HP Color LaserJet 1500

HP Color LaserJet 1500 series printers
Company: Hewlett-Packard Company

Price: $899.99

This review is not going to be as lengthy as its recent predecessor because the physical appearance and excellent printer technology in HP’s brand new 1500 series of affordable color laser printers is identical to that of the slightly more expensive 2500 series. When printing from my humble G3 iMac 400 DV, individual pages take somewhat longer to emerge from a 1500 than from a 2500, which is not a recommendation for either, because 2500s are slow and 1500s are slower.

Where HP’s 2500 series printers contain their own memory modules and network capabilities, the USB-only 1500 series units tap the memory from their host computers. The purpose is to save money in production cost, and purchase price for users who don’t require any extra muscle and networking features.

In side-by-side real world comparison between an HP Color Laser Jet 1500L and a 2500, I learned:

  • whatever you do, get a printer with a dedicated interior paper input tray, and not simply a bare-bones angle-feed “multipurpose” paper channel;
  • these color laser printers, all of them, produce beautiful print and image results at exceptional value, with generous toner and imaging drum capacity;
  • HP continues to issue sophisticated new color laser paper and transparency products, hoping to unseat inkjet printers from top spots on every best-of list when premium results really matter;
  • noisy is noisy and slow is slow, but great is still great, so be aware that top-quality prints from HP color laser machines take a while to crank out and will wake any baby sleeping in the next county;
  • software installation required within OS 9 (very speedy) and Windows XP (tedious and annoying) has a happy ending, but you are not advised by the installers that a restart is essential before making your initial prints; 1500’s custom desktop printer is less versatile than Apple’s well-worn LaserWriter 8 software used by the 2500s (none of this should matter in OS X/Jaguar).After testing the HP Color LaserJet 2500 units, our rating was lukewarm on speed or noise, and sensational on print quality. I continue to use the 2500 for all printing, and will be sad to see it leave my home office next week. The newer 1500 prints fine (remember, it’s identical to the 2500 in this regard), but 1500’s delays between prints and time completing pages is not acceptable, knowing 2500 is available for a bit more cash.

    Here’s the current pricing on the entire Color LaserJet product line: 2500L – $899.99, 2500 – $1099.99, 2500n – $1399.99, 2500tn – $1799.99, 1500L – $799.99, and 1500 – $999.99. Can you see where my recommendations are heading? For $1099.99 you get a robust, versatile 2500 with optimum tray capacity for only $100 more than the equivalent 1500 model. I realize HP’s model naming and pricing system is confusing, but Color LaserJet 2500 ($1099.99) gets top honors. MyMac.com will therefore not rate or recommend any of the 1500 series printers, except for users who try-before-buy and decide 1500’s specs and performance are exactly what they need.

    John Nemerovski

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