capsule review

HP LaserJet P1505 Monochrome Laser Printer

At a Glance
  • HP LaserJet P1505

    PCWorld Rating

HP targets the entry-level laser market with the impressively speedy, if otherwise unremarkable, LaserJet P1505 monochrome printer. For reasons explained below, I disliked the design, and the print quality varies from slightly disappointing to profoundly so. But given the low price ($199 when reviewed), it's a tempting buy.

If nothing else, the LaserJet P1505 is fast: In our tests it averaged 26.1 pages per minute printing text, and 9.9 ppm printing photos--output speeds that are among the highest we've seen to date. On the other hand, the text samples had a heavy, slightly imprecise look. And while photos are not the forte of any monochrome laser, the LaserJet P1505's looked even worse than we expected: grainy, blotchy, and unnatural.

In contrast with its speed, the physical design of the printer is spare--and sometimes irritating. A front panel folds out to become the 250-sheet, letter/legal-size input tray. The paper guides are small, unmarked, and can be hard to move--especially the width guides, which are located deep within the recesses of the input path. You position a footed plastic panel over the input tray to form a combination cover and manual-input area--with similarly deep-seated width guides. The output tray has a flimsy fold-out extension. The control panel consists of an inscrutable array of lights labeled with icons; you have to consult the on-screen documentation to figure out what most of the light sequences mean.

The toner cartridge presents both design and cost issues. A small fingerhold helps you raise the top cover to access the cartridge; this feature is not labeled, nor do the manual's illustrations show explicitly how to replace the cartridge (although it does show up in a parts diagram). After you finish the 1000-page starter cartridge, a 2000-page replacement unit costs $68--or a pricey 3 cents per page.

I looked in vain for the usual printed setup instructions, but, it turns out, they're on the included CD instead. This may save paper, but there isn't even a note saying you need to run the CD to get this information--how helpful is that? Better aspects to the setup process, however, included comprehensive videos of unpacking and installation. The rest of the documentation--all electronic--is pretty detailed and thorough, too.

The LaserJet P1505 doesn't look like much, especially compared with the Samsung ML-1630--which is also $199--but it's a lot faster. I think HP cut a few too many corners in designing it, but those seeking a no-nonsense workhorse may be willing to put up with some of its shortcomings.

--Melissa Riofrio

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Cheaply priced but also cheaply designed, this printer’s saving grace is its speed.

    Pros

    • Inexpensive
    • Fast, especially printing graphics

    Cons

    • Skimpy design; pricey toner
    • Awful graphics quality
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