Itâ€™s been a little while since we had a multifunction printer in the TrustedReviews lab, but the last one left us with very pleasant memories. The Samsung SCX-4216F, reviewed in January, set high standards all round and came in at a very attractive price. But there is more than one way to skin a cat as the saying goes, and with the LaserJet 3015, HP has decided to go after the same SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) end of the market with a very different approach indeed.
At the time we received the Samsung SCX-4216F, it was one of the most compact MFDs we had seen measuring up at a tidy 445 x 419 x 341mm (WxDxH) and tipping the scales at a trim 15kg, but HP has managed to make the 3015 smaller, a lot smaller.
At 420 x 340 x 445mm (WxDxH) the 3015 may be taller, but the all important footprint is greatly reduced and at only 9.5kg it could almost be described as malnourished. The end result for the home or small office user is that this MFD can be comfortably fitted under the smallest of desks, or even sat on top of it. So if space is an issue for you, HP has taken a major step in the right direction, even if - at a glance - the 3015 looks more like a stretched Epson inkjet than a traditional HP printer.
Now cutting all this weight does not come without cost and perhaps the most notable drawback is the sacrifice of a flatbed scanner for a cheaper sheet fed design. For most of us, this may not have much of an impact, but for those who regularly scan from books or bound material the 3015 will not be for you. On the plus side, the quality of the text based scans is good for what is essentially a downgraded option when compared with the more expensive flatbeds, but scans of colour and even monochrome pictures were disappointing. In general, I found the colours to be rather washed out and greyscales to be inconsistent, creating exaggerated contrasts between the lightest and darkest areas of the scan.
Copying documents was better with the 3015 recreating text based documents reasonably well at a rate of just under 4 pages per minute (ppm). Obviously, you are not going to get presentation quality results from graphics and picture photocopies but the pages will do for your own notes.
Also pleasing was the performance from the laser printer which, although not producing the sharpest results I have ever seen, was still easy on the eye and quick in operation. It regularly spat out its first page in less than 10 seconds and once up to speed came very close to its claimed 14ppm rate, knocking out just over 13ppm in testing. The reduced size of the 3015 however, does shrink the paper tray capacity to just 160 pages, compared to the chunkier Samsungâ€™s 250. The toner cartridge is also only good for 2,000 pages based on an average five per cent coverage but since a replacement costs just over Â£40 so you can still produce pages for roughly 2p per sheet. This is slightly more expensive than the 1.8p cost per sheet of Samsungâ€™s 3,000 page toner which retails at Â£56 but it shouldnâ€™t break the bank. More of an issue is whether having to refill the paper tray and change over the toner cartridge more frequently is going to be an issue.