Hewlett-Packard Australia LaserJet 3550n

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Hewlett-Packard Australia LaserJet 3550n
  • Expert Rating

    3.00 / 5

Pros

  • Colour printer, good monochrome print quality

Cons

  • Too big, high price

Bottom Line

The HP Color LaserJet 3550n delivers decent print quality, especially for black-and-white documents, but it is both expensive and quite slow.

Would you buy this?

The HP Color LaserJet 3550n is bulky, housed in a grey box whose front curvature adds to its sense of inflated size. Unfortunately this model's girth and its price tag don't reflect the components inside, considering it cuts some corners in its networking, processing and expansion options.

The 3550n lacks its own Ethernet port, instead coming with an HP Jetdirect en3700 external print server that plugs into the printer's USB 2.0 port. If you don't need Ethernet connectivity, you can buy the cheaper Color LaserJet 3550, which is effectively the same printer without the print server. We found our 3550n easy to hook up to our network, even with the added complexity of its print server. The two-line LCD isn't backlit, which could make it hard to read in low light. When you're not using the display for accessing the menus, it conveniently displays the toner level.

Instead of PCL or PostScript and a built-in processor, the 3550n's driver uses HP's JetReady language and your PC's CPU to render pages. Since today's PCs have very powerful CPUs, borrowing some of those clock cycles to drive a printer is a reasonable way to cut printer manufacturing costs. (We conducted this printer's speed tests using a Micron PC Millennia 920i with a 2.8GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor and 512MB of RAM.)

When we put the 3550n through its paces in the lab, its print quality impressed us. The fine text characters could have been more readable if they had been slightly heavier, but they looked sharp and did not bleed together in bold fonts such as Hattenschweller. Some strangely shaped characters puzzled us, such as capital Cs with dot-like artefacts at the top. Our line-art sample looked nice and crisp; even the most closely spaced lines were still distinct when examined under a magnifying glass. The greyscale image had some minor banding, but none of the moire patterns we usually see, and it showed nice, smooth tonal transitions. Our colour photo looked too dark overall, though skin tones appeared natural. In our speed tests, performance was middling: the 3550n was a little below average for both monochrome (14.8 pages per minute) and colour printing (3.9ppm).

Up to 250 sheets load in the main paper drawer, and the manual bypass tray takes up to 100. The main output bin is on top of the printer, where up to 150 pages can land facedown. A rear output tray folds down at the back to give a straight path for thicker media such as envelopes.

You can also add a single 500-sheet drawer, giving a maximum paper capacity of 850 sheets. That's the only expansion option you get, however. A duplexer attachment is not available. Nor can you expand the printer's memory beyond its standard 64MB--with the processing happening on your PC, though, there would be little point in adding more.

The printer comes with two printed documents, a Start guide to explain the basic hardware setup and a Network Installation Guide. We didn't get far with the latter before it referred us to the Jetdirect Administrator's Guide, which was included as a PDF file on the software CD-ROM. The PDF led us through the installation steps quickly and effectively. A more comprehensive Use guide is also included on the CD-ROM, in both Windows Help and PDF formats.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?