You'll also notice a multicolored circular button with a rotating arrow around the perimeter--this controls the rotation of the toner cartridges within the machine. The LaserJet Pro 100 is one of the first color lasers from HP to incorporate a new design that saves space by seating cartridges in a rotating carousel within the tray. To change the cartridges, you close the lid and press the button to unseat the primary cartridge and rotate to the next one. The printer ships with the cartridges already installed, but the printed instructions inside the bay make it easy for anyone to replace them.
A 150-sheet paper input tray folds out of the bottom of the printer and stays in place with a separate plastic tray that connects sloppily to the bottom of the printer, and a 35-sheet autodocument feeder (ADF) takes care of hands-free scanning of documents stacked on top. Larger offices that would feel confined by the 150-sheet maximum storage capacity should check out the HP LaserJet Pro 1606dn, which can store up to 250 sheets at a time.
Unfortunately, the toner itself will set you back about 4.2 cents per page of plain black text, and each precious color print will cost you 21 cents--much higher than the average. The high cost of consumables speaks to the limits of color lasers for consumer photographers, and I recommend you check out our inkjet printer reviews if you're shopping for a photo output device.
The LaserJet Pro 100's new cartridge carrier makes this one of the smallest laser printers I've tested, but it also slows down the printing process as each color page pauses to wait for the four print drums. Of course, the drop in speed compared with the competition depends on your volume of prints and the length of each job, but CNET's benchmark results show the LaserJet trailing three other competitive printers in all three tests.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
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The LaserJet Pro 100's text and graphics quality are both acceptable using the defined shortcuts HP offers in the preferences pane. The standard default, called General Everyday Printing, outputs crisp text down to 2-point font, but environmentally conscious users will likely prefer the "eco-print" selection that pauses for you to manually flip the sheet of paper--certainly not ideal for quick jobs, but energy-saving. There are also defined options for alternative media formats like envelopes, heavy cardstock, and glossy presentations, although you'll need to feed these into the sole paper tray, since HP included no bypass tray.
The overall print quality performs to the industry standard for color lasers: black text comes out clean and nicely darkened, while the grayscale prints are good, but suffer from the minor cross-hatching common to budget laser printers. Photos on graphics pages are adequate as well, but some of the colors in our sample monochrome scans appear overly dark and nearing the dark end of the grayscale compression. Still, the output quality is certainly on a professional level worthy of general office tasks.
Service and support
HP backs the LaserJet Pro 100 with a standard one-year warranty, which includes 24-7 toll-free phone support and live Webchat during weekdays. HP's Web site also contains downloadable drivers, software, and manuals; e-mail tech support; FAQs; and a troubleshooting guide. You can return the product within 21 days of delivery.
The HP LaserJet Pro 100 boasts a smart feature set and a compact design that meets the needs of home users on a budget. You get print, scan, and copy functionality in one device, along with wired and wireless networking, an ADF, HP ePrint, and a dead-simple setup procedure. As long as you don't mind waiting a little longer for your prints to come out, the LaserJet Pro 100 is an excellent value for the cost.
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