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When the ISO standard for print speeds came out, we were hopeful manufacturers would take a more realistic approach to quoting speeds. Most are still quoting draft speeds, though, and HP claims 28ppm for black and 22ppm for colour from this machine.
In practice, and in normal print mode, we saw 5.0ppm for our 5-page, black text document, which took exactly one minute to run, and 6.1ppm for the 20-page one, which took 3:16. Our 5-page black text and colour graphics test took 1:54, a speed of 2.6ppm. A single page, A4, colour copy took 44 seconds and a 15 x 10cm photo print on A4 paper printed in 1:12.
These speeds are pretty good for a machine costing under £150 and, if publicised, would gives customers a much better idea of the likely day-to-day performance of this office all-in-one than silly, inflated, draft speeds which are of little value, other than putting big numbers on the box.
We've come to expect good print quality from HP inkjets and the OfficeJet J4500 doesn't disappoint. Black text is generally crisp and well-defined, though there are one or two places where characters are a little spiky, due to slight feathering.
Colour graphics on plain paper are bright and dense and there's no sign of banding or noticeable dither patterns. Our colour copy was remarkably close to the original, with much less lightening of colours than we normally see from this class of machine. The photo print was excellent, too, with plenty of image detail, good colours and smooth transitions from one state to another. For a machine where photo print is not a primary function, this is a very good result.
The Officejet J4500 is an impressively quiet machine, with little of the squeezing and maintenance noises of recent HP all-in-ones. The scanner head sounds slightly graunchy when being driven to the end of the flatbed prior to scanning, but other than that you won't find the machine intrusive.
There are just two consumables to consider, the black and tri-colour cartridges, and if you shop around you can find these for around £16 (highly-yield black) and £12 (colour), giving a cost per page of 3.5p for black and 7.2p for colour, both including 0.7p for paper. The black print cost is a bit above average but the colour cost compensates by being a bit below.
The HP OfficeJet J4500 represents a very good compromise between feature set and price. A four-function all-in-one for under £130 is a good deal, but often you sacrifice print quality, print speed or running costs. Here, though, you have very good quality print, above average speed and reasonable cost of ownership, making the machine a very good choice for a SOHO office on a budget.
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