HP Officejet Pro K5400 color printer

The speedy HP Officejet Pro K5400 is an ink-jet printer designed for businesses. It can print decent-quality color or gray-scale documents, as well as surprisingly good photos. And it prints color or gray-scale documents at speeds comparable to those of many laser printers. The most significant feature this printer lacks is Ethernet networking compatibility—it supports only USB connectivity. Though the K5400 is the base model of this printer line, I found this omission irksome; I imagine that most businesses would want to share this printer among several users. (The Officejet Pro K5400tn, which costs $199, is network-compatible.)

The K5400 is a little bulky but weighs only 20 pounds, so one person should be able to unpack it safely. Setting up the printer is a quick and easy process. You install the four ink cartridges into color-coded slots, which are conveniently located behind a small door on the printer’s left side. Then you install two print heads into their mounts, which are under the printer’s lid. After you connect the K5400 to your Mac, just install HP’s included software, load some paper, and you’re ready to print.

The K5400’s design is streamlined and practical. The control panel has only three buttons: one labeled with an X for canceling print jobs, one that flashes when you’re out of paper (you press the button when you’ve reloaded paper), and a power button. HP has thoughtfully equipped this printer with a larger-than-normal input capacity of 250 sheets, so most users won’t be frustrated by having to constantly reload paper.

HP calls the K5400 the “world’s fastest desktop printer.” The K5400 is not the fastest all-around printer Macworld has seen, but it’s certainly comparable to some of the fastest desktop ink-jet printers we’ve tested, such as the Canon Pixma MP960 (   ). The K5400’s print speeds are similar to those of laser printers. In my testing, it took 14 seconds to print a one-page Word document, 61 seconds to print a ten-page Word document, 66 seconds to print a four-page color PDF, and 214 seconds to print an 8-by-10-inch photo. By way of comparison, the fastest laser printer we’ve tested—the Brother MFC-9420CN (   )—took 15 seconds to print a one-page Word document, 33 seconds to print a ten-page Word document, 64 seconds to print a four-page PDF, and 38 seconds to print an 8-by-10-inch photo.

Though HP emphasizes the K5400’s color and gray-scale printing abilities, these aren’t the printer’s greatest strengths. In color documents, print dots were slightly visible in bright colors. And in gray-scale documents, the printer’s speed produced occasional smudges, and fonts looked a little heavy. The K5400 produced very good photos: colors were accurate, images were clear, and while print dots were slightly visible in bright colors, they were less noticeable on photo paper. However, since this printer uses dye-based inks designed primarily for document printing, you shouldn’t expect long-lasting, water-resistant photos.

Timed Trials

10-page Word test 1:01
1-page Word test 0:14
22MB Photoshop image 3:34
4-page PDF 1:06

Scale = Minutes: Seconds

jury tests

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

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

specifications

Print Resolution 1,200 dpi (black); 4,800 x 1,200 dpi optimized on HP Premium Plus photo papers; 1,200 x 1,200 input dpi
Connection USB 2.0
Paper Sizes 3 x 5 to 8.5 x 14
Cost to Replace Ink/ Toner Cartridges $65 ($20 for black; $15 each for cyan, magenta, and yellow)
Weight (in pounds) 18.4
Dimensions (height x depth x width in inches) 8.2 x 11.8 x 19.5
Paper Capacity 250 sheets
Special Features Large input capacity; very fast print speeds.

How We Tested: We ran all tests with the printer connected via USB 2.0 to a 2.66GHz Mac Pro with Mac OS X 10.4.8 installed and 1GB of RAM. We recorded the time it took the printer to print a one-page Word document and a ten-page Word document, as well as the time it took to print a 22MB Photoshop image and a four-page PDF. A panel of experts examined the printer’s output and rated its print quality as Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor, in comparison to the output of ink-jet printers we’ve tested in the past.—Macworld Lab testing by Brian Chen

Macworld’s buying advice

The HP Officejet Pro K5400’s affordability, speed, and ability to print decent-quality documents and very good photos make it a solid choice. However, businesses will likely be more attracted to this printer line’s midrange model, the Officejet Pro K5400tn, which includes networking capabilities and an additional paper tray.

[ Brian Chen is an assistant editor for Macworld.]

HP Officejet Pro K5400

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