Mainly due to the rapid start-up, the print speeds we saw were very impressive for a machine costing little over £200. Our five-page text print completed in 22 seconds and the five-page text and graphics test took one second less, giving print speeds of 13.6ppm and 14.29ppm, respectively. In some ways, even more impressive were the 15 x 10cm photo print, which completed in 11 seconds, and the photocopies, from glass and ADF, which took 10 seconds and 14 seconds. These are some of the best copy times we’ve seen.
The quality of the prints was generally excellent with fine, detailed black text and dense black tones to lines and fills. Coloured tints behind black text were also reproduced reasonably well, with no signs of banding.
There is a weak spot in the LaserJet performance, though, and that’s photocopy quality. Photocopy text is fine, but areas of fill, particularly copied from print rather than the continuous tone of a photograph, are very poor. The textures break up and come through much lighter or much darker than the originals. It’s progressively better if you select text, mixed or photo modes, using the quality button on the control panel, but it’s still never that good.
This could be a de-screening issue – where the dot pattern of the original page being scanned conflicts with the dot pattern output by the scanner – and it’s something we’ve seen before in other manufacturers’ scanners. However, it’s the first time it’s been apparent in an HP machine.
It could hardly be easier to work out the running costs of the LaserJet M1522n, as the single-piece drum and toner cartridge costs a little under £50 and is good for 2,000 pages. HP follows an unfortunate trend, though, by supplying a ‘starter’ cartridge, which prints just 1,000 pages.
The page print costs come out at 3.17p, which is quite high, even when compared with other LaserJet printers. The LaserJet P2014, for example, gave a print cost of 2.05p, some 35 per cent cheaper. If you can find the print cartridge at a lower price, of course, the cost per page drops accordingly.
It’s difficult to know how to sum up the LaserJet M1522n MFP. We started by being impressed by the machine’s ease-of-use and spectacular print speeds, but were brought back down to earth by its dodgy copy quality. Most people buying a multifunction printer intend to use it at least in part as a photocopier. As long as you’re photocopying text, this should be fine, but copying graphics is something of a letdown.