HP Colour LaserJet CP3505dn

Decent workgroup colour printer for the office.

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HP Colour LaserJet CP3505dn
  • HP Colour LaserJet CP3505dn
  • HP Colour LaserJet CP3505dn
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Automatic duplex, Web interface, Digital Imaging configuration, ImageRET 3600 provides good colour and text

Cons

  • Average print speeds, odd paper output placement, slightly costly

Bottom Line

Speed aside, the Colour LaserJet CP3505dn has few problems. With good colour, automatic duplex and the functionality to meet the mono and colour printing needs of the standard office, this printer's only problem is the cost of consumables.

Would you buy this?

HP’s Colour LaserJet CP3505dn provides good quality colour laser printing with all the bells and whistles you’ll need for a functional workgroup printer. In terms of hardware the CP3505dn is certainly adequate, though its print speeds are below average.

Sitting in the middle of the CP3505 range from HP, the CP3505dn adds a couple of features that justify the price difference from the cheaper models. As well as the standard USB 2.0 port for local printing, the “dn” configuration adds an Ethernet port for shared printing, as well as an automatic duplex unit as standard and a boost in memory from 256MB to 384MB. HP still leaves room for improvements — there’s an optional 40GB hard drive and an extra paper tray available, and the memory is upgradeable to a maximum of 1GB — so the CP3505dn isn’t the biggest and brightest of the range.

The design is fairly standard for a colour laser printer, with the imaging unit and colour toners easily accessible through the front panel. We’re a little unsure about the placement of the output tray, however: it’s not unusual for them to face backwards, but the CP3505dn features an output tray that is placed at the very back of the printer, making paper retrieval an unnecessarily arduous task.

Unsurprisingly, the CP3505dn’s control panel is sufficient only for menial tasks; essentially it's restricted to choosing paper handling options. Users can adjust individual colour density levels, but for the most part the control panel serves to initiate configuration print-outs to reveal detailed printer information. The Web interface, as usual, fills in the gaps, with supply status, security settings, e-mail server options and even the ability to restrict the use of the printer’s colour toners based on individual jobs and users. Configuration and administration options are fairly extensive, making the CP3505dn an easy printer to integrate into a standard office network.

Printing proved to be slower than we expected. When printing a standard text document using both available quality settings — 1200x600dpi and ImageRET3600 — the CP3505dn manages 22.2 pages per minute, which is slower than it should be for a printer at this price point. Speeds aren't much better when printing in colour, with a substantial difference between printing in 1200x600dpi and ImageRET3600 — 1200x600dpi printed at 10.7ppm while HP's ImageRET technology sped up the printer somewhat to 21ppm. HP’s Web site suggests consistent speeds, though when approached with this anomaly, HP suggested that ImageRET 3600 was the optimal choice for general colour printing.

Still, the resulting quality is great. Text isn’t as well-defined as the higher-end LaserJet P4515x but it is accurate and very readable even in draft mode. Graphical documents are also very good quality, with accurate colour that looks glossy and professional. We were even able extract a decent quality photo out of the printer; although there was some severe banding, the photo was surprisingly vibrant and fairly accurate in comparison to dedicated photo printers. The ability to produce colour at this range is largely attributable to the printer’s ImageRET technology which, although not technically 3600dpi resolution at a hardware level, provides the same half-toning capability as the LaserJet P4515x in order to produce deeper and more accurate colour.

For those who wish to tinker with the ImageRET settings to produce better results, the CP3505dn also offers users access to settings such as contrast, focus, sharpness, smoothing and a separate contrast enhancement function labelled “Digital Flash”. The feature is clearly designed for use with photos and colour-heavy materials — though oddly it made negligible difference to graphical documents — but careful configuration can enhance the printer’s text quality, making text darker, sharper and easier to read overall. We like the feature’s presence and it generally boosted quality when used in the right manner. The only worrying aspect is the inclusion of “SmartFocus”, which just seems to make things blurrier.

Unfortunately, the initial price barrier may not be the only one for potential buyers. The printer manages a reasonable 6000 pages per toner cartridge, but the CP3505dn has an average running cost of about 17c per page — a fairly high figure for a laser printer.

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