- Review Price: £435.00
If colour laser printers were sold by the kilogram, HPs Color LaserJet CP4005n would be well worth its asking price. If you ignore its 48kg weight, though, which is a good two-person lift, you start to wonder why even a workgroup printer like this one needs to be quite so massive.
This machine is over half a metre in every dimension and one has to assume that the size is tied to the machine’s duty cycle of 80,000 pages per month and its comparatively high print speeds of 25ppm in colour and 30ppm in black. Even so, it’s not a desktop machine, unless you allocate it a desk to itself.
A single paper tray holds up to a full, 500-sheet ream of paper at a go and a pull-down, multi-purpose tray adds another 100 sheets to this capacity. Printed output arrives on the top surface of the printer, but HP has spring-loaded the paper receiver, so it drops gently, as the weight of paper from a long print jobs weighs it down.
A backlit, LCD panel shows up to four rows of 16 characters and therefore has room to give useful feedback of status and error conditions. At the back there are sockets for USB and fast Ethernet; as you would expect on a machine in this market, the CLJ CP4005n is fully network-ready.
The printer comes with all its consumables pre-installed and without the tapes and spacers you normally have to remove, before running. This is very convenient, but the machine is easy to maintain, anyway. Lift the top cover and you have immediate access to the fuser unit. Pull down the front cover and the image transfer belt swings away from the four vertically-mounted photoconductor and toner cartridges, which each slide out forwards.
Both PCL6 and PostScript level 3 emulation drivers are provided and the driver panel includes support for up to 16 pages per sheet, manual duplexing and watermarks. It also supports HP Digital Imaging, which provides contrast enhancement, ‘digital flash’ to fill in shadow detail, smoothing, sharpness and SmartFocus. There’s also network administration software to control the printer remotely, which works well.
Unusually, HP quotes speed figures for the Color LaserJet CP4005n using normal, rather than draft, settings. We expected, therefore, to see test prints at roughly these speeds, but were disappointed. The 30ppm claimed for black text print came down to 16ppm on our five-page text print, though the machine did manage just over 14ppm on the text and graphics, colour print, marginally closer to the 25ppm claimed. The printer produced our 15 x 10 centimetres photo in 14 seconds, giving a speed of 4.2ppm.
While these speeds are not up to the manufacturer’s claims, they’re reasonable for a workgroup printer. The first-page-out time of 10 seconds – assuming the machine is not in sleep mode – is good and matches HP’s spec.
Print quality is dependent on the type of page you’re printing. Text print is good; neither too dense nor too light and there’s no sign of toner spatter. Colour graphics are also bright and clear, partly due to HPs patented Color Sphere toner. Areas of colour fill are dense and there’s no sign of banding, though colours are, if anything, a little over-bright.
Photo reproduction, never a laser strong point, is no better than average, with colours looking over-vivid and colour gradations not particularly smooth. Although we always test printers with their default settings for colour, we did try out the Digital Imaging facilities within the HP driver. Far from seeing much improvement in our test image, both automatic and manual settings appeared to make the image look less natural. They will obviously need careful use.
Each photoconductor and toner cartridge is good for 7,500 pages at 5 per cent cover, so they won’t need changing that often, but the image transfer belt and fuser unit are also consumables, as they have service lives of 120,000 and 150,000 pages, respectively.
When you add up all the separate consumables, you get a black page cost of 1.87p, which sits pretty much in the middle of the range. You might expect it to be lower, given the asking price of the HP machine. The colour print cost, which comes out at 7.04p, matches that of the Kyocera Mita FS-C1015N – quite a feat, as Kyocera Mita uses a lifetime print engine.
The Color LaserJet 4005n does pretty much what you’d expect of a workgroup colour laser. It prints fast and with fair quality, particularly for business graphics. Its high duty cycle and good network support make it an ideal vehicle for heavy office use, but we still wonder why it itself has to be quite so big and heavy.
It’s worth noting that the price quoted here, from the PC World Business site, is around £150 lower than any other we could find. While there’s no indication this is a special offer, if you’re considering this machine it would probably be as well not to hang around.
Score in detail
Print Speed 9
Print Quality 7
|Paper Size||A4, A5, B5, B5 (JIS), C5 Envelope, DL Envelope, Double Postcard, Executive, 16K, 3" x 5", 8.50" x 14", Letter, Legal, Statement, Envelope No. 10, Monarch Envelope, B5 Envelope, 76 mm x 127 mm, 216 mm x 356 mm|
|Sheet Capacity||600 sheets|
|Rated Black Speed (Images per minute)||30 ppmipm|
|Rated Colour Speed (Images per minute)||25 ppmipm|