For devotees of inkjet technology this printer will come as something of a shock. At last we have a near-viable alternative in the search to make economical photo-quality prints.
The colour laser jet, as in this exciting new A4 model from HP, will rock many boats, upsetting many apple carts. It’s the first colour laser that this reviewer has found which rivals high-quality inkjet printing at a reasonable price.
If you’re used to inkjets that are little larger than a pair of metro phone books, your first encounter with the HP Colour LaserJet 2605 will deliver something of a shock.
Almost as tall as a small bar fridge, the printer is no pygmy and weighs nearly 25 kilos. Oddly enough, it swallows very little desk space.
You can hook it up to a computer via a USB or Ethernet interface; additionally, there is a bunch of card slots located at the front of the printer allowing you to print directly from CompactFlash, SmartMedia, SD/MMC/reduced MMC, MS (and Pro) and xD-Picture Card types.
The printer is almost entirely ‘driven’ by accessing the smallish LCD panel on its top surface. There are few external buttons.
Paper is loaded from a holder in the printer’s base and pops out, after printing, onto a top shelf.
Besides the printer reviewed here, there are two other models, ranging down in price to $599; the other models have no memory card facility.
The resolution is 600 x 600 dpi and this model printer is one of two in the line-up that can accomplish two-sided printing. Up to 250 sheets of A4 media can be loaded, with paper weights of up to 220 gsm accepted.
Printing speed is up to 10 colour pages per minute, but this figure does not apply to full-colour A4 prints.
Let it be said that this is ‘different country’ and the printer performs quite differently to an inkjet.
The HP is quick: using the USB connection the print of a photo-quality image of around 20MB slid out of the printer in a little under three minutes, most of which was taken up by image processing.
Compare a good-quality inkjet and a colour laser print (as made by the HP) and you will see a subtle difference.
The testing was run using HP photo paper; the colour quality and definition of the laser printout was about the same as a good inkjet print. In passing? the HP also excels at monochrome!
The main difference is that the sharp-eyed will notice a dot screen in the laser print, roughly similar to that found in high-colour magazine reproduction.
The results on the photo paper and, equally, those prints made on ordinary office paper, were little short of phenomenal.
The HP 2650dtn is a serious rival to inkjet and, as HP claims, has arguably similar archival life for its prints.
The colour toner cartridges cost $140.86 each, while the black toner costs $129.95. Expect to get 2000 pages from a set.
Reviewer: Byer Gair