HP LaserJet 100 M175nw Colour MFP review

HP's smallest ever multifunction colour laser printer
Photo of HP LaserJet 100 M175nw Colour MFP
£238

Multifunction devices may be convenient, but they can also be space hogs. HP’s latest colour laser model, the LaserJet 100 Color MFP M175nw, is the company’s smallest model to date, and is intended for smaller businesses who don’t need high-volume print, scan or copy functions.

Small but perfectly connected
The ‘nw’ in the HP’s product number gives away the fact that this model is network-ready, with integrated Ethernet and 802.11n Wi-Fi. A USB-only version, the M175, is available and will save you about £24.

It may have a compact footprint, but the LaserJet 100 M175nw is still pretty bulky. It weighs a hefty 16kg, with the ADF/flatbed scanner unit on the top adding a lot of height to it. The front-loading 150-sheet input tray sticks out about four inches, and there’s a catcher flap on the 50-sheet output bin that protrudes about the same distance. The paper’s printing path is 180 degrees, with the output bin located underneath the lid of the scanner.

Installation was refreshingly easy thanks to the Smart Install software stored in the printer – just plug the USB cable in and it launches. It’s very quick, allowing you to choose the connection type and optionally install HP’s Web Jetadmin network admin tools and the Bonus Pack software (which is just the HP Toolbox FX and some tutorial material). The Toolbox FX lets you enable status alerts and see toner levels, but the web interface is much more useful for tweaking detailed settings.

HP LJ100 web interface
HP’s web-based printer control panel makes this networked device very easy to manage.

The printer supports HP’s handy Eprint service, which lets you email documents for printing directly to the printer from any device.  It doesn’t support HP’s print apps, however.

Other features
The scanner offers an optical resolution of 1,200dpi, and has both a sheet-feeder (ADF) and flatbed mode. The sheet feeder has a 180-degree under-and-over paper path,  and can take up to 35 sheets of standard A4.

A tilting control panel with a 2-line, 16-character mono LCD display lets you access the scan, copy and settings functions directly with no need for a PC. There’s also a button to rotate the peculiar carousel storing the four toner cartridges.

Counting the cost
The starter cartridges supplied with the LaserJet 100 M175nw give you about 500 pages, with a replacement 1,200-page black cartridge costing £46 + VAT. Colour cartridges (cyan, magenta and yellow) cost £49 + VAT each for 1,000 pages.

Additionally, every 7,000 (colour) or 14,000 (black) pages you’ll need to replace the imaging drum at a cost of £69 + VAT. Excluding this and VAT, the approximate toner cost per colour page comes to 19p, and 4p for black-only, which is about par for this level of laser printer.

The monthly duty cycle of 20,000 pages means that it should be fine in most small offices, but could rapidly run out of steam in a busy networked environment.

Built for comfort, not for speed
Print quality was pretty good, particularly for text and graphics, and even photos were perfectly acceptable, although obviously no match for the results produced by inkjet. Colour photocopies of our test photo were not quite as impressive, though, with a noticeable loss of detail.

Scan handling was good, either via the HP Scan application or via the TWAIN and WIA plug-ins. Documents can be scanned to PDF or JPEG format and saved or emailed using HP Scan. The device also supports scanning of double-sided ID cards onto a single sheet using the flatbed scanner. You can’t initiate scans from the front panel, only copies. Scanning a mixed set of colour A4 documents to PDF at the default 200dpi resolution produced a rather sluggish throughput of 6 pages per minute.

Print performance wasn’t stellar, either, delivering the first page in about 28 seconds, and managing just over 3 pages a minute in our mixed office documents test, rising to 6 pages per minute for plain text.

Printing could be quite noisy at times, with lots of whirring and clattering – at times it sounded more like an inkjet in operation. The printer also had an irritating habit of initiating a cleaning cycle during a print job, slowing down the process a lot. At random moments it also ran a self-calibration cycle. We presume all this activity is linked to the toner carousel mechanism. On the plus side, wake-up from sleep mode was almost instantaneous, even when the printer is connected via Wi-Fi.

Company: HP

Website: http://www.hp.com/

Contact: HP on 0845 270 4000

Positives
  • Very compact; easy to install and use.
Negative
  • Noisy; slow performance.

Verdict

HP's LaserJet 100 M175nw comes at a decent price and offers good quality and acceptable running costs - and the space-saving aspect of its compact size will be appreciated in smaller offices. However, its slow printing and scanning performance will be frustrating if it's shared by more than a handful of users.