The HP LaserJet Pro m1212nf is a multifunction printer aimed at small businesses and home offices. It's a great choice if you want to print up to 2000 pages per month for a low price, and its scanning and copying features come in handy. Text quality is good in both 600dpi and 1200dpi modes, but we noticed a few small problems in the quality of monochrome graphics.
HP LaserJet Pro m1212nf: Design and features
The HP LaserJet Pro m1212nf multifunction monochrome laser printer (wow, that's a mouthful) has a similar internal paper path to the Dell 1133, with a 150-sheet paper tray at its base and an output tray located under the flatbed scanner at the top. We didn't like the way printed pages didn't stick very far out of the Dell 1133; the LaserJet Pro m1212nf uses more space for its 100-sheet output tray and has a paper guide to stop sheets spilling out.
A range of controls can be found on the HP LaserJet Pro m1212nf's fascia. As well as the necessary number pad for inputting fax numbers (it has a 33.6Kbps fax), there are one-touch inputs for copying and scanning. You'll probably need to read the manual to get a handle on what does what — some of the buttons' labels are a bit cryptic. The controls are mounted on a pivoting panel, so they can be easily read and accessed if you have the LaserJet Pro m1212nf on a low shelf.
HP LaserJet Pro m1212nf: Print pricing and speed
The HP LaserJet Pro m1212nf has a recommended monthly output of up to 2000 pages. This isn't as high as a proper business printer, but it's plenty for a medium business' needs. Each CE285A drum toner cartridge has an expected average yield of 1600 A4 pages, and its £65 RRP means ongoing costs are 4p per A4 sheet. This is much lower than running an equivalently priced business inkjet multifunction printer.
Print speeds are good, especially given the HP LaserJet Pro m1212nf's entry-level price. After hitting print when using the standard 600dpi quality setting, the first page of a document is printed in around 8.7sec with extra pages coming every 3.1sec after that. Bumping up the quality to 1200dpi slows print times by half, with a 12sec wait for the first page and 4.9sec for subsequent sheets.
HP LaserJet Pro m1212nf: Print and scan quality
The HP LaserJet Pro m1212nf prints clear and legible text at 600dpi, with text as small as 6pt free of any jagged edges or blurred characters. Printing using a 1200dpi resolution delivers slightly superior text, but we don't think it's worthwhile using this quality mode for everyday printing given the slower print speeds.
Although you won't be using the HP LaserJet Pro m1212nf for printing many photographs, its monochrome graphic printing quality leaves a little to be desired. Our test image lacked detail at 600dpi and the 1200dpi setting only helped matters slightly. We did notice occasional faint banding in our test prints as well. We'd happily use the HP LaserJet Pro m1212nf for printing graphs and simple spreadsheets, but not for printing images.
Scan quality is acceptable. We did notice a small amount of posterisation in the JPEG image files produced by the HP LaserJet Pro m1212nf, and fine image detail is not especially evident, but for scanning text and graphics it does a perfectly good job. If you're scanning photos for use on Facebook or any other social-networking site, the HP LaserJet Pro m1212nf will serve you well.
HP LaserJet Pro m1212nf: Instant-on and USB install features
HP's latest business printers, including the LaserJet Pro m1212nf, use instant-on and instant-off technology, consuming only 2 Watts in power-saving (sleep) mode. This saves more power than if the printer were to remain in standby mode and it means you don't have to leave the printer running all day. You can set an interval for the printer to enter standby mode after printing has stopped, and a regular timer can be activated to turn the printer off at a specific time each day. For businesses concerned about their green credentials, the HP LaserJet Pro m1212nf is a smart choice.
Another useful inclusion is HP's USB installation feature. Don't worry if you're using a netbook or if you've lost the software installation CD — on a Windows system, plugging in the HP LaserJet Pro m1212nf initiates HP's software and installs all necessary drivers and maintenance software from the printer itself. While this isn't of use for networked PCs or non-Windows systems, it's a welcome extra. In the future, we can see this cutting down on e-waste as driver CDs go the way of the dodo.
The HP LaserJet Pro m1212nf has an Ethernet port for networking. However, the printer doesn't have a web interface, so an administrator wishing to check toner levels and perform maintenance tasks will need to have HP's software suite installed.
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