Monday, August 4, 2008

HP Laserjet P1005 Review

A few weeks ago my ancient HP Laserjet II (20+ years old) expired, so I looked around for a low-cost replacement. The HP P1005 fit the bill - at that time HP was selling them with an on-line rebate which reduced the price to $49.99 with free shipping, less than the cost of one of its print cartridges. Click to enlarge, then BACK to return here At this writing HP's price has gone back up, but Newegg has them for $49.99 plus shipping. Perhaps others do too. At that price, how could it really go wrong?

So far so good. It installed fine on Vista x64 and the LAN-connected Vista and XP computers, despite some confusion on my part caused by the serious lack of documentation, see below.

I've used it for a couple of weeks now. Unlike the old Laserjet II, the P1005 is absolutely silent until called upon to print something. Then if it hasn't printed recently it warms itself up for a few seconds (HP says 8.5) and prints at a rate of up to 15 pages per minute, four seconds per page, and in a quick test it did print a 3-page document in 12 seconds. Some reviewers have complained about the 62 dB noise, but in my low-duty application right next to my desk it hasn't bothered. It won't interrupt conversation. If others were using it frequently, I would place it farther from my desk or at a different computer.

  • Paper: Letter, legal, postcards, transparencies and "tough" (plastic) paper, #10 envelopes, smaller sizes.
  • Up to 15 pages per minute, four seconds per page.
  • Good black-and-white print quality.
  • About 1500 pages per print cartridge, which cost about $50-$60, or 3 to 4 cents per page.
  • Input tray 150 sheets, output 100.
  • USB 2.0.
  • Win 2000, XP, Server 2003 32/64 bit, Vista 32/64, Mac OS X several revs.
  • Small and light, 10.3 lb, hence modestly portable.
It does NOT have:
  • COLOR. The biggie.
  • Its own networking of any kind, except through an attached computer of course. The only connection available is USB 2.0.
  • Automatic double-sided printing. It does have manual double-sided printing, sort of, see below.
  • Selectable input trays.
  • High duty cycle - 1500 pages per month is the recommended max, 5000 absolute max.
  • Any printed documentation whatsoever.
Things that are lame:
  • Printed Documentation: none. HP has apparently given up on solving the multiple-language problem and just doesn't include any printed material except how to unpack it and how to find your local HP office anywhere in the world. There is a CD-ROM with no instructions on it which, if you play it, gives information on installation. It's a bit obtuse but we got there.
  • Manual Double-Side Print: It prints the first side of all pages, then instructs you to re-insert the stack and push the GO button. But on the P1005 there is no GO button or any software button to click - maybe you need a P1006 or P1500 to get that. The workaround is to briefly lift the lid to the printer cartridge and set it back down, after which the backs of the pages will print. But HP doesn't offer that solution - you have to get there by trial and error. They may offer a downloadable fix for the software, but I've checked and not found it.
Despite those minor issues it's a mighty good printer for the price of $50. Probably for the regular price too. It's very suitable for home use or for a small office, but for color you'd need an inkjet as well.

Made in Vietnam.