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HP LaserJet Pro M451dn review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £248
inc VAT

It's a competent colour laser, but due to high print costs, HP's sluggish M451dn doesn't exactly set the heart pounding

HP’s LaserJet Pro M451dn is a lesson in inoffensive product design. Its white front and top panel integrate nicely with the black base and sides, with a few curves thrown in just to soften things up. This is the ideal laser printer for those who hate getting their hands dirty; it takes just four consumables, all held in a tray which pulls out from behind the front panel. On the top edge there’s a control panel with a backlit mono display, but there’s no USB host port for direct printing.

This printer’s 250-sheet paper cassette glides smoothly out of its base, while above it there’s a multipurpose feed rated for 50 sheets or 10 envelopes. Printing a DL-sized envelope took a while, but it worked perfectly the first time, with no significant creasing or curving. The curved output tray has a paper stop which pulls out and flips up, but we didn’t find it necessary for A4 print jobs up to 25 pages long.

Laser printers are often fairly loud, and those which aren’t tend to be slow. That’s certainly true of the M451dn, which is one of the quietest laser printers in its class, but it could only manage 16.7 pages per minute (ppm) when printing 25 pages of black text. It was closer to the competition in our complicated colour graphics test, reaching a competent 8.8ppm. In practice, the printer’s quick time-to-first-page of less than 20 seconds whether warm or cold should help it keep pace with other printers in its class during shorter jobs.

This printer is unusually efficient for a colour laser, with a peak power use of 811 watts, and a total consumption of 40 watt-hours over our entire test suite. An inkjet would use less electricity, however: Epson’s WorkForce Pro WF-5110DW peaked at just 20W and consumed less than a quarter of this total over the same tests. The M451dn takes a high-yield black cartridge, rated at 4,000 pages, and standard colour cartridges good for 2,600 pages each. Using these, print costs work out at a disappointing 1.7p per black page, or 11p in black and colour.

We couldn’t fault this printer’s text quality: characters were dark black, with razor-sharp outlines. We had mixed feelings about its graphics, however. Colour fills and graduation were very smooth and the print finish was consistent, but although the colours in all our tests were bold they also lacked saturation, leaving the output slightly drab when compared to the best competitors. Our black and white photo looked more dingy than moody.

This printer is quiet and easy to maintain. Its driver is very easy to use, and HP’s mobile printing apps are excellent. There’s also great support for Cloud printing, including the option to send print jobs via email from any device, anywhere. However, it’s also slow and a bit expensive to run, with so-so graphic prints. Overall, the M451dn left us unmoved.

TechnologySingle-pass colour laser
Maximum print resolution600x600dpi
Number of colours (cartridges)4 (4)
Standard interfacesUSB, Ethernet
Optional interfaces802.11b/g Wi-Fi
Dimensions (HxWxD)322x405x484mm
Duty cycle (pages per month)40,000 (max), 750-2,000 (recommended)
Paper handling
Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
Maximum paper weight220gsm
Standard paper trays (capacity)2 (300)
Maximum paper trays (capacity)3 (550)
Supported operating systemsWindows XP or later, Mac OS X 10.5 or later, various Linux distributions, Android, iOS
LanguagesPCL 5c, PCL 6, PostScript 3
Other featuresTwo line backlit mono display
Buying information
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Consumable parts and pricesHigh-yield black cartridge 305X (4,000 pages) £68. Cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges 305A (2,600 pages each), £80 each.
Quoted life of supplied black toner1,400 pages (ISO/IEC 19798)
Quoted life of supplied colour toner1,400 pages each (ISO/IEC 19798)
Cost per ISO/IEC 24712 A4 page inc VAT11.0p
Cost per ISO/IEC 24712 A4 page inc VAT (colour part)9.3p
Cost per ISO/IEC 24712 A4 page inc VAT (mono part)1.7p
Capacity of supplied drum/s (pages)N/A
Part codeCE957A