Traditionally, multifunction printers (MFP) are not the most appealing technologies in the office. Their cryptic, monochromatic, text-based menus lead many to disdain interacting with them.
HP’s newly redesigned printer, Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw (MSRP $429.99), aims to completely change any past negative experiences, such as the infamous printer scenes depicted in “Office Space.”
The transformation is immediately noticeable from the outside with an amazingly smaller footprint and height than its predecessor (approximately 16.50” wide x 16.50” long x 12.75” tall). Also, HP lightened the paint scheme by primarily using an off-white with grey accents. Intelligently, HP used the darker colors on the more highly used area (e.g., paper and output trays) to lessen any signs of wear.
The back of the printer has the standard MFP connections for the power cord, USB, Ethernet (10/100/1000), and telephone cables. Thankfully, HP includes cables for both a USB and telephone.
Unexpectedly, the 3-inch, tilting, color LCD touchscreen interface is a dream to use. While the aforementioned is not new to printers, the touchscreen on the M277dw is more responsive then several entry-level, smartphones currently for sale. One navigates through the seven options (copy, scan, fax, USB flash drive, supplies status, apps, and setups) via swiping and tapping. Also, three buttons to the left of the touchscreen allow for going one step back, to the seven home options, or to a help menu.
About thirty apps are pre-loaded on this printer and allow for some unique functionality. One can decide to print information now and/or schedule regular printing of news, comics, recipes, forms, puzzles, and even kids activities. An exemplar is HP’s app that allows for quick printing of a calendar, graph paper, and blank sheet music. Other notable apps include delivering content from NBC News, ForbesDaily, TimesDigest, Menu Planner, U Crossword, allrecipes, Stamps.com, Nickelodeon, and Disney.
A USB plug on the front of M277dw allows for quick printing of Microsoft Word and PowerPoint files (2003 version to present) from a FAT formatted USB flash drive. Additionally, photos can be viewed in a thumbnail form on the touchscreen allowing for all or individually selected images to be printed.
Internally, this MFP holds four LaserJet Cartridges (black, cyan, yellow, and magenta). M277dw ships with a set of introductory cartridges that approximately print 1500 pages for black and 700 pages for the other three colors. Interestingly, two types of cartridges exist for this device: traditional (HP 201A) that print 1400-1500 pages and an increased capacity version (HP 201X), which prints 2300-2800 pages. According to HP, their JetIntelligence technology can yield up to 28% more pages by extending the life of the toner by monitoring the remaining toner, amount of cartridge wear, and certain environmental conditions. Additionally, these toner cartridges no longer have seals that needed to be removed by the user.
Printing is blazingly fast with the first page in all black and in color being completed in just over 11 seconds and 13 seconds, respectively. The quality of the color printing is immediately noticeable especially with eye-popping blues and deep reds. HP has made strong improvements in laser printing so much so that the finished color print is practically indistinguishable to an ink printer.
The M277dw’s paper tray holds 150 sheets as well as a multipurpose tray that can be hand-fed on the front of the printer. This device works with any of the following forms of paper: A4, A5, A6, B5, B6, 16k, post cards, labels, envelopes, and transparencies. Thankfully, HP includes automatic duplexing and an optional “Duplex Mode” for defaulting to two-sided printing so as to both aid the environment plus lower paper costs.
Scanning and copying can be accomplished via either the automatic document feeder (50 sheet capacity) or flatbed. The highest scan resolution is 1200 x 1200 dpi, while it is 300 x 420 dpi for copying. Testing of both functions resulted in superb representations of the original with scan speeds up to 21 pages/minute and copy speeds up to 19 pages/minute. Completed scans could also be emailed, sent to a folder, or put onto a USB drive connected to the front-facing port. Of note, the “infinity glass” on the flatbed scanner in which HP removed two of the recessed edges is excellent for quickly adding and removing paper to scan or copy.
This author’s favorite topic is the amount of connectivity possible with the M277dw. Of course, one can connect via the rear USB port, and like many modern printers there is support for mobile devices (AirPrint for Apple’s iPhone/iPad and just a tap for NFC-enabled products). But, then there is also HP’s ePrint where one can email content to be printed from practically anyplace in world as well as WiFi Direct Printing. The aforementioned allows one smart device or computer to connect to a WPA2-secured WiFi network (password is user changeable) that is being directly broadcast from M277dw. This technology works flawlessly and is independent of a router or other network infrastructure.
In the past, MFPs took on too many responsibilities and mastered few. Impressively, HP’s Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw is the first device of its kind that accomplishes everything that it has taken on: printing, copying, scanning, various forms of wireless connectivity, and more. HP has completely redesigned the image of multifunction printers and in the process has made the Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw immensely recommended.
Rating: 5+ out of 5