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HP M127fn review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £158
inc VAT

A good mono MFP, but it's not perfect and its print costs are too high


mono laser, 20ppm print speed, USB, 10/100 Ethernet, 309x420x365mm

The HP M127fn is a mono laser multifunction printer (MFP) with an Ethernet network connection, and although it’s cheap it doesn’t look it. However, the M127fn has a few compromises. The paper tray is a simple fold-down affair with no cover, so the top sheet will gather dust when you aren’t printing. The hinges holding the scanner lid don’t extend upwards to accommodate thick originals, and the paper output tray is squeezed in below the scanner bed. There are some neat touches, though. We like the tilting control panel which can be set in four positions so that you can see it from a low sideboard height up to eye level.

HP M127fn

Unfortunately, the controls can be difficult to use. It takes a while to learn the icons and feel your way around the fax and copy menus, and not all of the options are intuitive. Graphics on photocopies were too dark, but instead of making a simple brightness adjustment we had to switch the mode from Text to Mixed. We switched off the annoying key beep, but discovered that without it there’s no visual indicator to confirm when you’ve selected a menu item, which led to some confusion.

Happily, print quality was good. Black text was excellent, and graphics and photos were well exposed and smoothly shaded. Scans had accurate colours and, while not particularly sharp, didn’t seem to suffer from the overt processing artefacts for which we often criticise HP imaging devices. Sadly this MFP is stuck with the same over-simplified scan interface, our least favourite of any manufacturer. Among our complaints are its lack of truly advanced options, no auto marquee or exposure features and the inability to select a custom scan resolution. Compounding the latter, the preset options don’t include the otherwise universal 150 dots per inch (dpi).

HP M127fn Web Admin Screen

As with many network printers, the M127fn has a handy web-based administration interface

At 18.3 pages per minute (ppm), text printing was close to HP’s claimed 20ppm, and graphical jobs weren’t far behind at 16ppm. A single copy took just 15 seconds, but the 35-page ADF seemed lethargic, contributing to an unhurried 10-page copy time of one minute, 38 seconds. Scans were quite quick up to 600dpi, but at 1,200dpi it took just under two minutes to capture a postcard-sized photo.

HP M127fn Advanced Options

The TWAIN scan interface options aren’t particularly advanced

The M127fn uses a single consumable that combines drum and toner in one. There’s a 700-page starter toner in the box, and 1,500-page replacements cost about £47, giving high running costs of about 3.1p per page. That may not be a problem if you plan to print only a few pages a week, but in more demanding use it’s better to pay more up front for a device with lower running costs. The cheaper Epson WorkForce WF-3540DTWF inkjet offers colour printing, more features and lower page costs.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
Maximum native print resolution 600x600dpi
Max optical resolution 1,200×1,200dpi
Output bit depth 24-bit

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A4 20ppm

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two greyscale 10x8in photos 1.1 23s
Time for six greyscale 6x4in photos 1.0 27s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfaces USB, 10/100 Ethernet
Optional printer interfaces none
Size 309x420x365mm
Weight 9.1kg
Duty cycle 8,000 maximum, up to 2,000 recommended

Paper Handling

Maximum paper size A4/legal
Maximum paper weight 163gsm
Standard paper inputs 1
Standard paper input capacity 150
Maximum paper inputs 1
Maximum paper input capacity 150
Duplex (code, cost if option) No


Printer technology mono laser
Language(s) PCLm, PCLmS
Supported operating systems Windows XP or later, Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later, various Linux distributions
Maximum printer memory 128MB
Other laser features and options two-line mono LCD

Buying Information

Price £158
Consumable parts and prices £47
Price of 2nd paper cassette N/A
Warranty one year RTB

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview 12s
A4 document at 150dpi Fail
A4 document at 300dpi 14s
6x4in photo at 600dpi 24s
6x4in photo at 1200dpi 1m 53s

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.0 15s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.0 1m 38s

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies 99
Max mono copy resolution 600x600dpi

Fax Features

Max mono fax resolution 300x300dpi
Fax memory (maximum mono pages) 500