HP LaserJet Pro M1217nfw review

£170
Price when reviewed

At first glance it looks like any bog-standard inkjet all-in-one, but don’t be fooled: the HP LaserJet M1217nfw packs in a mono laser print engine, along with Ethernet and 802.11n wireless connectivity, for only £170 inc VAT.

It’s aimed firmly at the small or home office, then, and it’s suitably bland to look at. The familiar all-in-one design allows for a 35-sheet auto-feeder on top, above a standard 216 x 297mm scan platen, with a 150-sheet input tray poking out of the front of the base. The control panel has a number pad and a few dedicated buttons, beneath a basic two-line LCD text display. It won’t win any awards for design innovation.

Setup is, thankfully, automatic, with HP’s fancy Smart Install kicking in as soon as the USB cable is connected – no CD required. And once up and running, the M1217nfw consistently hit its claimed print speed whatever we threw at it. A plain letter, a 12-page Excel workbook, a 24-page PDF booklet full of text and images – it all came out at a solid 18ppm.

Text quality was fine, with solid areas of black, and sharp edges to characters. Some lighter colours showed a bit of mottling, but on the whole the HP is a perfectly good document printer. Images fared less well at standard 600dpi settings, with photos looking grainy and similar shades mixing into one, but there is a 1,200dpi option, which improves things by a small amount. It isn’t perfect, but for a mono printer it’s good enough.

HP LaserJet Pro M1217nfw

Copies were reasonably quick for a cheap printer, with a single page taking 15 seconds from the press of the button, and further copies coming out at the same 18ppm rate as normal prints. The HP copied a four-page DTP document via the ADF in 50 seconds, although the quality was a little lower than via the platen. Edges were grainy using both methods, but the ADF missed many light colours completely, leaving some images looking ghostly. We’d reserve its use for text documents if possible.

There are no such worries when scanning documents. Our 150dpi scan of a DTP page captured the colours accurately, even picking up the faintest yellow lines on a graph. And a 600dpi photo scan proved just as impressive, with accurate colours again, bags of fine detail, and a clean finish that does quality photos justice. As we’ve found many times before, HP is capable of producing very good scan units at affordable prices.

The M1217nfw has a single mono toner cartridge, which will do a mere 700 pages out of the box. After that, it’s £45 inc VAT for a 1,600-page replacement from Amazon, so your cost per page will be a reasonable 2.8p once you’ve bought your first cartridge.

Whether the device itself is worth £170 is an interesting question. A good quality standalone mono laser with Ethernet and Wi-Fi will set you back more than £100, with similar running costs to the HP. With that in mind, the addition of fax and copy functions and a very good scanner looks reasonable for the price. It’s undeniably basic in its design and interface, but for a small office the LaserJet M1217nfw has all the tools you need.

Basic Specifications

Colour? no
Resolution printer final 600 x 600dpi
Rated/quoted print speed 18PPM
Maximum paper size A4
Duplex function no

Running costs

Cost per A4 mono page 2.8p
Cost per A4 colour page N/A

Consumables

Monthly duty cycle 8,000 pages
Standard mono toner life 1,600 pages
High-yield mono toner life N/A
Standard colour toner life N/A
High-yield colour toner life N/A
Supplied mono toner life 700 pages
Supplied colour toner life N/A

Power and noise

Peak noise level 50.0dB(A)
Dimensions 435 x 265 x 306mm (WDH)
Peak power consumption 370W
Idle power consumption 3W

Performance tests

Mono print speed (measured) 18.0ppm
Colour print speed N/A

Media Handling

Input tray capacity 150 sheets
Output tray capacity 100 sheets

Connectivity

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

OS Support

Operating system Windows 7 supported? yes
Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Windows 2000 supported? no
Operating system Windows 98SE supported? no
Other operating system support Windows Server 2008, Mac OS X 10.4 and above

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