HP’s claimed 42ppm is a fair turn of speed but, as with most manufacturer speed specs, it doesn’t include processing or preparation time and definitely doesn’t include the time it takes to wake the machine up from sleep mode. We don’t include this second time in our tests, either, though perhaps we should. Unless the office in which the printer is working is extremely busy, it’s probable that many, or even most, print jobs will be run when the printer is asleep, saving power.
In the case of the LaserJet P3015X, the wake-up and processing time for a single sheet print was just 11 seconds, with the page hitting the output tray in 16 seconds. This is pretty good and our five-page text file from a fully-wakened machine took only a second longer, giving a speed of 17.65ppm.
On our 20-page file the speed increases to 30.00ppm, which is fast, though still only three quarters of the claimed speed. The five-page text and graphics file was quicker than its all-text equivalent – probably because only a single page is rasterised – and gave a speed of 21.43ppm.
The printer includes duplex print as standard and reverses the page back from the output tray to print the second side. There are no special interleaving algorithms and a 20-side/10-page equivalent to the 20-page single-sided document took 1:09, an equivalent of 17.39spm and just a little over half the simplex speed.
Print quality, as with most mono lasers, perfected over the last 25 years, is excellent, with clean-cut characters and neither spatter nor jagged edges. Greyscale graphics reproduce smoothly, using the printer’s 1,200dpi equivalent print, though the range of grey tones is not as great as it could be, so it’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between colours. Our photographic test print was well-detailed, if rather light in tone.
The combined drum and toner cartridge, available in 6,000-page and 12,500-page versions, is available from limited sources, so the cheapest price we could find may be bettered as the printer becomes more widely available. As things stand, though, using the best prices available gives a cost per page of 2.10p, including 0.7p for paper. This isn’t a particularly good page cost for a machine with a purchase price of over £630.
If you need a high-capacity, duplex mono laser, with PIN-protected, walk-up PDF print, you won’t go far wrong with the LaserJet P3015X. It’s easy to use and maintain, is no fuss on a network and prints long documents fast, though as usual not quite as fast as its manufacturer believes.