HP LaserJet M5035 MFP review

Price when reviewed

HP’s LaserJet multifunction printerfamily just keeps growing. The latest M5035 MFP is aimed atlarge workgroups of up to 15 users with a desire for mono A3 printing and copying, colour scanning and the ability to email documents directly from the printer.

HP LaserJet M5035 MFP review

Paper handling options are impressive, as the base model on review comes with a pair of 250-sheet lower trays, or you can opt for the next models in the range that extend this by up to 1,500 pages. Either way, the M5035 can be upgraded with extra trays, duplex unit, stacker/stapler and analogue fax card. The printer comes with 256MB of memory but, as we foundwith the M3035xs MFP, if you want to upgrade HP will relieve you of an eye-watering £394 for a256MB 100-pin DIMM module. Ona brighter note, printing costs are low, as the 15,000-sheet cartridge delivers an A4 page for a mere 0.7p.

HP has streamlined the installation process well. We like the menu option onthe control panel’s main page, which allows you to view and print all network address details with two button presses. Driver and utility installs are also deftly handled, with the routine searching the network for HP printers during this process. The printer’s operator panel iseasy to use and there are scanning options aplenty, as you can copy and print multiple pages using the automatic document feeder, scan and email as anattachment, and scan directly to a network folder or FTP site. The latter worked fine with our Windows Server 2003 domain controller running IIS, and we could also send files to shared folders as PDFs, JPEGs or TIFFs. You cansend documents directly from the control panel or printer driver for storage on the internal 40GB hard disk and eachcan be PIN protected.

The quoted print speeds were slightly pessimistic: our tests actually showed the printer to be marginally faster. A 35-page A4 Word document was despatched in 59 seconds at 600dpi, while an 18-page A3 document took 55 seconds. Plus, our heavy-duty 24-page DTP-style document printed in 40 seconds for an average speed of 36ppm. Moving resolution up to the maximum ProRes 1200 setting didn’t faze it either, as this took 40 seconds too.

We wish we could say the same about print quality, but the M5035 fails in this department. General text output was pin-sharp down to the smallest of font sizes, but charts and photographic images faired poorly. Bar and pie charts suffered from an unsightly banding, which became more obvious in photographs, and the general level of detail for the latter was poor. Wefound quality for the M3035xs MFP to be average, but for the M5035 it was unacceptable. Further tests also showed almost no discernable differences between the various resolutions available from the driver panel.

HP’s MFP printers usually offer an unbeatable range of features for the price. The M5035 MFP is no exception, but it’s a real shame that general print quality is so uninspiring.

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