The Hewlett-Packard Color LaserJet CP2025n is a pricey color laser printer built with the small business owner or work group in mind. At $450, the CP2025n can connect to multiple computers of a wired network, and the printer produces high-quality prints, but it's not without minor faults: the output speed for text and presentation documents is slower than the competition and it's missing an auto-duplexer for double-sided printing. At the same time, HP redeems itself with a toolbox full of helpful settings, instructions, and features that brighten the user experience, not to mention the CP2025n's optimal quality prints. Although it's not perfect, the positives do outweigh the negatives and we recommend the HP CP2025n for offices that need a dependable color laser printer.
Design and features
We're far past hoping for a well designed, attractive laser printer--the CP2025n follows the standard formula: gray hues make up the majority of color (or lack thereof) on the device, and the unit is 12.7 inches tall by 15.9 inches wide by 25.9 inches deep with all the drawers tucked in. At a hefty 50 pounds, the printer requires two sets of arms to move and will definitely take up desk space. Shoppers willing to sacrifice output quality for office space should check out our review of the Samsung CLP-315W.
The front control panel houses a small two-line blacklit LCD for alerts and toner level graphics, a left and right directional pad, a cancel button, and two LEDs to alerts users of low toner and print errors. The LCD itself sits fixed in its position, although we prefer the display on the Brother HL-4040cn that's mounted on a swiveling plate to allow for easier viewing from different angles.
The main paper output tray sits at the bottom of the printer and can hold up to 250 sheets of plain 20-pound paper. There's also a separate 50-sheet manual input tray with adjustable paper guides for longer media, and HP sells an additional 250 sheet tray on its Web site for $50. Conveniently, the printer can detect a wide variety of paper types (envelopes, cardstock, labels, and transparencies) and sizes and will automatically pull from the correct tray to get the job done. Alternatively, the comprehensive driver software lets the user manually control the feeds. HP's ToolboxFX software also shows the status of the device in real time, current toner levels in an estimated percentage remaining, approximate pages remaining, usage trends, and the option to receive e-mail alerts when the printer malfunctions (mainly for IT professionals). Finally, the CP2025n is compatible with a wide variety of operating systems, including Mac, Windows, and Linux 6 or higher. We were also impressed that HP created an exclusive start-up video on the installation CD to facilitate installation and illustrate how to optimize print quality, driver settings, and the like. Few printer manufacturers take the time to establish step-by-step instructions for the consumer, so you'll appreciate the help along the way.
All of the ports necessary to connect the printer to a computer are on the back of the device, including the power plug, a USB port, and an Ethernet jack for wired networking among several computers, and we found it refreshingly simple to establish a connection to our router. As a result, we were able to access the printer from several PCs with no hiccups. We're remiss to see that HP doesn't include a front-loading PictBridge-compatible USB port for direct printing from digital cameras or USB thumbdrives. The printer also can't do automatic double-sided printing since it doesn't have a mechanical duplexer, but the software shows you how to manually achieve the same goal. The top of the front door folds down and rolls out, revealing the four toner cartridges (one black, three color) lined up in a horizontal row that use a single push-to-release tab for installation. We actually prefer this to the bucket style loading on the OKI C3600n, which forces the user to fuss with awkward buttons and springs to replace the cartridges. The HP CP2025n uses a simpler method, using a single push-to-release tab.
HP provides a full set of laser print cartridges in the box, and according to the Web site, a black cartridge with a 3,500-page life span costs $123, while the color version is $121 for 2,800 pages. Strangely, there's no mention of high-capacity cartridges available, so the cost-per-page equation factors out to 3.5 cents per black page and 4.3 cents for a full-color page--about average for today's standard black prints and rather inexpensive for color prints. Finally, the CP2025n's monthly duty cycle (maximum number of pages per month) is reported at 40,000 pages, which will appeal more to small offices and work groups as opposed to the home entrepreneur.
We compared the HP CP2025n's output speed with four other color lasers and the results vary depending on the type of document printed. For example, the HP is quick to print color text and color graphics at 8.31 and 13.56 pages per minute respectively, but its speed started to wane in the black page tests; it finished behind every other printer aside from the Samsung CLP-315W in the black text and presentation tests. Applied to real life, businesses printing a large portion of color documents will be satisfied with the print speed of the CP2025n, but the Brother HL-4040CN offers much faster all-around output.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Color Graphics||Presentation||Color text speed||Black Text|
The CP2025n makes a more consistent argument for compelling output quality rather than speed. Both black graphics and color spectrums appear to be solid and well formed with crisp lineation and clean edges. As expected, the black toner produces slightly more visually appealing text in smaller fonts than the color toner, but this printer remains true to the quality we expect from a professional laser. We're particularly impressed with the graphical representations in our test subjects, which came out smooth and sharp, much better in comparison to the last color laser on the bench, the OKI C3600n.
Service and support
In conjunction with all the services built into the driver software, HP also offers an online version of its Easy Printer Care Software that alleviates stress from IT professionals responsible for taking of up to 20 HP printers in one office. The bundle lets you manage multiple printers from one aggregated tool, with provisions for monitoring and reordering toner cartridges, overseeing print jobs and private passwords, analyzing user information, and offering instructions on how to preemptively troubleshoot foreseeable mechanical failures. In addition to HP's comprehensive 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.
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