Affordable, small and fast printer that is ideal for small businesses
Colour lasers used to be big, bulky and very slow. They could also be extremely messy to set up, as well as expensive, both to buy and run.
But technology has moved and the latest generation of devices, such as the Color Laserjet 2605 from HP, are now much smaller, lighter and quicker than their forebears.
Not to mention a lot cleaner, simpler to manage and remarkably affordable.
There are three models in the CLJ 2605 family starting at just £219 ex VAT.
For our tests, though, we chose the mid-range CLJ 2605dn which, with the small-business user in mind, comes with a duplexer for double-sided printing and built-in network sharing as standard.
Regardless of which model you go for, the new printer can be lifted out of its box by just one person and, although still bigger than most monochrome lasers, doesn’t need much in the way of desk space.
That’s because it’s tall rather than wide or deep, with a 250-sheet A4 paper drawer built in at the bottom. A manual feeder for envelopes and suchlike is also included, plus there’s an optional second tray (£79 ex VAT) to take the capacity up to 500 pages altogether.
Rated at up to 12ppm (pages per minute) for monochrome and 10ppm for colour output, the laser engine uses single-pass technology with the four cartridges (cyan, yellow, magenta and black) ready installed for almost immediate use. All you have to do to get started is pull out the shipping tabs, add some paper and plug it in.
A black cartridge should last for around 2,500 pages (at five per cent coverage) and each colour cartridge about 2,000.
Each can be bought for just under £50 ex VAT and with no other consumables required (other than paper) the average price per page works out at around 11p. That’s more than for a mono laser, but not bad given the quality of the results.
The results really are excellent. Maximum resolution is 600dpi (dots per inch) but HP ImageRET 2400 technology further enhances any images involved to produce superb looking results.
Furthermore, if you’re into digital photography, the 2605dtn (£379 ex VAT) also has slots to take most kinds of memory card.
On the downside, colour images can really slow the printing down to, at worst, 2-3ppm. There’s a minimum 20-second wait before the first page appears no matter what you’re printing, despite a 300MHz processor.
Topping up the basic 64MB of Ram will help improve this, with a single Dimm slot provided for just such a purpose, although for most business documents the standard complement is more than adequate.
Support for both PCL and Postscript comes as standard, with drivers supplied for Windows and Apple Mac PCs. Linux drivers are also available, plus you get some useful image-handling software for free.
The built-in network server makes it easy to share the printer and, as well as an intuitive web interface, there’s SNMP support for use with HP Web Jetadmin and other management tools.
Its 35,000 page per month duty cycle makes the CLJ 2605dn a good choice for companies looking for a colour workhorse. The results are excellent and the printed pages very durable, with duplex (double-sided) printing no problem whatsoever.
Companies looking to produce lots of black and white documents would be best advised to go for a separate mono laser as well, but at this price the Color Laserjet 2605dn is a hard act to beat.
Pros: Excellent colour output at an affordable price; clean and easy setup; integrated duplexer; integrated network print server Cons: Slow to print first page and slow printing complex images; expensive for mono printingOverall: An affordable colour laser with benefits for any small business wanting to smarten up its images
£299 (£351.33 ex VAT
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