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HP LaserJet Pro MFP M28w Review

HP LaserJet Pro MFP M28w Review
PRICE WHEN REVIEWED
  • US$109.99
Laser printers have dropped in price very significantly in recent years, but they still tend to be both too expensive and too bulky for home offices. However, if you don't need to print in colour, mono lasers can be very compact indeed. 


In fact, HP claims that its new LaserJet Pro M28w is the smallest laser printer ‘in its class’ – which, in this case, means a multi-function mono-only laser printer with built-in scanner and copier, and both USB and Wi-Fi connectivity. That makes it ideal for home workers or office executives who need a fast, high-quality mono printer/scanner that takes up as little space as possible.

LASERJET PRO MFP M28W: PRICE
The LaserJet Pro M28w that we review here costs £115 if you buy direct from HP, but you can save a few pounds if you hunt around other online retailers. In the US, you'll find it in Walmart for US$109.99.

If you don’t need Wi-Fi then you can opt for the USB-only version, called the M28a, which costs £97 from Amazon.co.uk.

There are also two M15 models, which are straightforward mono laser printers with no scanner. The M15a provides just USB connectivity for around £70, while the M15w adds Wi-Fi for £79. In the US, all of these printers are brand new, with the M28w showing as 'coming soon' on HP's site, and the US$99 M15w currently out of stock.

For more alternative options, see our roundup of the best printers to buy.

LASERJET PRO MFP M28W: FEATURES AND DESIGN
The M28w genuinely surprised us when it arrived as it really is extremely compact. It stands just 198mm high, 360mm wide, and 264mm deep, and is certainly small enough to sit on a desk alongside a computer in a small office or a spare room at home.
It’s sturdily built too, despite the low cost, and manages to squeeze in a useful range of features for office work, including 600dpi resolution for printing, and 1200dpi scanner. There’s a 150-sheet paper tray in the base of the printer, while the output tray holds 100 sheets, and the 1000-sheet recommended monthly output should be way more than most people will need.

The printer provides both USB and Wi-Fi connectivity, with support for Apple’s AirPrint for iOS devices, and Google Cloud Print for everyone else. There’s also an HP Smart app that can be used to print and scan from iOS and Android devices as well.

There are a couple of signs of cost cutting, though. The little 1-inch LED control screen isn’t very useful, although HP’s software works well and provides all the features you need to control printing or scanning from your PC or Mac. There’s no automatic duplex (two-sided printing) either – although there is a manual duplex option available for occasional use. 

LASERJET PRO MFP M28W: PERFORMANCE
The M28w performs well for such a low-cost printer. It doesn’t quite hit HP’s quoted speed of 18 pages per minute, but our text documents in Word and PDF format still sped along at a very respectable 16.5ppm. It doesn’t print in colour of course, but we tested a few documents that combined text and graphics, and the M28w still managed 15ppm, so you can use it for handouts and other documents that don’t require colour graphics.

And, of course, text quality is as good as you’d expect from a laser printer, with smooth, sharp text for your business documents. It handles mono and grey-scale graphics well too, so you can still print out photos and other graphics occasionally even if they’re not in colour. 

Naturally, it can scan in colour, even if the photocopier function only works in mono.

LASERJET PRO MFP M28W: RUNNING COSTS
The speed and quality of the M28w do come at a cost, though. The purchase price includes a ‘starter’ toner cartridge that HP states should last for about 500 pages. The replacement cartridges have higher capacity – 1000 pages – but they cost £50.99/US$49.99, when bought direct from HP. Confusingly part numbers are different for UK and US. In the UK it's called 44a, but in the US it's 48a.

That works out at a little over 5p per page – which is more expensive than mono printing from a good inkjet printer. Shop around and you might be able to get the cartridges cheaper but expect to pay 4p per page at a minimum, which still relatively expensive when compared to inkjet running costs.

However, for occasional printing this may not be a deal-breaker.

SPECS
  • A4 mono laser printer
  • 600dpi print resolution
  • 1200dpi scanner/copier
  • 150-sheet paper tray
  • Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi, with Apple AirPrint, Google CloudPrint support
  • Dimensions: 198x360x264mm
  • Weight: 5.4kg

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