The HP LaserJet Pro P1606dn monochrome laser printer aims at small offices and home offices that prize speed. Despite its moderate price, it delivers plenty of pep, along with good paper handling. Unfortunately, its high toner costs make it a better fit for low-volume users than for high-volume users.
The LaserJet Pro P1606dn’s feature set is a definite step up from what you’d typically find in a low-end printer. It has a 250-sheet main input tray and, above that, a 10-sheet secondary tray for feeding letterhead or envelopes. The top-loading output tray holds 125 sheets. The construction of these parts seems adequate, but the output tray extensions are a bit bendier than we’d like. USB and ethernet connections are standard. The biggest disappointment to us was the control panel: Its two buttons and four LEDs all have icons, but no word labels, so you have to guess what each one means or look it up in the documentation.
Speed is impressive for the price, and quality is normal. The LaserJet Pro P1606dn averaged a swift 19.2 pages per minute on the Mac and 19.3 ppm on the PC, printing mostly plain text with some simple monochrome graphics. Print speeds for graphics pages were respectable, but the output quality was somewhat rough.
A speedy printer might motivate you to print more, but the LaserJet Pro P1606dn’s high-cost toner will quickly dampen any such ambition. A 1000-page starter-size cartridge ships with the unit; but a replacement, 2100-page cartridge costs $78, or 3.7 cents per page. So if you plan to print in high volume, look for a model with a higher-capacity cartridge.
Macworld’s buying advice
HP’s LaserJet Pro P1606dn gives small offices and home offices a potentially valuable speed bump that many low-end lasers can’t—as well as better paper-handling features. Unfortunately, it couldn’t shake the tendency toward pricey toner that’s all too common at this end of the spectrum.