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Serious Hardware

Colour lasers, a luxury or necessity?

The LaserJet 5500, launched in Belgium at the middle of September 2002 not only looks like a workhorse but also performs like one.

No, you first have to install the software on your PC and then input the network settings before you can even begin to print. Once that’s done, you have to load all the printer cartridges and then sit back for a couple of minutes while it calibrates itself.

Installing the software is pretty basic, just stick in the CD, follow the instructions and you can’t go wrong. Once the software is installed on your computer, you have to input a couple of network setting on the printer. If you have no network knowledge you might be a little intimidated when asked for things like IP addresses and network names, but a quick read up in the manual will tell you exactly what’s what. The printer’s menu is fairly easy to navigate and should you forget where a certain setting should be changed, just refer to the menu tree printout in the manual. We were very pleased to see that the toner levels were displayed on the printer’s LCD display. This is far better than older printers where you had to check the levels on the computer that it is installed on. Loading paper was also no hassle at all. Simply pull the paper tray out, add a wad and close. If for some reason you do get a paper jam, fear not, as there is only one door to open to clear all jams, no matter where they occur in the printer.

Our monochrome test was no problem for the hp 5500, it started printing the first page before we had even taken our hand off the mouse. Colour pages were also no problem. We were astonished by the picture quality we got from the printer, we thought it was better than a lot of inkjets we had tested. One thing that was advertised all over the box was its ease of use and we couldn’t agree more, this is one of the easiest printers to troubleshoot

We thought it was really good value for money, especially for small/medium-sized businesses. They can replace all their colour and laser printers with one or two of these machines and cut down dramatically on administration and consumables. After all, two printers are easier to maintain and keep an eye on than twenty.

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