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In March, my office finally bit the bullet and bought its first networkable printer (to be used by 3 people). Up to that point, we had 3 different printers - 1 on each desk - which all went through a full colour cartridge every fortnight and a black cartridge cost every week. Given the extortionate cost of printer cartridges (even recycled ones), my boss decided that now was the right time to buy a new 'central' networked printer, and wanted people to come up with ideas as to what we wanted. We eventually decided that we wanted a printer that could be networked wirelessly, had a high print cartridge capacity, could work with Vista had a fast printing turnaround, had a household name so that cartridges wouldn't be a problem and one that had a duplexing facility as we print a lot of double-sided pages as part of our order forms/timesheets.
After much debate, my boss went out on a whim - without our IT honcho - and bought the CP4005dn - which, as it had toners instead of cartridge - he rationalised that it couldn't possibly go through the ink as fast and, according to him, was pretty darned fast and was obviously highly sought after as it had sold out in the shop, but they would deliver one to him. This was a bad idea since my boss knew as much about printers as I do about his collection of Johnny Hallyday CDs (in other words, you know what its function is, but other than that not very much). Still, misgivings aside, we awaited its arrival with baited breath.
On Monday, a lovely delivery guy buzzed saying 'parcel', which my colleague duly signed for, only for the delivery guy to disappear on us saying it was outside… oh my. What a sight! I am not joking, the entire thing, in all its packaging, was as tall as I am. How big exactly is this thing once it is out of the packaging I thought. Ah well, between 4 grown adults we finally got the printer into the office and spent 20 minutes trying to take off the packaging - not the easiest thing in the world as the printer was heavy and it was too tall for us to open at the top. Anyway, printer finally unpackaged now stood about a third of my height - and was way too big for the desk we had assigned for it (poor Ann couldn't even see the top of it). 1 change of desk later we put it all together and were ready for the driver installation.
Next came the second problem - this printer is not Vista compatible screamed the installation CD - even though the manual and packaging says it does. We had to go on the HP website to download the correct drivers. We then set everyone up on the network whilst deciding on a name for it - first it was the Tardis (which was discarded as that is supposed to be small on the outside, big on the inside and this thing was just plain big), then it was dusty bin (which was an insult to Dusty in my opinion) and we finally decided on R2-D2 because of all the strange noises, whistles and beeps it makes when it is in printing mode (it is a noisy thing when it prints).
To be fair, R2-D2 did print pretty fast - about 30 pages in a minute. I liked the fact that it had a large paper storage capacity and that it had a cartridge level in 'snooze' mode - so you could see how much was left in each individual cartridge without that annoying 'your ink level is running low' appearing on my screen. I also like the fact that envelopes are faster at printing on it too - but the printer has a nasty habit of jamming the envelopes if you are doing a long run.
Another problem is the toner - we've had it for 1 month and it's gone through a whole black toner in that time (and we hadn't even used it for heavy printing as we only had half the staff in over Easter) and at nearly £100 for that alone it was enough for my boss to go 'ouch' - so the toner costs for the 4 standard colours will be over £400. Quadruple ouch. The toner wasn't even on Ebay (where we bought a lot of our old cartridges from) so it seemed even dearer than usual.
Another problem is printing Adobe files - whenever anyone tries to print a document off Adobe Acrobat Reader, it increases its file size that much it becomes unprintable. For instance, a 3MB file which prints fine off the old printer, suddenly becomes 300MB in size on the new printer. We have tried reinstalling the software, etc., etc. to no avail.
Another bugbear is the duplex facility - we wanted double sided printing for our brochures, time sheets, order forms and health and safety documents. To be fair, it does duplex. Just one problem - it sometimes 'skips' sheets. For instance, you print 25 copies of a duplex item. What you will actually get is about 19 copies that have printed correctly and 6 of each page with nothing on the back (6 x page 1 and 6 x page 2). So you usually have to send it to print again - and double check carefully that there are no single sides in between.
So - would I recommend this printer to you? It depends. If you have room for something the size of R2-D2 and use it for printing occasionally but want it printing quickly, then this could be the printer for you. Personally, I wouldn't recommend it though - if you only print occasionally then there are much better (smaller and just as fast) networkable printers on the market.
I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who wants a machine that is cheap to run, who wants to print an Adobe file and, above all, wants a duplexing function - because believe me this one sucks big time. Fair enough, it might just be our printer - a one in million fault - so I won't call all 4005dn printers as complete rubbish - that wouldn't be fair to HP who are usually much better in their printer creation (my home HP 2610 confirms that) - you may genuinely have one of the decent ones out there (if so, congratulations wish we had it). My boss, though, is a very proud man and won't admit he's made a mistake and take it back whilst it is still under guarantee (personally, I think the reason it was out of stock was not because it was in demand, but because they never thought they could actually sell one and couldn't believe it when they did). It's not all bad though - it does whip through our Powerpoint handouts. I just wish it was a bit smaller, stopped screwing up on duplexing (we'd have bought an ordinary 4005n otherwise which was cheaper) and didn't chomp through the toner like me with a chocolate bar.
Sadly, overall, I have to give this printer a big thumbs down for not doing the function that distinguishes it from the cheaper 4005n version - it doesn't duplex properly.
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