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

As on many low-cost printers, the HP Color LaserJet CP1518ni's toner cartridges are low-capacity and high-priced. The printer comes with starter supplies of each colour good for 750 pages of output.

HP's documentation is thorough. The wordless setup sheet for unpacking and installing the HP Color LaserJet CP1518ni's cartridges looks more like a page ripped out of a comic book than something official, but the instructions are clear.

The installation routine relies on animated wizards. Inside the HP Color LaserJet CP1518ni, illustrated stickers help you perform routine tasks without consulting the manual. The HTML-based documentation is comprehensive without being overly technical.

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HP Color LaserJet CP1518ni: Specs

  • In-line colour laser printing technology
  • max resolutions: 600x600dpi
  • 450MHz Motorola Coldfire V5x processor
  • monthly duty cycle up to 30,000
  • Standard input capacity (sheets): up to 150
  • Maximum output capacity (sheets): Up to 125
  • One 144-pin DDR 2 DIMM slot and SD, MMC, CF, XD, Memory Stick
  • Hi-Speed USB (compatible with USB 2.0 specifications), 10/100Base-TX with RJ45 connector
  • 399x453x254mm
  • 18.2kg
  • In-line colour laser printing technology
  • max resolutions: 600x600dpi
  • 450MHz Motorola Coldfire V5x processor
  • monthly duty cycle up to 30,000
  • Standard input capacity (sheets): up to 150
  • Maximum output capacity (sheets): Up to 125
  • One 144-pin DDR 2 DIMM slot and SD, MMC, CF, XD, Memory Stick
  • Hi-Speed USB (compatible with USB 2.0 specifications), 10/100Base-TX with RJ45 connector
  • 399x453x254mm
  • 18.2kg

OUR VERDICT

For individual users or a small office, the Color LaserJet CP1518ni's minimal paper handling and toner supplies are probably adequate. Only extremely patient people will find it easy to tolerate the slow engine, however, especially when similarly priced models are much faster and have better features.

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