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HP LaserJet Pro M15w review: A great basic printer, but only for occasional use

Simon Handby
23 Oct 2018
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
75
inc VAT

Tiny, quiet and simple, the M15w would be perfect if it weren't so expensive to run

Pros 
Good print speeds
Wonderfully simple
Cons 
No control panel
Expensive running costs
Only suited to occasional use
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Not everyone needs bells and whistles. HP’s LaserJet Pro M15w is a very compact, single-function printer focused on delivering mono text and graphics.

There’s no scanner or fax modem, and you won’t need to clear an entire desktop to find somewhere to put it: with the paper trays closed, it measures 346 x 189 x 159mm (WDH). Rated at only 18ppm and with no automatic duplexing, it won’t break any productivity records, but with Wi-Fi support it’s an unobtrusive companion in a small home office.

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With no control panel, connecting the M15w to a wireless network is a choice of using Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) or letting HP’s install program configure it over a USB cable. We chose the latter, but subsequently couldn’t print to it – even though HP’s Device Toolbox software could communicate with the printer. Reinstalling cured the issue.

A simple machine, the M15w’s driver is similarly low on frills. All the basics are there, but the one option on the Advanced tab is to reverse the print order. We like the simplicity: most users just want to print with no frills.

Send a print job and the M15w immediately impresses with very quiet, clunk-free printing, again making it easy to live with. We measured a peak power use of 846W – low for a laser – while standby power was just 2W.

HP LaserJet Pro M15w review: Performance

Given this printer’s modest specifications, we were happy with our results. A first page arrived in nine seconds, after which black text appeared at 17.6ppm and complex graphics at a relaxed 8.9ppm. Two 10 x 8in photos took 48 seconds, while the printer needed a minute to print six 6 x 4in photos onto three A4 pages.

Text was as excellent as we’d expect. Mono graphics were generally good – typically for a cheap laser there was some very subtle banding – while photos appeared over-sharpened, but most users would neither notice nor care.

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HP LaserJet Pro M15w review: Verdict

A great, basic printer, then, but there’s a big “but”. The M15w arrives with a startup cartridge fit for only 500 pages. More significantly, replacements are only rated at 1,000 pages and, at the time of our test, they cost £38 each. The resulting 3.8p per page means that this excellent printer is only suited to very occasional use, which makes the M15w difficult to wholeheartedly recommend.