HP rates the OfficeJet Pro 276dw at 20ppm black and 15ppm colour. It's hard to check these figures, as the machine is erratic in its printing. It can start printing in under 10s, but if it chooses to housekeep first, it will be making squeaky noises for anything up to 30s before the first page feeds.
During printing, you can expect further delays as the machine pauses for up to 3s part-way through printing each page. We assume this is to allow for ink drying, but is a retrograde step, as early machines, such as the HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus, a similar printer using the same cartridges, didn't do it.
That machine is also £50 cheaper.
We saw a maximum speed of 9.1ppm printing our 20-page black text document (compared with 13.6ppm from the 8600 Plus), with 8.1 for the 5-page text (9.1 from the 8600 Plus). The 20-side duplex test gave 5.5 sides per minute and a five-page copy took 41s. None of these speeds are particularly impressive.
Text quality was generally good, not quite as crisp as with some other HP machines, though marginally better than from, for example, the Epson WorkForce Pro range. Colour graphics, though, were marred by mis-registration from one print swathe to the next, producing jaggies in the print. Photos were good, with smooth colour changes and natural hues. Shadows tended to be too dark, though.
The black cartridge is available in two yields, though the colour ones are only supplied in one capacity. Using highest yield consumables gives page costs of 1.8p for black and 4.9p for colour, both of which are very good and undercut equivalent laser print costs by a considerable margin.
How long have you got? If you want to use this machine in an office, even a home office, you’re likely to find yourself waiting for multi-page prints. Assuming the unit we tested was typical, the printer is noticeably slower than at least one, cheaper HP Officejet Pro and the slow speed comes from an annoying pause in printing, rather than slow print, per se.
Speed isn’t the only requirement in a printer, of course, but the print quality is not that hot, either. The all-in-one is well-endowed, with wireless, network and USB, duplex scan as well as print and an easy-to-use touchscreen. It only has one paper tray, though you can add a second, and can’t print directly from a camera.
Why not check out out our round-up of best printers
The Officejet Pro 276dw is a solid, well-made printer, but spends much too much time thinking about things. It can be nearly half a minute before it starts printing and a 10-page document will take 30s longer than it should, because of unwarranted pauses. There are faster, cheaper, better designed SOHO all-in-ones – at least one of them from HP.