HP Color LaserJet CP2025dn review

£413
Price when reviewed
HP’s latest Color LaserJet family aims to satisfy small workgroups and individual workers that want a budget priced colour laser but don’t want to sacrifice speed and quality in their search for value. The printers use HP’s new ColorSphere toner which it claims can deliver realistic photo quality output and they also introduce a new internal design that saves on desktop space.

On review is the CP2025dn which packs a lot 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 display at the front offers a simple 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 and a glance behind the drop-down front panel shows why this printer is so small as all four cartridges fit neatly into a single horizontal tray which slides smoothly out. The cartridges may be small but they have good longevity with mono lasting for 3,500 pages and colour stretching to 2,800 pages. Printing costs aren’t bad either with a mono page costing 1.7 pence and a colour page setting you back 8 pence. However, HP indulges in the dubious practise of shipping the printer with ‘introductory’ cartridges each with a lifespan of only 1,200 pages.

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 precisely 60 seconds. However, move up to colour and watch the print speeds fall. We tested this 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 is no draft mode offered 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 freely available Print View software. This installs a new printer driver which loads a view of the document for you to flick through and selecting the test copy option prints in draft mode and will do so at around 21ppm.

It may be slow to deliver colour but the end results are well worth the wait. Use standard 80gm paper and you’ll get a slightly blotchy effect on large areas of a single colour but move up to better quality paper and the results are excellent. Colour photographs really stand out with a sharpness and vibrancy we don’t usually see with budget priced lasers. Colour balance is very good with plenty of detail in darker areas and there is no banding evident at all. The PC Pro colour performance chart also showed perfect a transition across complex colour fades whilst grey shades 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 have been heading for a Recommended award.

Basic Specifications

Colour? yes
Resolution printer final 600 x 600dpi
Rated/quoted print speed 20PPM
Maximum paper size A4
Duplex function yes

Running costs

Cost per A4 mono page 1.7p
Cost per A4 colour page 8.0p

Consumables

Standard mono toner life 3,500 pages
Standard colour toner life 2,800

Performance tests

Mono print speed (measured) 20ppm

Media Handling

Input tray capacity 250 sheets

Connectivity

USB connection? yes
Ethernet connection? yes
Bluetooth connection? no
WiFi connection? no
PictBridge port? no

OS Support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Windows 2000 supported? yes

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