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HP Color LaserJet 2605dtn

HP’s Color LaserJet 2605dtn is an inexpensive color laser printer with a few features not generally found in budget printers. For instance, the 2605dtn sports PostScript 3 emulation, a second 250-sheet paper tray, Ethernet connectivity, built-in automatic duplexing capabilities, and a built-in memory card reader. Even though its print quality, while very good, isn’t the best we’ve seen, and its print speed, while quick, isn’t the fastest, this printer—with all of its features taken as a whole—is a real bargain.

Setup

A true desktop color laser, the 2605dtn is designed to stand high where many printers sit deep, making it an easier fit for most workspaces. Compared to one of my current favorites, the Oki C6100dn (   ), the two printers are about the same width, but the HP is six inches shallower and six inches taller than the Oki. Four inches of the HP’s height can be attributed to the second paper tray, a feature that can save you time by not having to load paper as often, or by giving you the ability to print with two different kinds of paper, legal size or bright white for example, by specifying the proper tray in the print driver. You can connect the printer to your Mac via the USB 2.0 port, or over an Ethernet network. Both worked well, and the printer supports Apple’s zero configuration network protocol, Bonjour, and showed up automatically in our printer list.

Speed

While not exactly a speed demon, the 2605dtn finished most tests (10-page Microsoft Word, 22MB Photoshop, and four-page PDF) in roughly the middle of the pack compared to other color lasers we’ve recently tested. The printed output was of very good quality, with sharp, legible text—even at tiny point sizes. Some colored text, green for example, was a little jaggy in our PDF test—but this seems to be the case with many color lasers in this price range. The printer also scored well in our graphics and photographic tests, with no obvious banding in color gradients. The colors, however, tended to be a little too red in our color photo test, and there was a very faint white outline around some objects.

Speaking of photos, the 2605dtn includes a built-in card reader for printing your snapshots without requiring the use of your computer. The slots support CompactFlash, SmartMedia, MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Secure Digital, and xD Picture Cards. Inserting a card brings up several text menus on the printer’s small, two-line, 16-character display. You can use the menus to print out an index sheet, which assigns each photo a number. You can then use the menus to select one or all of the photos, the print size, and the media that you want to use. These laser prints won’t rival a good inkjet in terms of delivering lab-quality photos, but its good for quick, inexpensive prints.

timed trials

10-page Word test 1:10
1-page Word test 0:25
22MB Photoshop image quality 2:07
4-page PDF 1:01

Scale = Minutes: Seconds

jury tests

Graphics-Fine lines, gradients Very Good
22MB Photoshop image quality Very Good
Text quality Very Good

Scale: Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor

specifications

Print Resolution 600 dpi (color)
Connection 10/100 Ethernet/USB 2.0
Paper Sizes Letter, Legal
PostScript Version PostScript 3 emulation
Installed RAM /Max RAM 64MB/320MB
Cost to replace ink/ toner carts $324 ($75 for black per 2500 pages); $83 each for C-M-Y for 2000 pages)
Weight (in pounds) 52
Dimensions (height x depth x width in inches) 19.4 x 16.1 by 17.8
Paper capacity 500 (2 trays)
Duty cycle 35,000
Special Features Built-in automatic duplexing; memory card reader

Macworld’s buying advice

While the HP 2605dtn may not be the fastest color laser printer we’ve tested, its print quality, expanded paper handling options, built-in duplexing capabilities, networking, and low price make for quite a bargain.

[ James Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. ]

HP Color LaserJet 2605dtn
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