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HP LaserJet Pro M227fdw UK Review: A fast MFP, but a bit costly

Written by  Simon Reeves Jan 02, 2019

On the one hand, HP's LaserJet Pro M227fdw is a slick, modern multifunction peripheral (MFP) with features such as wired and wireless networking, automatic duplex (double-sided) printing and a fancy colour touchscreen.

On the other hand, it's built around a mono laser printer, something that these days might as well run on coal. 

That said, while a mono laser isn't for everyone, they're typically more compact and cheaper to run than an equivalent colour laser. And while the best office inkjets are now very good, only a handful get close to a mono laser printer when it comes to delivering page after page of crisp black text.

If that's what you're after, the M227fdw makes a pretty good case for itself. In its base, there's a 250-sheet paper tray, supplemented by a ten-sheet “priority” feed; useful if you often use headed or special papers. Above the 150-sheet output tray, an unusually narrow bezel keeps the scanner small; it looks good, and makes it easy to grab printed pages. On top, there's a 35-page automatic document feeder (ADF), although this only supports single-sided scans, faxes or copies.

Unusually for an HP device, the M227fdw uses separate toner and drum consumables rather than a single, combined one. Given that drums always last much longer than toner, replacing them separately should reduce waste and save money. In practice, the latter advantage doesn't often materialise, and that's the case here: we calculated running costs of 2.5p per page – a good office inkjet would be cheaper. 

There's good news for anyone who mainly prints text: the M227fdw reached a heady 26.8 pages per minute (ppm) in our mono letter test, and predictably, the quality of the results was excellent: bold, sharp and very black. Whether recently used or stone cold, this printer can deliver a first page of text in just seven seconds, making it fast even in occasional use or for short jobs. Our complex graphical document slowed it down, but it still appeared at a decent 18ppm, including the time taken to spool the job. The results were unusually good, with only very mild banding and no other obvious artefacts. 

In our photocopy tests, the M227fdw cloned a single A4 page in just seven seconds – about as quick as you'll get – and copied ten pages in 49 seconds. Again, the results were about as good as we've seen from a mono device. Unfortunately, this MFP is cursed with HP's oversimplified scan software, which among other things offers a comparatively limited range of preset resolutions. Despite this, capturing documents was reasonably quick, with a 300dpi A4 scan taking 26 seconds. The results were good, particularly on office documents, but photos appeared artificially sharpened – a longstanding issue we've observed with some HP scanners.

Verdict

The LaserJet Pro M227fdw does a lot of things well. It's easy to use, generally very fast, and makes high-quality prints, scans and copies. In particular, its combination of quiet running and fast time-to-first-page would make it good for occasional use in a small office. That said, it's a shame that it isn't a bit cheaper to buy and run. It's not a bad choice if you specifically want a mono laser MFP, but the best office inkjets are cheaper to run, and not far behind on speed or quality.

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