We tested the HP Color Laser MFP 178ngw. Despite very good print results, he did not make it into our recommendations due to his high printing costs.
A multifunctional device is practical, but until now, inkjet printers were mainly at home in their home office. Especially in the home area and home office, a multifunction printer should print in colour at least occasionally. We have adapted our selection accordingly and still got a dozen test devices together.
Although colour laser printers are still quite large and heavy, there are also changes – as you can see from our favourite. In terms of price, the multifunctional devices ranged from 100 to 550 euros and therefore not always in the favourable range. The expensive printers are often characterized by low page prices, higher media ranges and an automatic duplex ADF (Automatic Document Feeder).
We had a total of 13 laser multifunction printers in the test, 12 are still available. Here are our recommendations in the Quick Reference.
What is Laser Printer
Multifunctional devices with laser printers have been known primarily as large, heavy devices for the open-plan office. In the meantime, however, the all-rounders are not only becoming cheaper but also more compact. This makes them increasingly interesting for the home office.
Most laser all-in-one devices are still not as small and unobtrusive as inkjet multifunction devices. But they offer all the advantages of a laser printer: crisp, documentary text printing, high printing speed and, above all, no drying ink cartridges – and all this on request, of course, also in colour.
Only in one discipline do inkjet printers still have a clear lead: when printing photos. Few colour laser printers print photos of comparable quality, including our favourite. But still, if you’re mainly printing photos, you’d better look at our recommendation for the best inkjet multifunction printer. By the way, borderless printing is not possible with the vast majority of laser printers and all devices in the test.
Inkjet printers are ahead when printing photos
A plus for laser printers is the high abrasion resistance of laser printouts, whereas ink can quickly smear – especially when ink and paper quality leaves something to be desired or moisture comes into play. Most inkjet printers, therefore, do not print in a document-proof way, which means that they should not be used for contracts, for example, but it is also annoying in everyday school or university life when the ink is smeared.
In times of online franking of parcels and parcels even in the private sector, you are always on the safe side with a shipping label from the laser printer, because the shipping companies do not only work in the sunshine.
One of the biggest advantages of laser printers, however, is that their toner – the equivalent of ink – does not dry up. If you rarely print something and don’t use the device for weeks, you don’t have to worry about a laser printer going on strike at once. Inkjet printers, on the other hand, often have to clean their nozzles, a lengthy procedure that not only annoys you when you want to print something quickly but also consumes a lot of expensive ink. In extreme cases, the cartridges and the print head even need to be replaced.
Laser printers also tend to be ahead in terms of print speed, although this also depends on how much is to be printed. Since a laser printer must first bring the toner to temperature, it usually goes to the factory a few seconds later as an inkjet model. But once the laser prints, it is usually faster.
The fact that laser printers in any case print cheaper than an inkjet is a common misconception. This used to be true for black-and-white laser printers, but never for colour laser printers. In addition, the price of ink cartridges has fallen significantly in recent years.
Printing costs vary from model to model
This is why black-and-white laser printers now have a similar page price to inkjets when printing text, but colour laser printers are also significantly more expensive than inkjets when printing text. However, the differences between the different models are very large. We will therefore discuss the printing costs in detail below.
How we tested which one is Best Laser Printer
We make the beginning with the initial setup, here a catchy user interface is required, whereby for some functions such as the fax function a hard key number block can have its advantages. Most multifunction printers now use coloured touch displays, which further simplify operation.
If the multifunction printer is integrated into the network – e.B. via WPS – we start with the speed and function tests: For this purpose, the printing unit has to print a text file in 10 times copy, once (if available) in economical Eco mode and once in normal or optimal quality. We measure the speed, which you will then find on pages per minute converted in the table.
Even when printing on high-gloss glossy laser paper with a thickness of 200 g/m2, the colour-capable devices need to show how fast they work and at the same time provide the expression for controlling the photo print quality.
If available, the multifunction printers were connected to the PC via Wi-Fi. As far as the Muthu printers offered options for selecting photo paper and/or photo print presets, we naturally selected them to achieve the best quality. The paper feed is done via the manual tray and not via the cassette.
For this purpose, we output our test image in A4 format with 300 dpi into a JPG file and printed it out via the Windows 10 photo app, selecting the option »To size” so that the image is not cropped. It is important to know that none of the tested laser multifunction devices can handle borderless pressure and the width of the edges is not quite uniform.
