HP LaserJet 2430tn
The two-tone gray body of the $999 HP LaserJet 2430tn strikes an efficient, businesslike look that will fit easily into any corporate workgroup. Out of the box, the LaserJet 2430 provides all of the paper tray options. The upper paper drawer holds up to 250 sheets, and a big 500-sheet bin sits below; both drawers accept paper in sizes up to legal (8.5 by 13 inches). After folding out the auxiliary tray at the front of the printer, you can feed as many as 100 more sheets. You can load up to 10 envelopes at a time in the auxiliary tray (you can't feed them from the paper drawers). A rear exit tray drops down to help envelopes and other thick media emerge without curling. The regular bin on top of the printer can hold a pile of output up to 250 sheets thick. No duplexer is available as an option, but you can buy the similar LaserJet 2430dtn with a built-in duplexer for just $100 more.
HP rates the toner cartridge accompanying the printer at 6000 pages (using the industry's 5 percent page-coverage standard). If you replace this starter cartridge with HP's 12,000-page cartridge, you'll pay a reasonable cost of 1.72 cents per page.
In our performance tests, the LaserJet 2430tn printed text at 23.9 pages per minute--faster than almost any laser we've seen in our recent tests. On the other hand, it printed graphics at a paltry 6.0 ppm. Text output was unimpressive: Individual characters looked sharp, but our panel of judges noticed smears and smudges, dirty roller marks, and a baked-on charcoal look to solid type. Line art printed too dark, causing narrow lines to blur together, and larger dark areas faded at the center. Our grayscale image looked relatively good, but it had a grainy appearance and light narrow banding across the entire width.
The control panel has a two-line, backlit LCD for menu navigation. Installing the printer on our the network in the PC World Test Center was easy, thanks it part to the included setup poster and network guide. An embedded Web server lets you administer the LaserJet 2430tn from a desktop browser anywhere in the office. The LaserJet 2430tn also provides PostScript emulation and supports printing from Macs.
: The HP LaserJet 2430tn has the paper-handling capabilities to support a medium-size workgroup. Printing is lightning-fast, though the quality could be better.