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The thought of printer research often fills me with dread each time I need to consider buying a printer. It’s not like a small or large household appliance where I know most brands, or what features are of going to be of use compared to the outlandish claims. When it comes to printers I tend to buy brands that I know aren’t going to let me down, or brands and their associated products I’ve worked with that have surprised me. Since working at many schools, I've since recommended many devices, not necessarily new but certain products that go the distance. When I first asked for a printer for use in my room, the plea didn't go unnoticed but it did take a long time for the school at the time to give me a printer I could install and put into my room. I nearly considered bringing my own recently purchased Canon 3 in 1 printer, but the space for it would have to be allocated since space in my classroom was at a premium. Instead I eventually brought in my old HP 2180 all in one printer scanner but as usual the software installations made it difficult to work with networked school computers, both with PC and MAC systems. I dreaded getting another HP and as it so happened, I got the HP 1015 LaserJet from another department who happened to have a "spare one," lying around and from new it cost the school something in the region of a very much capped discount price of £65. Currently the HP 1015 new is usually priced between £80 and £100. I've since seen the same printer in charity shops and it seems to be a very popular model. Has the dread been ironed out by experience then?
Nar2’s Quick Skip Product Spec
• 23cm by 37cm and height of 21cm. • 100 to 150 A4 sheet tray capacity. • 1200dpi resolution with optical 600 by 600dpi, • 14 pages per minute (ppm) per A4. • Horizontal paper path & priority feed slot. • USB 2.0 connectivity with plug-and-play software. • Weight of 5.9kg • General price in 2010 £65 to £100-00. • General price in 2012 £45 to £50 EBay or Gumtree refurbished. • Compatible with XP, Vista, ME, Mac 10.5 and upwards.
General Design& Quality
Measuring 23cm by 37cm and a height of roughly 20 to 21 cm, the HP 1015 is a very nifty and compact laser jet printer that sits directly next to my Apple MAC computer screen. I was chuffed to bits that I didn't have to move anything out of the
way and the printer itself is very easy to get into to change over tanks including the black toner tank. In terms of controls there are three buttons - cancel, activation and re-print - very simple and intuitive and two orange/green LED lights that comes on to show when the HP 1015 is on and if there's a problem. The HP 1015 can accept up to 100 sheets of A4 paper on its bottom feeder tray at the front and there's a height adjustable paper locker fitted into the opening flap where you can adjust the size of the paper to lock in as well as apply individual sheets if you want priority printing – i.e. for business users this is a great printer to work with!
Overtime when not in use however paper can be locked into the printer but the flap has to be pushed down so that the front flap can be closed over. A flap at the top of the HP 1015 permits the printed-paper to sit directly after it has been printed - and this is very important to fold out whenever you are printing paper or waiting for it to emerge at the top of the machine. As for plastics, the latter tray feels flimsy but at least its design allows the weight of paper regardless of how many sheets you may print in one go.
The actual printer itself is reasonably well made too, the grey and black accents contribute to hiding scratches well enough and the whole unit does have a quality feel to it aside from the paper tray. The weight of the HP 1015 is roughly 6kg and when bought brand new you'll have to supply yourself with a USB cable although it does come with a UK power cord, spare tanks and a CD-Rom with additional software for bonus printing features like photographs and duo colour printing.
Compared to my domestic Canon all in one bubble jet printer, a laser jet printer is just so incredibly fast! I was so impressed with the printer that I eventually bought one myself at a cost of £70 at the end of the year off EBay.
In terms of general use and performance, I find the HP 1015 is a very easy printer which is reliable and quick to task. It prints paper out so efficiently and effectively; I can see why it is popular in schools and offices. For those who love stats then, 1200dpi resolution with optical 600 by 600dpi may well look old fashioned than the current printers' capabilities today but for simple printing I find the fast rate and quality generally very good without many inaccuracies. The HP 1015 roughly does 14 to 15 pages per minute and the printer does it without being overly noisy; a good point since most printers these days have replaced the motors with efficiency of features and put motor noise to one side. I find the HP 1015 is a lot quieter than my more modern and passed on HP all in one 2180 model that was fairly cheaply priced and could only take 10 sheets of A4 at a time.
Maintenance & Tank Costs
The wonderful aspect about this printer is that you don’t have to fish out the user manual when it comes to general maintenance, changing colour tanks or even the toner tank and if anything gets caught, the front tray and paper feeders are really easy to locate on this machine – a great upside to the old fashioned look/downside to this machine in general! I've only had one minor clog in two years where paper got stuck but could be pulled out in one piece without it tearing or simply open the top cover and gently pull the paper out. Sometimes the HP 1015 will detect a clog and helpfully just push the paper out for you!
For toner changing, it's the top half of the printer lid, which can be unlocked and swung upwards in order to change the tank. Indeed it has been roughly a year and a half since the last toner tank was replaced (teachers and classroom assistants tend to write the date as a reminder) and with a 2000 page duration, the replacement costs the school £45 but online the cheapest I have seen is between £15 to £28.
Here is where the differences between bubble jet and laser ink becomes more apparent. Depending on the amount you print, the HP 1015 isn't worth the time financially if you don't print a lot of documents. The toner cartridges are separately filed under each colour available such as blue, cyan, yellow and magenta. As such HP's original pricing can range up to £60 to £80 each time, bearing in mind that the colours can last up to 30000 pages depending on what you are actually printing. My own HP 1015 has its original colour tanks on board and they don't look like they will need replacing just yet.
The cost prices do vary especially for the HP 1015 ink cartridges these days and due to our recession I no longer use one company but several private companies because of ever changing prices. EBay are good but Amazon tend to be better with both refurbished tanks between £20 and £25 compared to the asking price of £44 to £56 for the original "HP Original Q2612A Laser Cartridge Black 12A.” You can shop around until doomsday for this latter ink cartridge, but in my experience, the refurbished tanks from other companies fit for use in the HP are just as good and not as expensive!
In my experience one of the downsides to the HP 2180 was it's increasingly difficult to install software. It had too many windows popping up showing the owner that paper is being printed and the whole system embedding itself into the hard drive taking and replacing everything such as documents and photos and putting it into HP's additional photo shop software. None of that nonsense here though - the HP 1015 comes with pre-installed software that covers the basics, from installing the drivers (and you can easily update them online) to a basic print/cancel menu. Nothing about embedding hard drives and putting documents and all manner of printable content into another HP folder, either! The HP 1015 installs easily on Windows XP, Vista and current MAC systems with very little input. Be warned however; do not sign up to register HP products because you'll be forever inundated with special offers and constant reminders to buy tanks!
The downsides to the HP 1015 are very few and far between. For high glossy printing I've noticed that the HP 1015 can promote a very good colour generally and when it comes to printing out, the colour speed is roughly just an inch slower than normal black to white paper printing.
Another issue is the fold out paper tray at the top of the printer where the final printed paper job completes; if you don't fold out the plastic holder, printed paper often falls down the smooth and curved fascia at the front and can often re-insert the paper into the bottom paper tray and be printed over again! This has happened to me on more than one occasion!
Another downside is that there is no tank or ink percentage window to show how high or low the ink is going. The age of this printer is a quite a few years old and you often have to guess by judging how thin the ink is going simply by printing something out.