To map arguably the most common scenario, we awakened the devices with the print job from the power-saving mode, so that the warm-up time is included in the entire print time. If several photos are printed directly in succession, the warm-up time is spread over all printouts.
During normal scanning, we also use our A4 test image, which we have the scanner (if possible) moved directly to the test folder. This measures the time it takes for the device to scan purely, including resetting the slide to its starting position, in order to avoid the influence of variables such as Wlan speed and file size. If available, we have taken over the printing costs from the printer channel.
5 Best Laser Printer In India 2021
HP Color LaserJet Pro M281fdw
Choosing the best multifunction printer is all about quality and speed when printing, scanning, and copying. The printing costs should not be neglected either.
Despite the large range of functions of a 4-in-1 device, it should still be easy to use, because you don’t want to employ an IT expert in a small office or at home. Last but not least, the device has to find space somewhere – and not only in the open-plan office according to our requirements.
Especially the latter discipline poses a certain challenge for a laser device because the toner cartridges are significantly larger than most ink cartridges. Since you need four for color printing, the device can be a bit larger than multifunction printers with ink printing. Our new favourite, the HP Color Laserjet Pro M281fdw, is following in the footsteps of its predecessor in terms of size and weight.
With a footprint of 42 x 42 centimetres, it is below the competition, sometimes even significantly. With an operating weight of just over 14 kg anyway, the Oki MC363dnw, for example, easily doubles the scales. The HP even fits on a larger desk without restricting the desktop too much. However, given the still hot debate on possible particulate matter emissions from laser printers, we should, as a precautionary measure, literally refrain from putting colleagues too close to the workplace.
Equipment and operation
With the exception of the compact Brother, MFC-L2710DN and the Kyocera Ecosys M5526cdn and all our test candidates are WI-Fi-ready, the Ecosys M5526cdw is also available here as a Wi-Fi variant.
However, Wi-Fi is not the same as Wi-Fi during the initial installation. Although all devices have the simple WPS function, it may be hidden as well as desired in the depths of the menu.
Fortunately, this is not the case with HP, which is why it is also integrated into the network. Apple’s AirPrint is supported as well as the Android counterpart WiFi-Direct, so you can print directly from your smartphone without further configuration.
Documents can also be printed from the USB stick, which is simply inserted into the easily accessible socket at the front below the display. The HP not only recognizes JPG and PDF files, but many other devices can also do the same. It even supports Word and PowerPoint documents when printing USB– a capability that is rare with printers and can be very convenient for one or the other user. Excel tables, on the other hand, cannot be printed directly from the USB stick.
Paper management is a classic division of labour; up to 250 sheets of standard paper in A4 format can be found in the cassette (paper feeder 2), above which is the so-called multi-purpose or single sheet feeder for thicker papers, label sheets, envelopes or, as in our case, coated high-gloss photo paper.
In the latter case, the HP already needed some persuasion, i.e. precise action according to instructions on the display, in order to properly incorporate the heavy, coated paper. However, all the test candidates in this respect are more or less zigzagging except for the Oki and the Brother MFC-L3750DW.
Innovative printing technology: economical and fast
As usual, HP is still relying on JetIntelligence on the Color Laserjet Pro M281fdw – the printing technology that keeps the melting point of the toner particles as low as possible, saving time during warm-up and thus energy.
This applies first during the printing process itself, and in the rest mode between the jobs, the HP nibbles less than 3 watts out of the socket. In addition, it is one of the few devices that can be completely disconnected from the mains by switching.
Fast in print and space-saving thanks to new technology
In our speed test, he was only outdone by the two professionals of Oki and Kyocera, who were able to add 20 pages per minute. He took the colour photo on A4 glossy photo paper in one minute, here only the Oki was faster. Both deliver good results here, the HP dissolves even more finely.
The HP Color Laserjet Pro M281fdw has a duplex unit. It enables automatic, double-sided printing. All devices in the test, except for the very cheap and compact HP LaserJet Pro MFP M28w, are able to do this very well throughout. So you can send the printer printed documents on both sides and they also come from the output, i.e. printed on two sides.
However, this is only a step towards convenient document management, because as long as you have the double-sided printed document electronically, everything is good, but if you want to scan paper originals double-sided, the HP needs at least some manual work – the document must then be turned to scan both sides. The correct merge then simply goes out of the interface of the scanning software.
