With increasing numbers of people working from home, setting up small size offices or just wanting a compact but efficient home printer to supplement everyday demands in a larger working environment, there’s never been a more urgent need for relatively inexpensive but highly efficient mono laser machines. HP’s LaserJet P1606dn fits slap bang in the middle of this category.
For a start it’s not going to take up acres of room on the work surface. This smart, jet black workhorse is exceedingly neat and self-contained, measuring a tidy 387 x 284 x 246mm. Yet despite its economy size proportions, it doesn’t feel in the slightest bit flimsy, weighing a reassuringly solid 7kg.
When you do a tour of the outside you’ll see how much the LaserJet P1606dn is geared towards fast, energy-efficient working. The 250-sheet input tray folds down from the front and just above it there’s an extra 10-sheet priority input tray for assignments that must be done first. Controls are kept to an absolute minimum, with a backlit power button at the front, a small display with four LED lights, a cancel button and a Go button and that’s it. Round the back is the power lead input, USB link to your computer and an Ethernet connection.
Once set up using the supplied CD, your energy efficiencies begin with the unit’s Powersave facility which turns the printer off when you haven’t used it for a while and then uses “Instant-on technology” to get the first page up and out within 7 seconds of the restart. The other huge advantage is the inclusion of automatic duplex printing which should reduce operating time and paper usage considerably.
There are two print settings – 600dpi and FastRes 1200 – and when we set to work printing A4 documents there was little to choose between them in terms of speed. The A4 600dpi pages emerged at an average of 25ppm, while the FastRes 1200 assignment was just behind with 22ppm.
As you’d expect, there’s was a noticeable drop-off when it came to duplex printing, but 15ppm is still pretty nippy. What was even more surprising was a barely discernible difference between the print quality of the two settings: they both exhibited bold, unbroken blacks with no evidence of fading or feathering, and similar clear definition was visible in graphic illustrations.
The only slight dampener is the cost per page of the ink which, based on current prices on the net, averages around the 2.9p mark, which is around 0.6p more than its rivals. However the cartridge life is estimated at 2,100 pages so for small businesses it should be several months before you need a change at low usage.
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