HP LaserJet P2055x Monochrome Laser Printer
At a Glance
Hewlett-Packard LaserJet P2055x Laser Printer
Pairing high-volume capabilities with high toner costs is the kicker in this otherwise nice unit.
The LaserJet P2055x monochrome laser printer is designed for speed and volume rather than finesse. Given its fairly low price ($499 as of May 25, 2009), it's an enticing choice for a small office or workgroup that pumps out a lot of pages. Unfortunately, its toner is pricier than average.
The LaserJet P2055x is both roomy and fast. It has three input trays: The two letter/legal trays accept 250 sheets and 500 sheets, respectively, and a foldout multipurpose tray can accommodate 50 sheets. The unit also has an automatic duplexer. In our tests, plain-text pages exited at a rate of 33.4 pages per minute--very close to HP's rated engine speed of 35 ppm, and faster than average for the monochrome laser printers we've tested. It was also faster than most at printing graphics (about 8 ppm), but output quality was subpar: muddy, rough-textured, and lacking the fine detail and depth of field needed to make images pop. We also noticed horizontal banding, especially in solid areas. Stick to text (which looked fine) and pie charts with this printer.
The LaserJet P2055x is fairly well-designed and easy to operate, and installation was painless and fast: We were online via ethernet in 10 minutes. The operation panel has a two-line, monochrome LCD and control buttons that, for the most part, make sense. An exception is the button marked 'OK', which has two purposes: bringing up the menus, and allowing you to select options. Why not call it 'Menu' or 'Menu/Select'? The on/off switch is conveniently located on the front of the printer, which for some reason is not the norm.
It dismays us that after designing such a fast, high-volume printer, HP charges so much for the toner. The machine ships with a standard-size, 2300-page cartridge that costs $89 to replace; that works out to 3.9 cents per page, a full cent more than for any other printer in our sample. HP's 6500-page, high-yield replacement cartridge for the LaserJet P2055x costs $163, or 2.5 cents per page--higher than most standard-size cartridges we've priced, let alone high-yield cartridges. Over the long haul, you might be better off with a printer like the Ricoh Aficio SP 4210N, which costs more up front but has significantly lower consumables costs. Another potential drawback of HP printers in general is their relatively low approval ratings from readers in our most recent Relaibility and Service rankings.
The HP LaserJet P2055x earns high marks for its speed, features, and design. Though its graphics quality is poor, that's a low priority for a monochrome laser. But we can't believe how much HP charges for toner.