Devices such as Oki MC363dnw, Kyocera Ecosys M5526cdw and Canon i-Sensys MF735cx go one step further: Here, only the two-sided printed original has to be placed in the automatic document feeder and the corresponding duplex function in the scan interface is selected, and you can have the scanner done. The documents are stored correctly in the previously determined folder. The double duplex works particularly well when copying, you might almost think there is an alien in the device.
In addition to copying what can be done directly on the device at the touch of a button, as is customary in larger offices, the scanner is mostly used primarily for digitization and archiving of documents. Here, the HP offers several options: Either you collect the scanned documents directly and without further ado on a stick, which you conveniently put in the front of the USB interface below the display.
Alternatively, you can create a folder on the computer or on the network, where the documents then move automatically. If you do not change the name by hand with each new document, the first assigned one is retained and only a serial number is appended, i.e. Scan, Scan1, Scan2, etc.
Scanning wherever you want – and fast
With the Color Laserjet Pro M281fdw, you can also set up different email addresses to which you could have a scanned document sent automatically.
The HP scans a DIN A4 page in about 10 seconds and that in our coloured test image in 300 dpi resolution – this is sporty and was the fastest scan in our test.
In addition to equipment and operation, a printer is of course primarily concerned with print quality. Here, too, our test winner can keep up with the best and offers a small special feature.
The differences in text printing, in which only the black toner is applied, are in the quality settings for all printers; and here the M281fdw, in particular, takes the savings measures seriously with the quality setting »Design”: The strokes are not completely filled, but the toner is used very sparingly.
With the exception of the Canon i-Sensys MF 635CX and the tiny HP LaserJet Pro MFP M28w, which can only print in one quality, all other low-quality printouts look a little paler than the optimal quality. With the larger HP, the expression appears quite coarse-grained, design quality flat. The thrift-mode printouts of the otherwise very similar Brother printers MFC-L3750DW and DCP-L3550DW are particularly pale.
With normal or (as some manufacturers say) optimal quality, none of the printers shows weaknesses, only the two Kyocera are quite generous with the toner job, which leads to a crack black print image.
Coloured printing on plain paper is almost unobjectionable on all test devices and looks particularly high-quality, especially for graphics or business papers, especially since the printing is very abrasion-resistant.
For photo printing, the Color Laserjet Pro M281fdw delivers the best overall result. There are no streaks to be seen, the detail resolution is excellent and there are no moiré effects or other artifacts. Even if the HP shows the best overall result here, none of the laser machines comes close to inkjet quality, especially if they are still working with additional photo black.
In print costs, the HP Color Laserjet Pro M281fdw is one of the more expensive printers, but not one of the most expensive. Druckerchannel’s testers calculated a page price of 16.2 cents for color printing, and only 3.3 cents for black printing (before the update: 14.2 and 2.8 cents). The two Kyocera models are significantly more economical with only 11 cents for color printing, the Canon comes to 13.5 cents, all others are significantly higher with 16 or 17 cents.
When printing in colour for one of the cheapest laser printers in the test
However, one should not concentrate solely on the toner cartridges, especially when calculating the printing costs, also the exposure unit (if not integrated) can become due after some time, which hits the budget accordingly. In addition, a laser printer requires ten times as much energy as an inkjet in the printing phase, because heat is needed to fix the toner applied to the paper, and heating consumes electricity.
HP Color Laserjet Pro MFP M281fdw in test mirror
The HP Color Laserjet Pro M281fdw has already been successful in some tests, which is mainly due to the combination of the compact design and its good work results.
In the PC Magazine (04/2018) the HP also receives a clear recommendation for operation in small offices or in the home office:
Hp’s all-in-one scores with its variety of functions in a very compact housing. Due to the low paper capacity, the device is probably something for small offices or companies.”
In the PC Welt (02/2018) he receives a “satisfactory” with a grade of 2.51 in a single test, also with the recommendation for the small office and the home workplace. There is also a “recommendation of the editors”:
The M281fdw is shortlisted if you are looking for a multifunction printer with fax function. However, the good output quality and the quite reasonable follow-up costs when using XL toner cartridges can be transferred to the entire model series. They also receive a free extension of the manufacturer’s warranty when you register your model online. In the case of the HP Color Laserjet Pro MFP M281fdw, the manufacturer succeeds in creating an overall package that deserves a recommendation from the editorial staff.”
Despite its compact dimensions, the HP’s paper cartridge can hold 250 sheets, as opposed to the 150 sheets of the Canon. Manufacturers still do not seem to have noticed that paper is usually sold in packages of 500 sheets. How practical would a 500-sheet paper cassette be! Not as an expensive accessory, but as basic equipment. Unfortunately, no manufacturer participates in this, not even with the larger models.
