HP Colour Laserjet 2605 review

Price when reviewed

The HP Colour Laserjet 2605 is the little brother of the 2605dn. It sports the same compact footprint and single-sheet multipurpose paper feed, but lacks the duplexing unit and onboard Ethernet. These omissions reduce its versatility, but also cut its price, positioning the 2605 as a personal laser.

HP Colour Laserjet 2605 review

Both models use the same print engine, so the 2605 matches the superb imaging capabilities we saw nine months ago. Blacks were crisp and solid, greys were sharp and well differentiated and, although colours tended towards oversaturation, dithering was pleasingly clean, with fringing apparent only at the edges of the most extreme contrasts. With the 2605, you can have the same quality for £100 less.

Inevitably, the 2605dn’s weak points are also replicated, such as its poor monochrome print speed of 12ppm. This discouraged us from recommending the 2605dn as a workgroup printer, but for personal use 12ppm could be fine, especially coupled with HP’s Instant-On technology that brings the printer out of power-saving sleep in a few seconds. If your main concern is colour printing, it won’t affect you anyway. The 2605 takes a while to rev up, but once it gets going its single-pass colour engine manages 10ppm.

Another foible is running costs; while the 2605’s TCO isn’t far from the Oki’s or Lexmark’s, it still ranks near the bottom. Part of the problem is that every toner cartridge contains a replacement image drum. This ensures consistent print quality and means you probably won’t see any further running costs beyond the “price per page”, but it’s a poor economy for light users who might otherwise never need to replace a drum.

Despite these reservations, the 2605’s blend of speed, quality and features are unrivalled at this price. For some purposes, the Konica Minolta may be a better bet, as it outpaces the HP in mono printing and delivers better-quality colour. However, the 2605’s strengths as an all-rounder give it the edge.

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