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HP LaserJet Pro M28w review: We’d rather have an inkjet

Expert Reviews Staff
6 Jan 2020
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
98
Inc VAT

HP’s LaserJet Pro M28w is small and simple, but limited

Pros 
Excellent black text print quality
Cons 
Lack of features
Expensive running costs
Slow print times
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If your idea of a laser printer is something too big, hot and noisy to share a desk with, HP’s LaserJet Pro M28w might be a pleasant surprise. It’s a multifunction peripheral built around a basic mono laser printer, and the end result is about as compact as a typical home office inkjet MFP. With no vents to spew hot air, and a slow-ish 18ppm print engine keeping the noise down, it’s as easy to live with as laser devices get.

HP LaserJet Pro M28w review: Features

Politely, we’d suggest that ‘Pro’ is something of a misnomer for this strictly no-frills device. It has no automatic document feeder for multipage copies, no automatic double-sided printing, no fax modem, and just a basic, uncovered paper input tray. There’s also no front panel USB slot for walk-up printing or scanning with a USB drive, and no fancy control panel: just a set of buttons and indicators with a rudimentary LCD screen.

What you do get is a small mono MFP you can share via a wireless network, and with that in mind the LaserJet Pro M28w isn’t bad at all. It’s fairly easy to set up, although we found that the installed print driver wouldn’t process any jobs; we used the version automatically installed by Windows 10. HP’s TWAIN scan interface, which we’ve criticised before for being oversimplified, is fine for this MFP’s target market. However, while HP’s website lists the maximum scan resolution as 1,200dpi – which the scanner is technically capable of – the software limits it to 600dpi. An HP rep told us the marketing materials would be updated to reflect this, although it’s still pretty strange that the scanner wouldn’t be allowed to operate at its highest capabilities.

HP LaserJet Pro M28w review: Performance

The M28w has no discernible warm-up time, so whether it’s been unused for a minute or a week it can chuck out a first page of text in nine seconds. It produced 25 pages of black text at 16.7ppm, and delivered our graphics test at 7.1ppm; both quite leisurely results by laser standards. Over a wireless connection, two 10x8in images completed in 42 seconds, and three pages containing six 6x4in photos needed nearly a minute; both very slow, but acceptable for a budget device. At 11 seconds, single-page photocopies were quick.

HP’s scan software only offers 200, 300 and 600dpi resolutions, so we couldn’t complete all of our standard tests, but scanning an A4 page at 300dpi over Wi-Fi took a reasonable 22 seconds. At 55 seconds, scanning a 6x4in photo at 600dpi was on the slow side.

Quality-wise, we were generally happy with our test results. Black text was excellent, while graphics and photos were entirely free of the banding typical of a cheap laser printer. We did notice evidence of sharpening – artificially strengthening the boundaries between shades – which made photos in particular look slightly artificial. We’ve often applied a similar criticism to scan results from HP devices: here our photo scan seemed less artificial than others, but also not especially crisply focused.

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HP LaserJet Pro M28w review: Verdict

The LaserJet Pro M28w is only equipped with a 500-page print cartridge, and replacement consumables last for only twice that. With running costs of 3.9p per page, it’s hard to suggest buying this MFP, particularly given that an equivalent inkjet would be almost as fast, and would doubtless offer more features.

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