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 HP LaserJet 1012.
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 HP LaserJet 1320. 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.
The HP LaserJet 1022's speed falls in the middle of the pack for a basic laser printer. It creates text at 15.91ppm (pages per minute), some 3ppm faster than the popular Samsung ML-1740. Still, the HP 1022 lagged behind the cheaper Oki B4250 in both text and graphics.