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HP LaserJet 4200 review: HP LaserJet 4200

The LaserJet 4200n comes with basic features and room to add on. For example, the 48MB of standard RAM should be able to juggle a small-office print queue, but if you need more memory, you can expand it to 416MB.

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The 4200n comes with a 100-sheet multipurpose input tray.

The LaserJet 4200's basic-but-expandable paper handling starts with a 500-sheet main input tray that sits underneath the printer and conveniently slides out from the front. The main output tray sits atop the printer and can take up to 250 sheets. A 100-sheet multipurpose input tray folds out from the front and handles envelopes, index cards, and other thick media, as well as regular paper. It sends its prints to a 50-sheet output tray that unfolds from the back of the printer. The 4200n's capacity and convenience is roughly comparable to the Xerox Phaser 4400N's. It can also take all of the paper-handling options that are available for the product line, including a 1,500-sheet input tray ($499), a 75-piece envelope feeder ($249), and a duplex unit ($275).

We don't expect any printer to hit its vendor-specified engine speed in real-world tests, but the LaserJet 4200n got closer to its 35 pages per minute (ppm) rating than most--except in one case. It easily surpasses all of the competition in CNET Lab's text-printing test, with a speedy time of 24.2ppm--almost twice as fast as the Brother HL-5040's 13.9ppm. Unfortunately, the mixed text/graphics test presented quite another picture: the LaserJet 4200n crawled to the finish line at 7.7ppm compared to 12.5ppm for both the Xerox and the Brother models. Offices that print a lot of presentations or brochures may want to steer clear.

The LaserJet 4200n's output quality is very good across the board. Printed text is extremely crisp in a variety of fonts, sizes, and shadings. Graphics exhibit well-defined edges.

Laser printer speed (personal and workgroup)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Text  
Text/graphics  
HP LaserJet 4200n
24.2 
7.7 
Xerox Phaser 4400N
19 
12.5 
Brother HL-5040
13.9 
12.5 
Dell P1500 personal laser printer
12.9 
8.0 
Laser printer quality
•Poor   ••Fair   •••Good   ••••Excellent
 Printer  Text  Graphics
 Brother HL-5040 ••• ••
 Dell P1500 personal laser printer ••• ••
 HP LaserJet 4200n ••• •••
 Xerox Phaser 4400N ••• •••

The LaserJet 4200n's documentation can be challenging. It's multilingual--English, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish--but instead of dividing the manual into discrete sections for each language, HP printed each language on the same page. The font is legible, albeit small, and the diagrams that accompany the instructions are very useful, but sifting through each page for your language is tiring. Also, the written content occasionally lacks detail. For example, the fact that the printer takes a 36-pin parallel connector instead of the newer 25-pin is buried in a parenthetical comment.

Technical support is available via a toll-free phone number Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. Throughout our repeated calls, the service was fast, exceedingly courteous, and thorough. You can also e-mail tech support or chat with a technician online. HP's extensive online resources include an IT-oriented knowledge base, a subscription service so that you can stay updated on technical issues and updated drivers, and an extensive forums system for IT professionals. All of these options require free registration.

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