User Rating: Disappointing
Ease of Use:
Pros:inexpensive color laser
Cons:smears very easily; toner used up absurdly quickly; network connection stopped working
The Bottom Line: This printer has a lot of problems. It holds very little paper, doesn't always print, and leaves a lot to be desired.
At one of my clients, they have the right idea on printers. Instead of ordering a different one every time, they order one printer model for everybody. That makes toner ordering much easier.
Recommend this product?
They had been ordering the HP LaserJet 2600n. That was one of HP's good models -- a low cost color laser network printer. They have several 2600n's in production now; they've been great printers. We've never had jams, misfeeds, or other problems. They just worked.
However, HP has discontinued the 2600n, and they needed a few new printers to replace a few dying printers, so they looked for an alternative. They ordered three of the HP Color Laserjet CP1518ni.
The short version: The HP Color LaserJet CP1518 did not live up to its predecessor's reputation.
Setting up the printer was easy. The CP1518 is a small printer for a color laser. It has a drawer that pulls out into which the four toner cartridges go. You can input an IP address from the console, which is a nice feature in case you ever lose the CD. The software is typical for HP; it makes installing the printer simple, but tends to be very bloated for a driver.
And then the problems began.
For whatever reason, the HP CP1518 did not like being shared out. Usually, I will install the printer on a server and share it out that way. For whatever reason, the printer stubbornly refused to come online, even after a few uninstallations and reinstallations. Thus, I had to install the printer on each and every machine that would be using it. That was a minor pecadillo and I could have forgiven it if that had been the only problem.
I didn't get much chance to troubleshoot it either, because I had assigned the CP1518 the same IP address as the printer it had replaced. There must've been a few print jobs in the queue, and the CP1518 didn't like them. At all. It began to print out page after page of smeared black, using up the black toner cartridge in half an hour. Toner cartridges for the CP1518 are expensive and low-capacity. It came with starter toner good for 750 pages; the refills will print up to 2000.
This wasn't looking good.
Once I had gotten the printer to stop printing pure black on the paper, I tried to print again. It printed a test page that was extremely smeared and illegible. For all intents and purposes, the CP1518 was unusable.
This last problem I did manage to fix. I had to open the drawer, pull out the yellow toner cartridge, and clean the rubber roller with a paper towel, advance it with my fingers, and do it again. Very few end users are going to try this; they'll be more likely to simply return the printer as defective. If this is a commonplace problem, the printer will likely be transferred for use as a personal printer, or we'll return it.
After the first week, I returned only to be told that the users didn't like the printer because it was slow, and had stopped printing. Nothing appeared to be amiss at the printer; it showed ready and could print test pages. But checking the print queue indicated that the users were correct. Power cycling the printer did restart the job, but this was just one more flaw in a printer that had already shown a great deal of flaws.
Once it started printing again, it was slow. The CP1518 printed at 8 pages/minutes -- not an impressive show. The paper tray holds only 150 sheets of paper, a rather measly amount even for a small laser printer such as this one. Honestly, one wonders why they even bothered making this a network printer.
If the CP1518 has a good point, it's image quality (once the rubber roller was clean.) It was sharp, crisp, and the color reproduction was very good. HP's ImageRET technology is at work making images look crisp and smooth.
All the same, good image quality is not hard to find, and the CP1518 just had too many problems for me to recommend it. It's inexpensive, and it may work as a personal printer. But it's slow, it's buggy, and it just doesn't match the competition.
Amount Paid (US$): 400
Operating System: Windows