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The 1320nw laser printer from HP is aimed at the home to small business market. The two features that separate this machine from its competition are built-in wireless connectivity and the inclusion of a duplexer unit, allowing you to print on both sides of your paper.
Considering this has duplex capabilities HP has done very well to keep the size of the machine to a footprint of roughly 13 inches square and standing at just 10 inches tall, which includes the 250 page capacity paper tray. It has a simple and unimposing look about it, with a two-tone colour scheme of cream and graphite grey, its more aesthetically pleasing to the eye compared to HPs normal bland grey colour used on many of its models.
Keeping things simple HP has included 3 small indictor lights, blue representing a wireless connection is established, green depicts data being sent to the printer and orange for low toner or paper jam. There are 2 buttons for manually starting and cancelling print jobs and at the rear of the machine out of sight can be found the USB 2.0 and Ethernet ports, power inlet and a small button that when pressed will automatically print out the configuration settings of the printer itself.
There is a pull down panel at the front, which gives access to the integral toner cartridge and drum, replacing this is uncomplicated as its just a pull and push fit. Below this panel can be found another smaller panel which houses the single A4 sized sheet feeder for envelops, transparencies and alike. One draw back to this is the absence of a pull out tray so it really is a manual single sheet feed process. Below this can be found the main pull out 250 sheet paper tray (up to A4 in size).
--- Set-up ---
A rather hefty printed manual is provided and thankfully a quick guide pamphlet, it was the latter I referred to before setting the printer up.
You have 3 choices of installation, a wired Ethernet connection, a wireless 802.11b or g connection or a standard USB 2.0 connection, all are straight forward although if your chosen method is wireless there will be a few extra steps to follow compared to the other 2 options. One of my main reasons for purchasing this printer was its wireless option. Loading the installation cd took a couple of minutes and you will then be presented with a set-up wizard, I followed these steps and one reboot later the printer was hooked up to my wireless network, which meant any pc in the house could print to it. Fantastic I could now locate the printer in any room, as it did not need to be connected to a computer.
Both an Ethernet cable and USB cable were supplied with the printer for use with the other connection methods.
--- In Action ---
The HP driver is comprehensive though so are most these days, it is here you will find the option to select duplex printing. I much prefer to proof read my work when its printed on paper as opposed to reading off the screen and as such get through reams of paper, the ability to print duplex will halve my paper consumption, saving on cost whilst being a little friendlier on our environment. When printing the paper will be driven through an S shaped mechanism and if you have selected duplex printing you will see the paper partly eject on to the top surface of the printer before re feeding itself back in to print on the other side.
HP state a maximum printing speed of 21 pages per minute, this must be with a minimal amount of text on each page and the draft (low quality) option selected. On average I found it to be about 13 pages per minute and with duplex printing turned on about 10 pages per minute, this is still reasonably quick by comparison of other similar laser printers.
The quality of the text was very impressive and matched the larger HP 8500 monster printers we use at the office. The print quality of graphics was also very pleasing, although in day-to-day use this is for me, mainly graphs and the odd web page. The default dots per inch output is 600 and I found this acceptable but the printer can output at 1200 dots per inch for an even higher quality of print if required.
When the paper is ejected from the printer it sits nicely on top of the printer in a ridge, that should hold about 200 sheets of A4 before the paper would start to spill on to your work surface. There is minimal amount of curling of the paper but the paper can become quite hot on long print jobs.
The printer is equipped with 16mb of memory but can be increased to 144mb, although I have never found the need to do this. I can only think you would need to increase the memory if there was a requirement to print high resolution graphics but would you really want to print these in black and white?
There are two types of toner cartridges that fit the HP1320nw, one that is capable of producing 2500 pages and the other 6000 pages. The lower of the two is supplied from new.
--- Consumables and Accessories ---
The integral toner cartridge and drum do not come cheap, the 2500 page version (HP5949A) will set you back about £45.00 and the 6000 (HP5949X) about £75.00.
You can also add a second 250 page paper tray to the bottom of the unit and this will set you back about £70.00.
--- Conclusion ---
I paid £420 but now the cheapest Ive seen it for is £350.00. It has to be said there are a lot cheaper options on the market if you want a basic laser printer. If you want a robust, decently sized workhorse, with wireless network capabilities and duplex printing then you cant really go wrong with the HP 1320nw. HP do provide a one year warranty and I also took out HPs cover care pack for £99, which covers me for 3 years, next day replacement.
I have put this printer through its paces over the year or so Ive had it and not had one single problem. Its simplicity in operation and multiple connectivity options in my opinion surpass its competition.
I highly recommend this.
Thanks for reading.