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HP Business Inkjet 1200 review: HP Business Inkjet 1200

This printer comes with 32MB of nonupgradable RAM and a 240MHz Motorola processor, but neither these specs nor the ostensibly load-lightening separate ink tanks and printheads helped its camel-slow photo-print speeds.

We found the HP Business Inkjet 1200d to be bipolar in terms of performance. On the one hand, it performed very well in CNET Labs' text-speed tests, averaging 6.5 pages per minute (ppm), much faster than most inkjet printers. On the other hand, its photo-printing speed was dismal, so we can't recommend it for any office needing photo prints. This machine somehow managed to spend up to 7.5 minutes finishing an 8x10-inch high-resolution photo. By contrast, the Epson Stylus Photo R320, not considered a fast worker, takes only 3.9 minutes to get the same job done. Other than inconsistent print speed, the HP worked solidly throughout our testing process. It was tested at the default settings, which can be adjusted to improve the output and the print speed.

CNET Labs' inkjet speed
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Photo speed  
Text speed  
Canon Pixma iP4000
HP Business Inkjet 1200d
Epson Stylus Photo R320

Click here to learn more about how CNET Labs tests printers.

Performance analysis written by CNET Labs project leader Dong Van Ngo.

Hewlett-Packard offers extremely comprehensive support options--especially for businesses. The HP Business Inkjet 1200d comes with a one-year warranty and 24/7 toll-free technical support. Live chat with tech support is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET. HP even links business users with options to trade in old equipment for new products. It also provides resources for donating and recycling used equipment. Via HP's Web site, you can access user forums, FAQs, drivers, manuals, databases, and forms for e-mailing tech support. But you may never even have to go online, because the printer software offers a wealth of support help built in.

Upon installation, the HP Business Inkjet 1200 Series Toolbox appears on your system and shows you the ink levels for each color. From this window, you can click a button labeled Order Supplies; the printer will gather its model number and usage patterns and send the data to HP's SureSupply Web site so that you get the right replacements. These features should make printer maintenance easy for a business. When we tested this SureSupply system, it quickly read our printer's vital stats. But if this anonymous process makes you paranoid and you don't want your printer's data sent over the Internet, you can buy your inks elsewhere.

Other features in the Toolbox include MyPrintMileage, which sent our printer-usage data to HP's Web site and generated the machine's serial number, the number of pages it had printed on each type and size of paper, and how much ink we'd sapped from each cartridge. Using this information, the site's Analysis Corner generated a graph that showed how long our inks would last--between a whopping 500 and 600 months for us. A pie chart also broke down which media types or sizes we used most. The Toolbox links you with HP Instant Support, which asks for your printer's IP address to diagnose the device's problems, provide graphical troubleshooting information, and bring up HP support phone numbers and warranty details.

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