Oki MC363dnw Laser Printer
During the initial installation of the Oki Mc363dnw, the DVD from the scope of delivery and, if possible, the LAN connection is ideally used. If you have something leisure, you can also click through the menu for WLAN configuration and here to the WPS-supported connection setup, both are not easily accessible.
Once integrated into the network, it offers ample possibilities. Above all is the large display, which has been set aside by many buttons and a complete number pad. Ideal for the office, where there is not only a high print volume as well as an increased number of faxes.
Ideal for offices where a lot of printing and faxing is done
You can use the comfortable buttons to dial in, so you don’t have to type the fax numbers on a tiny display, as with our favourite.
In saving mode, a total of three levels can be set, allowing a very fine gradation – as required. For our test, I have chosen the most economical graduation, with the palest print result. The Oki Mc363dnw takes about the same time for the printouts at each level.
Glossy paper cannot be selected decisively, but the result can be seen unless it is naturally matte. The paper handling is very good here, especially the single sheet feeder works very reliably and copes best with the 200-gram high-gloss paper. However, there are weaknesses in the detail resolution.
The Oki Mc363dnw is a reliable choice for high-pressure offices where multiple people work with the 4-in-1 device.
Kyocera Ecosys M5526cdw
The Kyocera Ecosys M5526cdw is quite a heavyweight with its almost 30 kilos and is far from compact because of the largest height. At least part of the weight and volume is made up of the huge toner cartridges (pictured), which are stuck behind a flap on the side and occupy a large part of the case.
In addition to the large touch display, the Kyocera also has many hard keys, including the mandatory number pad. With its automatic duplex scan (two scan lines, therefore unnecessary) it is also suitable for more complex document management, as is the one in medium and large offices. The large range of functions with detailed configuration options (rights management, sorting, etc.) does not quite reach the level of the considerably more expensive Canon i-Sensys M735cx but should be sufficient for most workgroups.
Overall, the operation went well, but the Kyocera was always annoyed with questions: Should the loaded paper really be used? Are you sure you want to shut down the printer? While the two colourable Brother newcomers in the test (3550, 3750) immediately offer to refrain from the respective demand in the future, the gearing of the 5526cdw (and cdn) cannot be deactivated.
It is good to know that the Kyocera Ecoysys M5526cdw is also very economical and does not burden the budget too much even when it is purchased. If you want to save a little more and don’t need Wi-Fi, use the Kyocera Ecosys M5526cdn variant for about 20 euros less.
If you print directly from the macOS menu, the Eco-Print cannot be activated, but with the associated app, it offers a three-stage quality gradation.
During the scans, the edges are artificially sharpened, which is supposed to disguise the fact that the detail resolution does not quite reach the level of our favourite. Unnecessary artifacts and highlights are created that are not present on the template.
The Kyocera Ecoysys M5526cdw can play its qualities as a thrift fox especially in high-pressure environments.
HP LaserJet Pro MFP M28w
The very low-cost but also minimalistic HP LaserJet Pro MFP M28w is one of the most compact laser multifunction devices ever purchased by a very limited range of functions and the absence of colour printing. The functions it offers can be found in the screenshots from the photo gallery below.
Paper is fed via an open feeder, which is folded down and requires additional space during operation. An automatic template feeder is missing, as is duplex printing and duplex scanning. Scanning (also in colour) can only be done from the computer, copying is possible on the device, here you can also make basic settings such as the number of copies. But the tiny LC display with its two digits and few symbols does not give much.
Printing media are processed up to a thickness of 120 g/m2, so that standard laser photo paper (200 g/m2) should not be used, but who wants to use this with a black-and-white printer? The open paper feeder holds 150 sheets of plain paper, the output tray 100 sheets.
The quality of text printing in single mode is perfect. Text scans are also neat, with the scan from the HP scan app being too compressed, which cannot be changed. The scan is better with the alternative app HP Smart. The scan of the colour photo (just under 9 MP) shows a very good colour reproduction, but suffers from a very limited contrast range, so that dark image area in a uniform black. The driver has some adjustment options here, but we haven’t tried them.
The Muthu printer can be connected via USB A or Wi-Fi and also masters Wi-Fi Direct for printing from smartphones using the HP Print apps, Apple AirPrint, Mopria and Google Cloud Print. The brother M28a comes without Wi-Fi and costs 10 to 20 euros less.