HP’s latest Color Laserjet family aims to satisfy small workgroups and individual workers that want a budget-priced colour laser, without sacrificing speed and quality. The printers use HP’s new ColorSphere toner, which it claims can deliver realistic photo quality output, and a new internal design that saves on desktop space.
On review is the CP2025dn, which packs much into its compact chassis with claimed print speeds of 20ppm for mono and colour and an internal duplex unit. Paper capacity starts with a 250-sheet lower tray and this can be increased by adding a second tray underneath. A backlit LCD panel at the front offers a readout on toner levels and a keypad underneath provides access to menus for system configuration and status reports.
The only consumables are the all-in-one toner cartridges, all four of which fit neatly into a single horizontal tray that slides out from behind the front panel. The cartridges have good longevity, with mono lasting for 3500 pages and colour stretching to 2800 pages. Printing costs for a mono page are reasonable at 7.3c but a colour page is significantly more expensive at 32.7c.
Our real-world print tests showed the printer capable of delivering the claimed mono speeds, with it dashing through a 20-page Word document in 60 seconds. However, with our 24-page DTP style document with masses of colour charts, graphics and photos, and on the General driver setting, this took nearly three minutes for an average of 8ppm.
There’s no draft mode in HP’s printer driver, so for complex colour documents you’re unlikely to see print speeds better than this. However, you can proof documents using HP’s Print View software, which installs a printer driver that loads a view of the document for you to flick through. Selecting the test copy option prints in draft mode at around 21ppm.
It may be slow to deliver colour, but the end results are worth it. Use standard 80gsm paper and you’ll get a blotchy effect on large areas of a single colour, but on better quality paper the results are excellent. Colour photographs stand out with a sharpness and vibrancy we don’t usually see with budget-priced lasers. Colour balance is good, with plenty of detail in darker areas and no evidence of banding. The PC Authority colour performance chart also showed a perfect transition across complex colour fades, while greys using equal mixes of C, Y and M toner were reproduced faithfully.
This quality output is also backed up by a good range of print-management tools and a useful print-server web interface, which is also mirrored by HP’s ToolboxFX utility. It’s a real shame the top colour print speeds are only achievable in draft mode, otherwise the CP2025dn would be worthy of a Recommended award.