- Review Price: £148.98
The number of colour laser printers below £150 continues to grow and HP’s Color LaserJet CP1215 is a very compact entry into the market. It’s not much bigger than a mono laser, but can print in full colour at speed equivalent inkjet machines would still be hard pushed to match.
This is a neat little printer, cased in light grey and white, with a simple control panel consisting of two large buttons, for paper feed and job cancel, and a range of indicator lights, including four for toner level. Paper feeds from a 150-sheet tray at the bottom of the machine to an indent in its top cover and there are no options to add extra trays to increase the capacity and versatility of paper handling.
At the back is a single USB socket for data transfer and again HP mentions no wireless option. Just above the 150-sheet paper tray is what HP describes as a jam access door. This is a full-width flap that folds up and locks, but it’s hard to see how it could be used to remove jammed paper, for two reasons.
Firstly, an adult male hand won’t fit through the slot, so only fingers can be squeezed in to fetch out paper and, secondly, paper feeds from the back of the paper tray, so any jams will be at the rear of the machine, not the front.
The colour laser engine is a neat, compact design. Fold down the front panel and slide out the tray to access the four print cartridges, which each comprise both drum and toner. The starter cartridges supplied with the printer have capacities of 750 pages each, so you’ll need to get supplies in fairly quickly if you’re use is anything other than light.
Software installation is quick and easy, with drivers for all versions of Windows after 2000 available on the CD and Linux drivers available for download. There are no OSX drivers offered for this machine, either on the software CD or on the support site, which is odd, as virtually all other HP printers offer support.
HP claims print speeds of 16ppm black and 12ppm colour for the Color LaserJet CP1215, but as usual these are a bit ambitious. We measured 6.12ppm for our five-page black text print, but this rose to 9.45ppm on the 20-page test document. The five-page black text and colour graphics print produced 4.76ppm, so in both cases we saw considerably less than the claimed speeds.
They also don’t compare particularly well with the CP1215’s direct competitor, the Xerox Phaser 6125, reviewed recently, which produced 10.5ppm in black and 8.1ppm in colour, making it a noticeably faster machine.
The quality of print from the HP printer is fine for general office duties, with clean, sharp, black text, right down to small point sizes. There’s no sign of toner spatter and emboldened text in headings come through looking as clean as body copy.
Colour graphics are vivid to the point of over-saturation and have a slight gloss to them, which some people don’t like. More problematic is the fact that some shades come out over-dark, so black text over the top is hard to read; a shame as registration of black over colour is generally accurate.
Finally, our test photo print wasn’t particularly good. Although there’s little sign of banding and colour gradation is reasonably smooth, the main colours are again too vivid and darker tones are too keen to veer to black.
One of the comments we read on the HP site for this machine complained of the noise level when it was printing, but we only measured peaks of 58dBA at 0.5m, which isn’t bad for a colour laser.
The four drum and toner cartridges are the only consumables on this machine and cost around £55 for the 2,200-page black cartridge and £50 for each of the 1,400-page colour cartridges. This gives costs per page of 3.2p for ISO black and 13.5p for ISO colour, each including 0.7p for paper.
These costs are around 0.1p higher than for the Xerox machine on black print, but 1.1p lower on colour and are not bad, in general, for an entry-level colour laser. As we’ve noticed increasingly over recent reviews, though, equivalently priced inkjet printers and all-in-ones are coming through with lower print costs than these lasers, so if print economy is particularly important to you, you should look at the new business inkjet models available from HP and other makers.
There are some good points about the Color LaserJet CP1215, such as its small size, ease of maintenance and good text print quality. However, it’s also pretty slow, offers over-saturated colours and has no Mac support. Then there’s that rather silly flap at the front and no multi-purpose feed slot. Not one of HP’s best designs.
Score in detail
Print Speed 7
Print Quality 7
|Paper Size||Letter, Legal, Executive, Envelope No. 10, Monarch Envelope, Custom Size|
|Sheet Capacity||150 sheets|
|Rated Black Speed (Images per minute)||12 ppmipm|
|Rated Colour Speed (Images per minute)||8 ppmipm|