This review is of the multi-function HP Laserjet Pro CM1415 FNW, a wireless colour laser printer which also has fax, copying and scanning facilities. There is also a version available which doesn't have the wireless functions, which is the CM1415 FN, and this costs around 20-30 pounds less.
The first impression that I had of the printer is that it's heavy, over 20kgs, and seems fairly well built, and is mainly in black, with a white panel at the front. The paper tray, which is at the bottom of the printer, seemed to me to be a little fragile, but otherwise it seems like quite a robust unit. You'll need to take the toner cartridges out, as there is a piece of plastic on each one to prevent damage or peaking during transit.
Included in the box are three DVDs, one is to install the printer drivers onto a PC, one for installing onto a Mac, and one contains OCR software. The DVD loaded automatically, and the drivers quickly loaded and found the printer, all a very smooth process.
Also included is the USB cable from the printer to the computer, a UK power cable, a continental power cable and some comprehensive instructions.
PRINT QUALITY AND SPEED:
I was pleased with the quality of the print, the colours seem very clean and crisp, and printing in either colour or black and white only takes a few seconds. One frustration that I have is with the preferences, although there are a series of different saved preferences, such as whether to use black and white printing by default, I have to reset this each time I print. Possibly that's a failing of mine to understand how to change it, but I couldn't work it out from the instructions.
HP say that the printer will print up to 12 pages a minute in black and white and 8 in colour, and I found that was a good estimate of how long it took. It also has the option to print on both sides if you stack the paper back in when the printer requires, which although a manual process, is quite simple.
The printer is wireless, and the set-up procedure for this is quite simple. All you need to do is to type in the network key password, the printer will find the network automatically, and then do a one-off connection to the computer via the USB cable for it to complete the set-up. It's all automated, and very simple.
However, this is where the ease of use stopped for me. After an update of the software, which was done automatically on-line, the wireless stopped functioning a couple of days later. The computer thought the printer was off-line, which it wasn't, and printing was only possible by reconnecting the USB cable.
I noticed on some on-line forums that this was a problem, and HP issued another update to correct the fault. I re-installed the printer, but the same happened two days later, the printer was off-line. It's frustrating to then have to reconnect the printer, as this automatically installs another copy of the printer driver.
I contacted HP, who admitted this was a common fault. They sent me a link to diagnosis software, which told me that the printer was working fine, and wasn't off-line. To cut a long story short, HP can't fix it, it seems a common fault judging by some community forums, and their own site. I've just repositioned the printer and am using the USB cable, but if you were buying needing wireless access, this would be a substantial problem.
PRINTING FROM OTHER DEVICES:
The printer does have a very useful feature - or maybe it's more of a clever feature than useful for me, as I can't see at the moment what I would use it for, where you can e-mail a document to HP and it automatically prints via your printer. This allows you to print from an iPhone, or other device, and it requires a relatively simple on-line registration process. You can set up to allow it for anyone to print, or just certain people.
SCANNER AND COPYING:
The scanning function is quick and easy, and saves to a USB drive, for which there is a USB slot in the front of the unit. It's quick, although didn't have quite the number of resolution options that I had hoped, and you can save pictures either as PDF files or as JPG files. The copying function is as quick as the printing function, and you can print a copy straight from the scanning.
There is a helpful panel on the front of the printer, which is a little fiddly at times when scrolling through the menus, but did contain all the set-up options that I wanted in a logical structure.
PRICE OF PRINTER AND CONSUMABLES:
HP's retail price for this printer appears to be 449 pounds, although their pricing materials do vary. However, at the moment the printer can be obtained for 320 pounds including postage on Amazon, but mine came from Misco, who are currently charging 243 pounds including VAT.
Consumables for the printer are quite expensive, as there are four different toner cartridges which need to be kept full for optimal printing, the cyan, magneta, yellow and black. The black toner cartridge is the cheapest, around 35 pounds, but the three colour toner cartridges cost around 150 pounds for the three, which can be quite pricey if you print in colour regularly.
The advantage however though is that if you print mostly in black and white, as I do, then this printer costs no more to run than a black and white laser printer, but does give the option for colour printing on occasion. This justified the cost of the printer to me, as that occasional option can be very handy.
These specs have been taken from HP's information leaflet about the printer. The printer itself measures 44cms by 47cms by 41 cms. The CM1415FNW has a maximum monthly recommended duty cycle of 30,000 pages, but it suggests printing no more than 300 - 1,500 pages a month for optimal performance, although this seems like quite a wide recommendation. My impressions are that the printer is robust enough to handle this however.
Scanning is at 1200dpi, weighs 23kg and has a 3.5 inch display.
Overall, this printer seems quite long-lasting, and the print quality is good and the printer relatively fast. Ideal for low commercial usage or high home usage, really limited only by the paper tray, which can only hold 150 sheets, although this should be sufficient for most purposes.
The wireless problems have been quite frustrating, especially as the HP staff have been unable to help. Despite their attempts to help, losing wireless connection seems to be quite common, and if you have set it up so that a number of computers share the printer, connecting via USB might be quite an obstacle.
It's not the cheapest printer to buy, or run, but it's a reasonable price for the functions which the printer has. I'd say it's a credible option, but overall given the limitations I've found, I'd suggest 3/5 stars. Be careful to shop around, as prices do vary widely, I found Misco the cheapest. Given it costs the same to run as a black and white laser, it's recommended if you nearly entirely print in black and white, but find occasional colour printing helpful.