seconds and 1min 23secs. This is quite a spread, with the slower time evident when printing from an Android phone.
We’re used to seeing some of the best laser colour images from HP printers, but in this case, results were variable. Our standard test photo printed from a PC was fairly dark and lost considerable detail. It was quite grainy, too. Another shot – taken from a USB stick – was better, with cleaner reproduction. A colour photocopy showed strange tone shifts and registration problems.
It’s most likely this is a one-off problem with this particular unit, since we’d expect it to have been picked up at quality control if it were a wider issue.
Using the high-yield variants of the toner cartridges gives page costs of 2.7p for mono print and 10.4p for colour. These are good figures, compared with most of the competition at this comparative low cost. The £239 Brother DCP-9020CDW, for example, costs 15.2p for a colour page and the Dell C1765nfw, at £242, costs 4.1p for a mono page and a whopping 18.3p for a colour one.
This is a decent colour laser all-in-one, particularly strong on ease-of-use thanks to its touchscreen. However, the £218 Canon i-SENSYS MF628Cw has a bigger screen, marginally faster output and better-quality colour print. It costs slightly more to run, though.
Brother’s DCP-9020CDW has a more conventional design than either of the other two, but is a solid alternative with easy control and above-average print quality. Colour pages are expensive to print, however.
The HP LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw is a good-looking, easy-to-use MFP offering low running costs. However, there remains a question mark over its colour output – if the reviewed sample is typical – and its 150-sheet main paper tray is too small for a machine in this category.