HP LaserJet 3055 review
Inkjet multifunction peripherals (MFPs) are great if you need to make colour prints or copies, but one based on a laser printer is better if you want high-speed mono prints.
HP's LaserJet 3055 combines a mono laser printer, scanner, copier and fax machine in one device.
Though the LaserJet 3055 is larger than a simple laser printer, it's lighter than it looks and fairly easy to set up. The printer's single consumable must be dropped into place and you'll have to unpick HP's liberal application of orange sticky tape before you can fit the three plastic paper covers and guides.
Many of HP's networkable laser printer products use an excellent install program, but the LaserJet 3055's is like the one bundled with many HP inkjets. It offers only two types of installation: a Typical option that requires 250MB of disk space, and a 150MB Minimum installation. As with all recent HP installers we've seen, the LaserJet 3055's program discovered the printer on our network and completed with no errors. Frustratingly, its install confirmation dialog could be dismissed only by clicking a restart button.
The LaserJet 3055 has a claimed print speed of 18ppm. It reached 17.2ppm in both our text tests, producing black text with smooth outlines. It slowed down when printing our Normal test. Although it delivered good-quality greyscale graphics, photos were a little too pale and lacked contrast. Grey text was printed with a reasonably coarse dither pattern, leading to jagged outlines.
Document copies that we made using the default settings had strong black text, but graphics on the page were far too dark. We tried lightening copies using the LaserJet's control panel, but this made other parts of the page too light. The LaserJet has several copy modes suited to different types of original document. We achieved the best results with pages of mixed text and graphics when using the Photo setting.
MFPs are often let down by a weak scanner; this proved to be the case with the LaserJet 3055. Preview scans were slow, taking around 24 seconds each, but final scans are sent to the imaging application without the scanner making a second pass, so a 300dpi scan takes around 30 seconds. Images were sharp enough for simple office work, but colours were overly bright and didn't seem very faithful to the original.
The LaserJet 3055 is simple to use, but costs more to run than Konica Minolta's PagePro 1380MF, reviewed in What's New, Shopper January 2006. Its prints, scans and copies aren't as good, either. The LaserJet is fine if you need its Ethernet capability, but otherwise we recommend the PagePro 1380MF or the fax-capable PagePro 1390MF