HP Color LaserJet CM1017 MFP multifunction printer

HP’s Color LaserJet CM1017 MFP is a welcome addition to the multifunction universe. It’s sleeker than many of the other printers in this category, and nicely designed overall. But there are tradeoffs: These include a lack of fax features and lack of an automatic document feeder (ADF) for copying longer documents. But these compromises would be acceptable for some small office or home office users if it weren’t for its other major shortcoming: speed.

This machine is very slow. A single-page, plain-text document printed at a decent speed, but everything else—be it a photo print, scan, or copy—took much longer than the other lasers we tested. To be fair, the LaserJet CM1017 has a specified engine speed of eight pages per minute (ppm), and we were comparing it to printers such as the Epson AcuLaser CX11NF (   ) and the Brother MFC-9420CN (   ), which are engineered to produce 25 to 31 ppm. Still, the fact that it was as slow as some of the inkjet models we tested, doesn’t leave the best impression. Testing via Ethernet instead of USB improved a few printing times but failed to turn the tide.

All the prints, scans, and copies came out looking fine. Printed text was very dark, crisp, and clear. Curved and diagonal lines showed some jaggedness. Color images looked natural and rich, despite some problems: shadows faded to black too fast, and unintended moiré patterns showed up in some areas. Scans and copies tended to look darker and rougher than prints, but nothing out of the ordinary for this class of product.

Installation quirks

Our early experiences with the Color LaserJet CM1017 MFP involved a few bumps. First, the installation CD we received did not work with Macs. According to HP, this problem was detected and fixed before production units shipped to stores. A firmware problem underreports the available memory; the company is working on an upgrade, but it was not available at the time this printer was being tested. There’s also an error in the user guide about the maximum memory; it’s 224MB, not 354MB. The rest of the installation process ran smoothly. The setup documentation and CD-based User Guide are thorough and clearly illustrated.

The machine’s design is simple. Everything you use frequently—the input and output trays, plus the toner-cartridge access door—is on the front of the machine. The thin, plastic output tray sticks out and just begs to be broken off; a replacement is available for free under warranty, or for a minimal price afterward.

Lovable control panel

The Color LaserJet CM1017 MFP’s control panel is refreshingly simple. It groups each set of functions together and makes menu-surfing easy with separate navigation and selection buttons. The full-color LCD is another plus: it provides graphical representations of data such as toner-cartridge levels, as well as easy-to-read menu lists. Two memory-card slots on the side of the MFP (a feature common to inkjet-based models) let you work with your digital photos directly from the machine using LCD-based prompts; the included HP Photosmart Premier software lets you manage those photos on your computer.

Scanning offers a few complications for Mac users. From the control panel, the Start Scan button works only with direct (not networked) connections. The Scan To button lets you send a scan via your default e-mail application or, if the MFP is networked, to a specific computer. Unfortunately you can’t send a scan to a specific file destination (as Windows users can). The installed HP Director software, which manages most scanning tasks, lacks a preview-scan function. You have to scan an entire page at your chosen resolution even if you want just part of it—meaning you can waste a lot of time scanning unwanted areas. HP says it designed this feature to make scanning simpler for beginners, but we’d prefer shorter scan times.

timed trials: print

10-page Word test 1:33
1-page Word test 0:28
22MB Photoshop image 3:15
4-page PDF 3:34

Scale = Minutes: Seconds

timed trials: scan

8-by-10-inch Photo, 600 dpi scan 1:35
4-by-6-inch Photo, 1,200dpi scan 6:42

Scale = Minutes: Seconds

jury tests: print

Graphics: Fine Lines and Gradients Good
22MB Photoshop Image Quality Good
Text Quality Very Good

Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor

jury tests: scan/copy

Color Good
Clarity Good
Copy Good

Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor

specifications

Print Resolution 600x600 dpi
Scan Resolution: optical 1200 dpi
Max Scanning Bit Depth (output) 24-bit
Connection USB 2.0; Ethernet
Paper Sizes Letter, legal, executive, No. 10 envelopes, Monarch envelopes
PostScript Version 3
Installed RAM/ Max RAM 96MB
Cost to Replace Ink/ Toner Cartridges $324 ($75 black; $83 each for cyan, magenta and yellow)
Weight (in pounds) 49
Dimensions (height x depth x width in inches) 21.3x20x17.2
Paper Capacity 250 sheets
Duty Cycle 35,000 pages per month
Special Features Flip-up screen; duplex printing

Macworld’s buying advice

While the HP Color LaserJet CM1017 MFP is well designed and easy to use, its slow speed makes it a tough sell. You can get a comparably fast inkjet for much less money, or for about the same price, you can get a much faster color-laser MFP that probably also has fax features and an ADF. We were also disappointed with some of the complexities we discovered in trying to scan. Some patient individuals may still want Color LaserJet CM1017, but we can give it only a qualified recommendation.

[ Melissa Riofrio is a freelance writer specializing in printers and MFPs. ]

HP Color LaserJet CM1017 MFP

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