HP LaserJet Pro CP1025nw

HP‘s (NYSE: HPQ) LaserJet Pro CP1025nw is a single-function colour laser printer that works over USB, 10/100 Ethernet, or 802.11 Wi-Fi. And though its compact design won’t take up too much desktop real estate, its pokey four-pass print speeds will take up plenty of your time.

Compared with many HP printers we’ve recently reviewed, the CP1025nw offers little in the way of features. While several current inkjet printers offer large touchscreen menus (and even Android tablets), the CP1025nw relies on a series of small flashing LEDs next to printed icons to alert you to paper jams, allow you to cancel print jobs, and let you change the diminutive toner cartridges. With no onboard menu system, the printer actually offers wireless networking, which is surprising. And even though it might seem like a hassle to use your computer to configure the printer’s Wi-Fi settings, it’s much easier than using the arrow keys that most on-printer controls offer to type in a network’s SSID.

One feature I expected to find but didn’t is compatibility with HP’s ePrint and Apple‘s (NASDAQ: AAPL) AirPrint. Though once planned for the end of 2010, ePrint and AirPrint support has been delayed for several months, but a specific date has not been set.

The CP1025nw comes with lower-capacity “starter” cartridges, which is typical of laser printers. When these cartridges run out, the standard replacement cartridges will yield 1,000 pages each for cyan, yellow, and magenta ($56 each), and 1,200 pages for black ($50). Using the prices from HP.com, these toner prices translate to a little more than 4 cents per black page and 21 cents per page for four-colour prints.

To keep its size down, HP uses a carousel design for its four toner cartridges. To install the yellow cartridge, tap the button next to the yellow toner icon and that carousel turns to provide access to the yellow cartridge. When printing, you can clearly hear the carousel at work. Send the CP1025nw a colour job and you can hear the printer work on one colour, chug, next colour, chug, next colour, chug, next colour, print.

As you can imagine, this four-pass process takes considerably longer than when printing a black-and-white page, or printing to a single-pass colour laser printer. In our timed tests, the CP1025nw eked out a Fair rating in both our three-page color PDF and color photo print tests, with some of the slowest times we’ve seen. In our monochrome text document tests, the printer averaged just over ten pages per minute, which earned it a Good rating compared with other colour lasers we’ve tested. At first, our grayscale PDF print took much longer to complete, because the printer wanted to use all four colours to print. Clicking the Print In Grayscale button in the driver cut the print times in half. We used the faster times in our ratings calculations.

In terms of print quality, the CP1025nw was deemed to have Superior text printing capabilities, but our judges were unimpressed with the colour graphic test results. Our test showed that the CP1025nw tended to print dark, oversaturated colours with jagged curves and sloping lines.

Macworld buying advice

The HP LaserJet Pro CP1025nw is best suited for people with space constraints and who mainly print in black and white. Otherwise, the slow colour print speeds, dark and oversaturated prints, and high cost per colour page make this four-pass printer difficult to be excited about.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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