- Review Price: £142.98
The entry-level price for a colour laser printer continues to drop and HP’s LaserJet CP1515n comes in at under £150, if you shop around. For this kind of money you’d expect a laser printer for fairly light use, as a shared resource in the home or in a small business. That’s pretty much what HP intends this machine for.
The printer is simply laid out and is pretty much a rectangular box with the edges curved off. The front curve has a particularly wide radius and set into this at the right-hand end is the control panel.
The controls and display are covered with a high-gloss, smoked acrylic cover, which makes it singularly difficult to see the two-line by 16-character LCD display. With any kind of overhead illumination it becomes virtually indecipherable because of reflections and the lack of a back light. Above the display are two indicators for power/data and error conditions, and below are five buttons for navigating menu options and cancelling a printing job.
At the bottom of the front panel is the usual pull-out paper tray, this one taking up to 150-sheets, but less common in an entry-level colour laser is the single-sheet, multi-purpose feed which sits directly above the tray. A rather flimsy cover folds out from around this aperture to help clear any paper jams.
At the back are sockets for USB and Ethernet networking, both connections being standard. There’s very little in the way of options on the LaserJet CP1515n; no extra trays or duplexer, though you can add more memory. 150-sheets is not a lot of paper even in a home environment, so it’s a shame there isn’t an option for a second paper tray.
The printer is almost supremely easy to set up. All the toner cartridges come pre-installed and, once you’ve folded down the curved front cover of the machine, you can slide out the in-line tray holding them. Pull the orange rings to release the sealing strips and you’re ready to go. The photo conductor appears to be a lifetime component on this machine, as HP makes no mention of any consumables other than the cartridges.
The printer comes as standard with both genuine PCL 6 and emulated Postscript Level 3, but there’s little else in the way of supplied software. HP is obviously trying to reduce support calls, as the words ‘Do not connect the USB cable until told to do so’ appear in red several times during installation.
No matter what document you send to the LaserJet CP1515n, it takes around 25 seconds before feeding the first sheet to print. Whether this is warm-up, cleaning the drum or some other housekeeping, it slows the print process down. Even when it does get going, it’s not what you’d call a fast printer. Our five-page text print took 52 seconds to complete, which equates to a print speed of 5.77ppm and increasing the job size to 20 pages still only raised the speed to 9.52ppm, some way short of the 12ppm in the spec sheet.
Printing in colour produced a speed of 4.55ppm for our five-page text and colour graphics test, against a rated speed of 8.0ppm. Finally, it took 24 seconds to print a 15 x 10cm photo print on a single A4 sheet.
This printer uses HP’s ColorSphere toner designed to have particularly spherical particles and the pages we produced at the printer’s standard resolution of 600dpi were extremely clean. There’s virtually no sign of misplaced toner and even at small sizes, curves and diagonals are crisp and dark.
Colours are vivid and bright, perhaps a little too intense in places, though registration of black over colour is good for an entry-level colour laser, with very little haloing in evidence. Even the photo print, usually a source of ridicule for anybody who owns an inkjet, is reasonably reproduced with good shadow detail, no apparent banding and a reasonable colour gamut.
The only running cost on this machine is the toner cartridges and shopping around we found these at around £45 each. With a black page yield of 2,200 and 1,400 for colour, the costs per page come out at 2.92p for black and 12.1p for colour.
These are reasonable costs in comparison with other colour lasers in this marketplace, though if you add up the cost of four cartridges it comes to about £50 more than the cost of a new printer, which is never a good thing, eco-logically. To try and mitigate against this HP supplies ‘starter’ cartridges with the printer, good for only 750 pages each. That’s one way to get the purchase price down.
If you want good quality colour laser prints and only have £150 in your pocket, it’s hard to go far wrong with the LaserJet CP1515n. It does the job well, though not that quickly and has a couple of small shortcomings, but it’s primarily the print quality you buy for and you get that here.
Score in detail
Print Speed 7
Print Quality 9