The HP LaserJet Pro M15w is aimed squarely at the booming micro economy and the legions of workers whose home is also their office, because HP’s latest laserjet is not only the smallest in its class, but the cheapest too. It’s a very basic print-only monochrome machine with just one input tray that will only take A4 and a few smaller paper sizes. You won’t find fancy features like duplex printing here and if you require a flatbed scanner, then you should wait for the similarly styled HP LaserJet Pro MFP 28w.
What the M15w offers is a fast printing (19ppm), with the economy and consistency associated with laserjet technology, in a compact unit that takes up little more desk area than a sheet of A4. And while there are few features on board (there’s not even an LCD display) it is equipped with Wi-Fi and is supported by an excellent smartphone app, which makes installation easy and adds functionality such as scanning and printing from the cloud.
The enticing price of around £79 (US$99, AU$145) includes a toner cartridge, which alone costs £45 (US$50, AU$80), so your on-going print cost works out around 4.5p per page.
HP has designed the LaserJet Pro M15w for the micro office and who would begrudge such an unobtrusive printer on their desk at home? The two trays fold away neatly, so that the footprint is only a little larger than a sheet of A4, and it stands no taller than the average smartphone.
There’s no LCD display and only three buttons, which didn’t prove to be a disadvantage. It makes no noise at all in standby mode, so this printer won’t distract you while you’re working. Actual printing it is rather noisy, but it prints quickly, so it won’t annoy you for long.
You can stack 100 pages in the in-tray, but only 100 in the out-tray. Overload it and you’ll have an avalanche of paper on your desk because the output bin relies on a fairly flimsy extending plastic arm.
The toner cartridge is comparatively large and it slides easily into the heart of the machine. The companion app will inform you when it needs replacing and link you to a supplier. At the back, you’ll find a square port for a USB cable, which is included in the box.
To keep the size and cost of the HP LaserJet Pro M15w to a minimum, the feature-set is also somewhat minimised. There’s only room for one paper tray, for example, and that’s limited to 150 sheets of A4, or A5 paper, or ten DL, or C4 envelopes. Other sizes can’t be fed inside.
There’s no room for multiple ink cartridges, so the HP LaserJet Pro M15w is strictly monochrome only and regrettably, it can print on only one side of the page. If you want dual-side printing, you have to turn the paper over yourself and feed it back in.
Print speed is fast at 19ppm, but frustratingly, you can’t alter the speed, or quality of your printing. The print resolution is actually quite low at 600 x 600 dpi. There’s no scanner on this model, but the excellent companion app lets you utilise your smartphone camera to scan and print documents wirelessly. The free HP Smart app also lets you print from the cloud with support for Google Docs, Dropbox and Evernote and it makes it exceptionally easy to do so.
You can connect the HP LaserJet Pro M15w to your home network via Wi-Fi, or use Wi-Fi Direct when your network goes down. And if your Wi-Fi fails you completely, there’s always the USB port at the back. HP has thoughtfully included a USB cable in the box.
The HP LaserJet Pro M15w also has the sense to switch itself off and save power when you’re not using it. The boot up time is quite fast, so this is a valuable feature.
Ease of setup
Thanks to a slick smartphone app, the HP LaserJet Pro M15w is probably the easiest to install, of any printer we have tested. Just turn the printer on and the app will locate its Wi-Fi signal and get it to join your network. Alternatively, you can connect via Wi-Fi Direct, or the USB cable.
The toner cartridge is pre-installed (you just have to remove the plastic seals) and there are no device settings to think about either. The printer’s startup time is fairly prompt too (8.4 seconds), so we were printing documents literally minutes after opening the box.
The HP LaserJet Pro M15w printed promptly and reliably throughout the test and churned out pages at least as fast as its quoted 19ppm, if not faster. A4 and A5 paper passes though so quickly that it’s almost a surprise to see anything printed on it at all. Only DL envelopes seemed to slow it down, because they only just fit in the tray and rub the sides on the way through.
It’s only a pity you can’t choose to sacrifice a little print speed to gain some print quality, because the text is a little too light and pale. The results are similar to a full size laser printer on its express, or draft setting. And when you reduce the point size to eight, or nine, it becomes quite hard to read through a lack of detail. The problem is that the print resolution is rather low at 600 x 600 dpi. On the other hand, the results are consistent and very small text is at least immune to smearing, as is the case with equivalent inkjet models.
Photographs, printed in black and white, arrive in the output bin at the same breakneck speed, and they also suffer from a limitation in resolution. But the HP LaserJet Pro M15w is not designed for photos; it is made for churning text documents. However, when you are creating a lot of pages, the one feature you really do want on your checklist, is duplex printing, because without it, your paper cost doubles.
So the principal attraction of the HP LaserJet Pro M15w is its size, and its low price point. Also its distinct advantage over similarly priced inkjet models, because the toner will not dry between jobs, therefore saving considerable running costs.
Laser printers are more cost effective than inkjets, but they tend to be larger, so the teeny tiny HP LaserJet Pro M15w might seem like the answer for those of us that work from home, or a cramped office. It prints reliably and quickly and it’s a pleasure to setup use, thanks to the HP Smart HP. The print quality lacks definition, however, and the lack of automatic duplex printing is disadvantage that could increase your paper cost.
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