HP LaserJet 1022
The good-looking HP LaserJet 1022 offers quality prints and a small size to please space-strapped solo users and students. While this machine's sturdy good looks add a professional air to your work environment, its noisy operation may give you headaches, and the LaserJet 1022's pricier-than-average toner refills may give bargain seekers pause. If you need a basic but quality printer for reports and graphs, the plucky LaserJet 1022 is up to the challenge, although its paper-handling and printing options are too limited for power users. You can pay extra for versions of this printer with either embedded Ethernet or wireless networking capabilities, but while this machine can handle light workgroup printing, you'll need a beefier model to juggle a heavy work flow or lots of graphics prints. We find the a better value, even for an extra $100; its built-in double-sided printing alone makes the expense worthwhile.
The sleek, gray-and-black HP LaserJet 1022 looks smart with its input tray, dustcover, and simple two-button control panel. At 14.6 by 14.3 by 9.5 inches (WDH) and weighing a bit more than 12 pounds, this is also one of the smaller and lighter laser printers around. Use the CD to painlessly install driver software and a helpful user guide onto your Mac (OS 10.2 and later) or PC (Windows 98 SE, Me, 2000, and XP 32-bit). Plug in your own USB cable, and you're good to go.
The HP LaserJet 1022 is host based; meaning that it borrows your computer's processing power to crank out jobs. Thus, it comes with a nonupgradable 8MB of RAM--adequate for handling text jobs but skimpy for graphics-intensive printing. Still, you can download a PCL5e driver from HP's Web site to support a larger font library. And with its speedy 266MHz processor, we recommend this model over the less muscular.
This machine remains a no-frills single-user laser printer. You can customize watermarks and adjust the print quality for your paper type, but unlike some of its peers, the 1022 lacks a straight printing path to keep delicate media such as transparencies from bending or jamming. To print on two sides of a page, you'll have to flip the sheets over by hand--unlike with the built-in duplexer of the pricier. We reviewed the nonnetworkable unit, but you can spring for the pricier Ethernet-ready 1022n or the Wi-Fi-enabled 1022nw.
The 1022 suffers from a few operating glitches, such as overall noisiness--notably loud, grinding sounds when it runs out of paper. And toner runs a costly 3.5 cents a page with the $69.99 toner unit, according to HP's estimates. The EconoMode setting conserves toner, but you might prefer a comparable printer with cheaper consumables, such as the Okidata Oki B4250.