HP Officejet Pro K5400dn
Perfect for small businesses
- Laser-like text quality, great consumable costs
- Some minor colour issues
HP’s Officejet Pro K5400dn is the perfect printer for small businesses that don’t need multifunction capabilities. Although it doesn’t have the largest feature set, the features it does boast are implemented well and it provides tough competition for its laser counterparts.
Price$ 249.00 (AUD)
The Officejet Pro K5400dn is HP's printer-only equivalent of the Officejet Pro L7380 multifunction, although it also adds an Ethernet port. In terms of print quality and speed, the K5400dn is identical to the L7380. Considering we were impressed with that particular model, this is a good thing. The addition of an Ethernet port makes this printer much better for use in an office; on the whole, there's little we can find to fault.
The K5400dn is quite bulky in comparison to other inkjet printers, which may be an issue for small businesses with little office space available. The print head is separated from the actual ink cartridges — a system common in Brother multifunctions, but relatively new for HP. This means that changing consumables is done by simply opening a panel on the front of the printer.
Connectivity is by way of USB 2.0 or Ethernet. The inclusion of an Ethernet port is great for office productivity. Once the printer is assigned an IP address by a router, it is easily recognised by any other computers on the network and users simply have to install the required drivers.
Another key office productivity feature on the K5400dn is its automatic duplex unit, which was also missing from the Officejet Pro L7380 . The packaged unit allows users to print double-sided pages. This can obviously help businesses save money by cutting paper costs.
Printing speeds are, unsurprisingly, on par with the L7380. The K5400dn managed to print draft quality text documents at 23 pages per minute and normal quality documents at 14.3ppm. Documents with both text and graphics managed similar speeds: 23ppm at draft quality, slowing to 9ppm at normal. Although it is slightly slower at printing documents with graphical elements, text documents at standard quality actually print faster than some dedicated laser printers, including the Fuji Xerox DocuPrint C1110. The printer isn't suited for photo printing, but it still manages acceptable speeds. A standard 4x6in photo prints in 27secs and an A4 photo in 1min 14secs.
HP's claim of laser-like text quality can immediately be confirmed when printing; printing quality is quite remarkable overall. Text is sharp and accurate at all quality levels, with only slight fading apparent at draft quality. Graphical elements had consistent colour, though there is some slight variation in quality when printing over Ethernet as opposed to USB. When printing over USB, text overlayed on graphics suffers a slight loss of clarity, becoming a little muddy. This wasn't an issue at all when printing over Ethernet using the same computer and drivers. The quality difference is negligible, however.
Photo quality is a good measure of how the printer will manage when printing in-house marketing materials, and the K5400dn performs well. Colour accuracy was excellent overall. The individual ink system creates well-defined flesh tones and blacks. Yellow hues aren't as vibrant as dedicated photo printers such as the Canon PIXMA MP970, although this would only be an issue for photo enthusiasts. One flaw we did notice was that the K5400dn's test results revealed a deal of background noise; this was mainly noticeable in dark to light gradients. There is also a minimal amount of haloing, but this won't be an issue when printing marketing materials.
One thing we loved about the Officejet Pro L7380 was its consumable costs, and the K5400dn also stacks up well in this regard. With non-consumable print heads, the K5400dn is capable of printing pages at 12.4c each, a remarkable result.
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