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HP LaserJet Enterprise 700 Printer M712dn Review
The HP LaserJet Enterprise 700 Printer M712dn is a workhorse monochrome laser printer that can churn out documents at up to tabloid size.
- Prints at tabloid size
- Low running costs
- Good paper capacity
- Slightly sub-par overall output quality
- Sub-par text quality
- High sticker price
Relatively few business printers can print at up to tabloid size (11-by-17), and the HP LaserJet Enterprise 700 Printer M712dn is a welcome addition to that club, bringing very good paper handling, low running costs, and good speed. Although its output quality could be better, the M712dn is a good choice for high-volume black-and-white printing, including at tabloid size.
Unlike most of the tabloid printers we’ve tested in the past few years, the M712dn is a monochrome printer. It measures 15.4 by 22.4 by 23.4 inches (HWD) and weighs 85 pounds, too big to share a desk with, and you’ll want at least two people to help move it into place. The M712dn has a 600-sheet standard paper capacity, between two 250-sheet input trays and 100-sheet multipurpose feeder. (One of the two 250-sheet trays, plus the feeder, can handle tabloid-sized paper.) An abundance of feeders, extra trays, and floor-standing cabinets are available as accessories. This printer has an automatic duplexer for printing on both sides of a sheet of paper. It has a maximum monthly duty cycle of 100,000 pages, making it suitable for reasonably heavy-duty printing.
The M712dn is ePrint enabled; HP assigns an e-mail address to the printer (which you can later customize), you can send documents to that address, and the printer will automatically print them out (as long as it’s connected to the Internet).
The M712dn is the middle model of three related printers. The M712n ($1,899 direct) is the simplex version, lacking the M712dn’s auto-duplexer (and its Energy Star cred). The M712xh ($2,899 direct) adds a secure hard disk and a 500-sheet paper tray in addition to all the M712dn’s features.
The M712dn offers USB and Ethernet (including Gigabit Ethernet) connectivity. I tested it over the Ethernet connection with a PC running Windows Vista. As for drivers, this printer has PCL plus HP’s PostScript emulation, though only the PCL driver installs by default.
I timed the M712dn on the latest version of our business applications suite (using QualityLogic‘s hardware and software for timing), at 9.9 effective pages per minute (ppm), decent for its rated speed of 40 pages per minute—which should be about the speed you would get if you were to print text only. (Our test suite combines text pages, graphics pages, and pages with mixed content.) It’s a respectable speed, though many mono lasers are faster—the Editors’ Choice Dell B5460dn , for example, zipped through our tests at 18.7 ppm.
However, none of the mono lasers we’ve tested in recent years other than the M712dn can print at tabloid size. I recently timed the Editors’ Choice Xerox Phaser 7100/N, a tabloid color printer rated at 30 pages per minute, at 7.9 ppm on the same tests—though it output most of the pages in color. I clocked another tabloid-sized color printer, the Dell 7130cdn at 8.3 ppm.
Overall output quality for the M712dn was slightly below par for a mono laser, with sub-par text, average graphics, and typical photo quality. With text there was a tendency for some letter pairs to be run together at larger sizes than usual, but even sub-par laser text is fine for typical business use. Just make a point of avoiding smaller type sizes.
In a couple of illustrations, the printer had trouble rendering distinctions between slightly different shades. Though the printer is otherwise fine for printing basic PowerPoint presentations or charts in a report, at least for in-house use, you’d have to be careful that different sections in a pie or bar chart, for instance, are distinguishable from each other.
Photo quality is suitable for printing out recognizable images from Web pages, and perhaps for photos in client newsletters, depending on how picky you and the client are. A couple of prints showed mild banding (a pattern of faint striations), most showed dithering (graininess), and there was some loss of detail in both bright and dark areas.
Running costs for the M712 are a low 1.3 cents per page, beating out the Dell 7130cdn’s cost per monochrome page of 1.7 cents and the Xerox 7100/N’s 2.2 cents.
As a monochrome laser, the M712dn offers good paper handling, including the ability to print at tabloid size, low running costs, and decent speed. Its output quality is good enough for typical in-house business use. The Editors’ Choice Xerox Phaser 7100/N has a smaller paper capacity, higher running costs, and lacks an auto-duplexer, though one is available on the Xerox 7100/DN ($1,800). It sells at a lower price, though, its output quality is better than the M712dn’s, and it can print not just monochrome but color at tabloid size.
If your business isn’t too picky about output quality, doesn’t require color, and you need to print in high volume, the HP LaserJet Enterprise 700 Printer M712dn could well be your preferred tabloid-sized workhorse printer. It has a relatively high monthly duty cycle, very low running costs (allowing you to recoup your relatively large investment over time), and good paper capacity; you can keep one tray loaded with tabloid-sized paper, the other with letter or legal, and the multipurpose tray free for other paper types or sizes.
By Tony Hoffman, PCMag
- Printer Category: Laser
- Type: Printer Only
- Color or Monochrome: Monochrome
- Technology (for laser category only): Laser
- Connection Type: USB, Ethernet
- Maximum Standard Paper Size: Tabloid
- Direct Printing from Cameras: No
- Rated Speed at Default Settings (Mono): 40 ppm
- Print Duplexing: Automatic