HP has brought a couple of new printers to its existing LaserJet lineup and this new portfolio aims at providing customers with features that have been lacking in the previous models. There are three variants in their monochrome laser category and they include the M401d (duplex), the M401n (network) and the M401dn (duplex and network). We’ve got the M401dn in the labs and this variant is intended for SMBs and enterprise solutions. Let’s have a look what it’s all about. 

The back

The back

Design and Build Quality 

The M401dn has a boxy appearance to it and with dimensions of 14.35 x 14.49 x 10.67 inches in a closed position, the printer has a slightly large footprint. It’s got a nice matte black finish to it, which will fit pretty well with your office’s interiors. The front has a nice brushed look with two loading trays and the power button. A USB port is housed towards the left that lets you instantly connect your pen drives (not hard drives) to print documents and images on the go. The left consists of a heat vent while the power slot and the printer and Ethernet ports are located at the back. The top consists of a 3.5-inch touch panel. 

A 3.5 inch touch panel

A 3.5 inch touch panel

This printer has a weight of 10.6 kgs and its best kept in a sturdy, well ventilated dust free area as you’re not going to be moving it too much. It’s got a built to last feel with sturdy flaps that snap on with a reassuring click. It’s an office printer that doesn’t disappoint in the looks department. 

Features

This mono laser printer is powered by an 800 MHz processor. We’re starting off with this because this printer comes with a unique feature – it supports business apps. These apps are small modules and snippets that allow you to print unique tasks at pre-scheduled times. So, for example, you want the printer to download a certain set of stock quotes or news or even comics at specific time intervals, you simply connect it via the network and assign the tasks from your computer, the printer will do the rest. It also has HP’s ePrint capabilities – you can print from anywhere with a Web connection by sending an email to your printer's email address. Once you connect, the HP ePrint centre site allows you to manage your printer. You can also select a host of free consumer and business applications. The ePrintcentre detects the printer you have connected and recommends apps to you accordingly. 

Connectivity options at the side

Connectivity options at the side

The USB walk up allows you to print PDFs and other documents and images via the printer's USB port. You can connect pen drives upto 16GB with FAT32 support; portable hard drives are not supported. You can also preview an image file before you print it on the screen – important if you have a large amount of data on your pen drive.

With HP’s Smart Install, if you plug in the printer to a windows machine via USB the drivers get automatically installed as they’re in the printer itself. If it’s connected via the network, you need to type in the IP address – it gives you a website and you can simply click on the link and download the network drivers. The printer also has an Instant On feature that lets you print documents with little to no waiting time. The 3.5-inch touch screen gives you the essential information to set up HP’s web services, toggle a set of features and view diagnostic and error information. It’s a resistive one, but gets the work done. 

Scheduling

Scheduling

As far as the spec sheet is concerned, this printer claims a print speed of up to 35 ppm with a first page out in 8 seconds. The print resolution is up to 1200 x 1200 dpi. Along with 50 sheet tray 1 and the 250 sheet tray 2 and the duplexer for two sided printing, the printer also allows you to connect an optional third 500 sheet tray. Power consumption is slotted at 570 watts (Printing), 7.3 watts (Ready) and 6.2 watts (Sleep). The price per cartridge is Rs. 6,500 and the number of print outs per cartridge are 2700, according to HP.

Well, that sums up the list of features, let’s have a look at the real world performance of the printer.

Performance

We put the M401dn through a series of tests – to gauge two important aspects, speed and quality. We used two modes – the default one and the Econo mode. Under default mode, full page text took 10 seconds to print while it took 11 seconds under Econo. The same result was for less dense information, with text of difference sizes. Image and text took 19 seconds under default mode and a quicker 17 seconds under Econo. A complete full-sized image document took 15 seconds to print under both modes. Network printing took a similar time period of 15 seconds as well. Next, we tried a batch of ten documents with text and it took 46 seconds bringing the average to 4.6 seconds per page. Compared to the other offering by HP, this one boasts of similar speeds. The average under Econo mode was 4.5 pages. An image file via USB took 13 seconds. USB allows you to modify the size of the print as well. 

Apps

Get your news printed

As far as quality is concerned, the default mode is brilliant. It has no blotches, has nice smooth curves and the printer does its job exceptionally well. Econo mode creates large evenly scattered gaps across the text, which are fine for big fonts, but with smaller fonts, it sometimes eats into the text. With darker shades and flat colour patches, it creates fine checkered patterns, in Econo mode. The same goes for images. Saves ink for sure, but with some compromise on quality. This doesn’t mean that the text isn’t readable, it’s still very much readable, which is a good thing. This was tested on their FastRes 1200 setting. The ink appears lighter on the ProRes settings with 132 and 180lpi. 

Print apps

Print apps

The Print Apps feature works pretty well and every morning at 9:30 we would get our dose of news and comics printed and kept ready. Most of the apps let you choose days of the week, hours of the day for more specific delivery of your data. As far as plain printing is concerned, for official documents, it's best to stick to the default mode. For rough drafts the Econo mode will do the job for you. 

Worth a buy?

Worth a buy?

Verdict and Price in India

The HP LaserJet Pro 400 Printer M401dn is priced at Rs. 32,724. It’s a flexible network printer that lets you tweak your settings and requirements while you operate it. The complete package – the extra features like the Print Apps and scheduling, the quality and the speed of the prints make it a good investment. The Print Apps in particular, is a unique feature, which makes us recommend this product. 

Publish date: July 23, 2012 3:03 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 10:53 pm

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