HP's Color LaserJet CP1518ni is a low-cost colour laser printer with a decent design.

However, it's not the quickest and has limited paper handling, so the HP Color LaserJet CP1518ni may be best suited for use in a home or a fairly small office.

In our tests, the HP Color LaserJet CP1518ni produced plain text pages at a paltry 11.2 pages per minute (9ppm) and graphics pages at 2ppm or slower.

At least the results were pleasing: text looks black and crisp. Although a little dark, photos look reasonably natural. Grayscale images are free of the green or pink overtones that we often see. HP's own image enhancement technology, called ImageREt 3600 technology, might have helped here: among other tricks, it manipulates the size and position of the dot within the usual resolution grid, to give images a smoother, more natural look.

(In connection with its use of this technology, HP long ago ceased quoting dots-per-inch resolution specs in favour of the vaguer ImageREt designation.)

Besides being slow, the HP Color LaserJet CP1518ni has design and configuration shortcomings.

The 150-sheet capacity of the HP Color LaserJet CP1518ni's main paper tray is below average. When extended to accommodate legal paper, the tray sticks out the front of the printer; technically, this occupies the same amount of space as the more common rear extension, but it looks odd.

Duplex (two-sided) printing is unavailable. The HP Color LaserJet CP1518ni's front control panel (with a two-line, monochrome LCD) is unintuitive. There's no clear indication that you must use the 'ok' button to summon the menus. Access doors and other parts feel flimsy or move clumsily.

On the brighter side, the HP Color LaserJet CP1518ni comes with five photo card slots on the front and has an easily accessible side door for accepting a RAM upgrade (maximum 352MB).

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