HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw Color MFP: Cheap to Buy, Expensive to Own
At a Glance
HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw Color MFP
High toner costs and slow performance make this low-priced model a dubious bargain, even with wireless and Web capabilities.
The HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw MFP seems to offer a lot for its low $450 (as of March 1, 2011) price: full color laser multifunction capabilities (print/copy/fax/scan), wireless networking, Web apps, and HP's ePrint print-by-e-mail service. Small offices and businesses considering this printer, however, should also note what it lacks: speed and economy. It's one of the slowest models we've tested recently, and its toner is very pricey. In addition, it offers no automatic duplexing, which makes saving on paper costs harder. The Dell 1355cnw has fewer bells and whistles by comparison, but it's noticeably faster.
In our tests, the LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw was disappointingly slow. It has a habit of calibrating or initializing for minutes on end when all you want it to do is print. On plain black text, the easiest kind of printing, it worked at a sluggish rate of 7.4 pages per minute on the PC and 7.3 ppm on the Mac. Snapshot-size photos printed on letter-size paper averaged a subpar 1.7 ppm on the PC platform, while a full-page, high-resolution photo printed on the Mac took almost 80 seconds (0.8 ppm) to print. Scans and copies were similarly poky.
The quality of the output offers some consolation. Text looks clean and precise. HP touts its ImageREt 3600 technology for images, and it seems to work--to an extent. Viewed from normal distance, the photos looked rich, though a bit dark. Upon closer inspection, fine horizontal banding spoiled some of the effect, and some of the contours in faces were hard to discern. Scanning was a mixed bag: Plain monochrome copies looked good, but a color copy seemed overly bright and somewhat uneven. Color scans from the Mac appeared richer than those from the PC, but on both platforms monochrome scans showed jagged lines and loss of fine detail.
The construction of the CM1415fnw has a slightly flimsy feel, but as long as you keep the office trolls away from it, the unit should hold up. The mounting for the 150-sheet input tray seems insubstantial, but that's the only really worrisome physical detail we noticed. You get a 50-page automatic document feeder for the integrated flatbed A4-size scanner and a 125-sheet output tray. The lack of automatic duplexing (two-sided printing) is disappointing for an office-oriented machine. Wireless, ethernet, and USB connectivity are available. A plus is the 3.5-inch color LCD touchscreen control panel; the on-screen menu structure is intuitive and easy to navigate, though a bit overcrowded at times.
Toner costs are the other big liability of this model. The $67 cyan, yellow, and magenta toner cartridges last for only 1300 pages apiece (5.2 cents per color), and the $70 black cartridge lasts for just 2000 pages. Do the math, and you'll discover that you're paying 3.5 cents per page for black, and nearly 19 cents total for a page with four colors. Buying the cartridges in pairs could alleviate the pain somewhat.
It's hard to find perfection in this price range of color laser multifunctions. The HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw color MFP has some head-turning features, but the slow performance and expensive toner are tough to swallow.