HP Color LaserJet 2500
Review

On May 9, 2003, in printer, Review, by John Nemerovski

HP Color LaserJet 2500 Printer
Company: Hewlett-Packard

Price: $900 – $1800 US, including all four different models
http://www.hp.com


SHORT REVIEW: Great prints, reasonable price, easy to recommend.

LONG REVIEW: Why bother? Keep reading!


Delivery, Setup, Headaches, and Surprises

Sitting in the carport eight weeks ago was the biggest, heaviest carton ever delivered to this address since our Viking range arrived in 1996. No bodybuilder came with it, so I slowly hauled the massive box to my small home office using a barely-adequate two-wheel dolly.

Once inside, unpacking and setup were easy, except for lifting HP’s large printer modules onto a rolling end table. Written instructions were accurate, and I was ready for a test drive in less than an hour. The HP Color LaserJet 2500tn printer was gigantic, and I was excited.

Its test page printed in brilliant color, so I proceeded to print my first color laser document. The subsequent GRINDING AND CRASHING NOISE coming from the printer was LOUD and SCARY, and no print emerged, so I immediately called HP’s tech support line for advice. After a lot of troubleshooting, the agent said “Sorry, Nemo, your demo unit is defective.” I was devastated, and notified our HP representative.

She said “I’ll send you a replacement printer, John, so pack up the first one and send it back.” Ha! Easier said than done, given the giant printer’s weight and size. Taking it out of the carton was one thing, but putting it back in was going to be more difficult.

Printer #2 arrived a few days later, and its carton was somewhat smaller and lighter. My modest home office was getting crowded. The original 2500tn I received is the largest, most expensive ($1800) model available, because it has extra drawers to accommodate a lot of paper, and because it includes special networking features for its target enterprise environment. My second demo unit is the $900 baby “base model” called 2500l (that’s an “L” at the end), suitable for an individual user or a very small office situation.

You can and should visit HP’s web pages for detailed specs on their complete 2500 series of LaserJet printers. Additional info can be located by using your favorite search engine and typing (quotation marks not needed) “hp color laserjet 2500″ in the search box.

Soon I had each printer on a different rolling end table. Printer #2 worked perfectly, effortlessly, in both OS 9 (using Chooser and LaserWriter 8) and OS X (using Print Center). Software configuration is neither difficult nor time-consuming, especially if you are familiar with HP dialog boxes in OS 9 or standard Print Center usage in X/Jaguar.

I decided to remove toner cartridges from defective 2500tn prior to reloading it into the jumbo carton, but after taking out one cartridge the revolving drum wouldn’t allow me to pull out the other three. Replacing the first one, I tried a test print on a whim. Now the darn thing printed just fine, so I was totally confused, and glad to be sending it away forever. The short, strong, stocky guy who picked it up literally picked up the massive box and staggered to his truck.

Here is a photo, taken by MyMac.com reviewer Wynne Stevens, of me kneeling between both printers just before he helped me take apart the first one and set it into its styro packing frame. The orange strips you see are tape for keeping parts of the HP in place during shipping. I’m holding a box of special paper, to be described below. The super-duper 2500tn is the one on your left.


Enough Intro, Nemo — How Does It Print?

Each print is splendid. Text is sharp, and images are brilliant. Color accuracy is not my area of expertise, and you’ll be able to achieve precise color rendition with some tweaking. Whether using cheapo paper or premium card stock, your prints will present your finest creations in stunning color or greyscale.

HP claims enormous toner and imaging drum print capacity, but I’ll need to return our evaluation unit long before any cartridges have to be replaced. Additional supplies for this LaserJet are expensive, but they average out to reasonable cost on a per-print basis.

But, important:

  • Is the printer quiet? No, and its normal operation sound is intrusive and annoying while printing, but the results will quiet any complainers. When not printing, the unit is completely silent.
  • Is the printer quick? Not especially, when receiving and printing individual copies from a computer, but yes, when cranking out multiples.
  • Is manual feeding easy? Yes, very.
  • Is tray loading easy? Ditto.
  • Is page registration accurate? Yes, indeed, both single-sided and double-sided.I’m conducting a series of workshops for newcomers to Photoshop. The participants are thrilled and overwhelmed when their results are printed on the LaserJet 2500.I am taking photos of all my music students, and printing them with the LaserJet. The parents are delighted and amazed at how good their kids look in the pictures.

    Each person who sees printed text or images done on this printer wants to know how much it costs. Everybody is pleasantly surprised when I tell them the price and toner capacity.

    HP provided one carton of their Premium Cover Paper, suitable for presentations and reports. Great stuff. I wish they sent samples of their other special laser stock, so I could praise them also.


    Wrapping Up

    WOULD I BUY the HP Color LaserJet 2500 if personal or business usage justified it? YES, because for price and quality this is a fine product.

    WILL I MISS IT once the review period is finished? YES, because my prints have never been so good and so consistent.

    HOW MANY TIMES have I used my old-faithful Epson Stylus Scan 2500 printer while the LaserJet was available? ZERO.

    ANY COMPLAINTS? Yes, the drum, cartridge, and paper feed noises. In a quiet office or home these sounds will disrupt the ambience. In a noisy dedicated print room nobody will notice.

    OUR RATING reflects all the aforementioned praise and modest criticism, enabling HP’s Color LaserJet 2500 series of printers to receive:

    MacMice Rating: 4 out of 5
    A very decent product. Worth the time and investment, but look for competing products.


    Oh, one more thing: do NOT attempt to use coated inkjet photo paper in a color laser printer. You can seriously damage its print path. Please only use dedicated color laser papers when printing onto anything except generic paper or card stock.


    John Nemerovski
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