So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Hewlett-Packard Australia LaserJet P1505
- Inexpensive; fast, especially printing graphics
- Skimpy design, pricey toner, awful graphics quality
The LaserJet P1505 doesn't look like much, but it is a fast printer. We think HP cut a few too many corners in designing it, but those seeking a no-nonsense workhorse may be willing to put up with some of its shortcomings.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
HP targets the entry-level laser market with the impressively speedy, if otherwise unremarkable, LaserJet P1505 monochrome printer. For reasons explained below, we disliked the design, and the print quality varies from slightly disappointing to profoundly so. But given the low price ($299 when reviewed), it's a tempting buy.
If nothing else, the LaserJet P1505 is fast: in our tests it averaged 26.1 pages per minute (ppm) printing text, and 9.9ppm printing photos -- output speeds that are among the highest we've seen to date. On the other hand, the text samples had a heavy, slightly imprecise look. And while photos are not the forte of any monochrome laser, the LaserJet P1505's looked even worse than we expected: grainy, blotchy and unnatural.
In contrast with its speed, the physical design of the printer is spare -- and sometimes irritating. A front panel folds out to become the 250-sheet, letter/legal-size input tray. The paper guides are small, unmarked, and can be hard to move -- especially the width guides, which are located deep within the recesses of the input path. You position a footed plastic panel over the input tray to form a combination cover and manual-input area -- with similarly deep-seated width guides. The output tray has a flimsy fold-out extension. The control panel consists of an inscrutable array of lights labelled with icons; you have to consult the on-screen documentation to figure out what most of the light sequences mean.
The toner cartridge presents both design and cost issues. A small fingerhold helps you raise the top cover to access the cartridge; this feature is not labelled, nor do the manual's illustrations show explicitly how to replace the cartridge (although it does show up in a parts diagram). After you finish the 1000-page starter cartridge, a 2000-page replacement unit costs $96.93 -- or a pricey 5 cents per page.
We looked in vain for the usual printed setup instructions, but, it turns out, they're on the included CD instead. This may save paper, but there isn't even a note saying you need to run the CD to get this information -- how helpful is that? Better aspects to the setup process, however, included comprehensive videos of unpacking and installation. The rest of the documentation -- all electronic -- is pretty detailed and thorough, too.
The LaserJet P1505 doesn't look like much, especially compared with the Samsung ML-1630 -- which is also $299 -- but it's a lot faster. We think HP cut a few too many corners in designing it, but those seeking a no-nonsense workhorse may be willing to put up with some of its shortcomings.
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