HP LaserJet 3030
At a Glance
HP Laserjet 3030 All-In-One Printer (14 PPM, 1200x1200 DPI, B&W, 32MB, PC/Mac)
Subpar speed and image quality make this small laser multifunction printer tough to recommend.
The HP LaserJet 3030 is a sleek-looking monochrome laser MFP with the signature HP black-and-gray color scheme. It's fairly lightweight (26.4 pounds, making it the lightest model here), and compact enough to fit neatly onto a desk. The well-designed front panel sets aside discrete sections for faxing, scanning, and copying, as well as for controlling the LCD menu. Unfortunately the unit's performance leaves much to be desired.
The LaserJet 3030 printed text at a fairly slow 11.4 pages per minute and grayscale graphics at 3.4 ppm--just over half the average speed of the average monochrome MFP in the group we reviewed for our July 2005 issue. Even more disappointing was its print quality. Our test black-and-white photo was pixelated and had distinct moire patterns throughout; parts of the image showed excessive contrast, giving it a choppy texture. Text looked better, with dark and clean lettering.
Scanning with the LaserJet 3030--using either its software or front panel--is simple. You can save your scanned image to a file, send it via e-mail, or open it in an application. Unlike many other HP printers and MFPs, the LaserJet 3030 come without HP's Image Zone image organizer and editor. Since this is a monochrome laser printer, we understand why HP would leave off color image-editing software; but it makes color scans, so those extra features would have been useful. Instead, HP provides a viewer as part of the scan driver, enabling you to make rudimentary changes to a prescanned image before saving it.
Though scanning images is easy, you may not want to use this function: The LaserJet 3030 was the slowest scanner among the monochrome laser MFPs we tested, taking 56.2 seconds--25 seconds longer than average--to scan our color document. And our judges reported that the scanned image, both on-screen and printed, looked reddish and fuzzy, as though a light film overlay it. A print of a page of scanned text looked better, exhibiting dark, sharp letters.
Pedestrian scanning abilities aside, the LaserJet 3030 is a serviceable copier. The unit permits one-touch black-and-white copying on the front panel, where you can make copies lighter or darker, reduce or enlarge them, specify the number of copies, and change the output quality by choosing text, draft, photo, or best photo. Copies were dark and sharp enough, and a page of copied text emerged in 5 seconds--about average for the monochrome MFPs we reviewed.
The unit includes HP Toolbox, a Web-based configuration and navigational tool. The Web pages highlight each function of the MFP and allow you to configure such things as the fax number, fax call report, and automatic log printing. You can also use Toolbox to configure the IP address or DNS address and to set up general copy and print settings. Ethernet networking is a $299 option.(HP offers 802.11b/g wireless networking for $199 and Bluetooth networking for $159, as separate options.)
You can choose from various external print servers--including wireless print servers--but the LaserJet 3030's limited paper-handling capacity makes it most suitable for small workgroups. Its 150-sheet main paper tray is relatively small, and the unit has no paper tray expansion options.
You can find faster, better-quality monochrome laser MFPs than the LaserJet 3030 for your home office.