"Don't believe the negative reviews you are reading, it is a great printer!"4.0 starson by mschiff1000
Pros: Great quality, easy to use, lots of functionality for one machine!
Cons: A little noisy (but not as bad as people are saying); It is not smart enought to know which paper tray to use when you receive a legal size fax
Summary: I was very hesitant to buy this printer after reading all of the negative reviews, but then I looked at the reviews on other printers I own and love (like the HP Laserjet 3330 All-in-one and the HP Color Laserjet 4900dn) and people bashed those printers as well. It then occurred to me that most people only take the time to write a review when they want to moan and complain but few take the time to write about a product they are happy with. The old saying, “you cannot please everyone” certainly proves to be true once again. Is the printer perfect? - No. If I could change a few things on it, would I? – Yes. That does not change the fact that I highly recommend this printer since it is by far the best in its class of All-in-One color laser printers. Read the reviews on the competing products and you will find just as many complaints about how loud they are, etc.
Since the topic that is getting the most attention on this printer is how noisy it is, I will start with that one: All Color laser printers are noisier than B&W laser printers. If you are going to buy this printer for a small apartment and will be putting this printer in your bedroom, this is not the printer for you (I read one guy’s review that said the printer woke him up in the middle of the night when it did its calibrating). Also, if having a color laser is not that important to you, the HP all-in-one 3380 might be a better choice for you since it is less expensive (to purchase and to operate) and it is quieter. If you are buying this printer for a home office or a small office like me, the noise will not bother you – especially since it is nowhere near as loud as people are making it out to be. Also, many of the reviews said that they were frustrated with the fact that there is no way to change how often the printer does this so called “noisy calibration”. They are wrong. In the Toolbox under Device Settings, you can tell it to only perform the calibration every 24 hours (which is its default setting), 48, 72, etc. or you can set it to only calibrate when you turn on the printer so it does not do it in the middle of the night. This way when the print does not look perfect and crisp, you can reboot it or perform a manual calibration.
One of the reasons that I bought this printer over the 3380 (besides the fact that I wanted color) is because it said it had two media trays – one tray for Legal size paper and the other for Letter size paper. I was a little disappointed with two things here: First of all, tray #2 is not a drawer like tray #1 is, it’s more like a flip open multi-purpose tray. HP calls it a “tray” because this second tray can hold up to 125 sheets of paper, and you can tell it what type of paper is in tray #2 so that when you are printing from a program like Word, the printer is smart enough to pull from the appropriate tray when you are printing on legal size paper or Letter size paper if you have each type of media loaded in each of the two trays. The problem is (which brings me to my second complaint about the media trays) is that the printer is not smart enough to know which tray to use when you receive a legal size fax. Therefore, you need to choose between having it always shrink legal size faxes onto letter size paper, or print all your faxes on legal size paper regardless of what size page someone is faxing you. This is a big problem for me since almost 70% of the faxes I receive are legal size, but this may be less of an issue for you. Also (since I am on the subject of legal size), the glass on the flatbed scanner/copier is letter size, so the only way you can copy or scan a legal size page is to feed it through the ADF on top. For most people this is not a big issue.
When you install the software and drivers, it automatically installs two PCL 6 drivers – one for color and one for black and white. This is a really good thing and I strongly recommend setting the B&W one as your default printer and only selecting the Color print driver when you really want color. Here’s why: Besides the fact that each one of the four colored toner cartridges are $100 a piece, you will use up the Image Drum in the printer four times faster when printing in color. The Image Drum in the printer automatically stops working after 20,000 passes regardless of how much life it really has left on it (you will understand why I am calling them “passes” rather than pages in just a second). Even if all you are printing is one little yellow dot on the page, the printer will count that one page as four pages because the image drum needs to take four passes over the page regardless of whether you are printing one color or four colors on the page. The image drums are $175 and need to be replaced after you have printed either 5,000 color pages or 20,000 B&W pages (hence the math of 5,000 color pages each using four passes of the drum which equals the same as printing 20,000 B&W pages which only takes one pass of the image drum).
The output is great, especially when you use good paper when printing color photos (you need to remember to set the paper type as glossy when using glossy paper for best results).
Faxing, scanning and making copies is a breeze. I like the fact that it has two buttons for copy – “Copy in B&W” and “Copy in Color”.
I really don’t understand why some people said that installing the software took forever and was difficult. I found it to be very easy and fast and I was hooking it up through a network which is normally a little harder of a configuration. I use Windows XP and cannot comment on all the Mac users that are complaining.
All of the software is very user friendly. It would be nice if one day HP made their software have the ability to print the received faxes when they come in AND store them on your computer so you have an electronic copy of the received fax. Their current software makes you choose between “print faxes when received” OR “Store received faxes on Computer”. The software does allow you to print the last fax you received even if you don’t have it storing received faxes to your computer, but it sure would be nice to be able to print any fax in the log. I complained to HP about this years ago when I bought my All-in-one 3330. I would have thought by now they would have changed this, but unfortunately they haven’t.
Bottom line – I love the printer and highly recommend it despite the minor negatives that I wrote about above.