In between the personal desktop laser printer and the freestanding workgroup machine sits a category which could best be described as SOHO (small office, home office) lasers. These are faster than the entry-level machines, often around the 20ppm mark, and usually have duplex print built-in as standard. HP's new LaserJet Pro P1606dn sits in this category, with a performance suitable to stake a claim in the small business market, too.
All decked out in black plastic, but with an industrial look, using large sections of walkway-style patterning, the printer doesn't quite know whether it's a permanent printing fixture or not. There's no separate paper cassette, instead it takes up to 250 sheets stacked on the inside of its front cover, as do entry-level machines like the HP LaserJet Pro P1102w reviewed last week.
Here, though, there's a clip-on cover, so you can leave the printer open without getting the paper dusty. The extension to the output tray at the top of the machine is also intended as a permanent fixture and doesn't fold in when you're not using the machine. Up to 10 sheets of special-purpose paper can also be loaded, using the paper tray cover as a feed surface.
The control panel consists of four LEDs, for power, data, error conditions and low toner. There are two push-buttons to feed paper and cancel a print job. At the back are sockets for USB and Ethernet, though this machine has no wireless capability as standard. You can add a wireless server, but then you can do that to most printers.
Lift the top cover and you have access to the single-piece drum and toner cartridge, which slots in easily but slides quite a long way into the machine, making it a little fiddly to remove and replace.
Drivers for Windows and OS X are provided on the CD and Linux and UNIX drivers are available through download. There’s also an applet to remind you where to get consumables and HP's web printing application, which is useful to get web page prints neatly formatted onto paper.