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HP Neverstop Laser 1202nw review: The refillable laser printer that’s super cheap to run

25 Mar 2021
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
260
inc VAT

A stupendously cheap laser printer to run, the Neverstop Laser 1202nw uses refillable tanks to save you cash

Pros 
Bottle-based refills
Good quality text prints
Can also copy and scan
Cons 
Mono only
Expensive to buy
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The HP Neverstop Laser 1202nw is a game-changing printer. Lasers usually use enormous cartridges to hold their toner, which can print plenty of pages but are expensive to replace and difficult to recycle. The HP Neverstop Laser 1202nw changes that, storing its toner in a tank. This is then refilled from plastic bottles, as with tank-based inkjet printers.

It doesn’t bring the cost of printing down as low as inkjets but anyone looking for mono printing at laser quality and speeds, without the cost and hassle of toner cartridges, should give this tank-based alternative careful consideration.

HP Neverstop Laser 1202nw review: What do you get for the money?

When you open the box, the HP Neverstop Laser 1202nw comes with enough toner to produce 5,000 mono A4 prints. It’s relatively small and light for a laser printer, measuring a mere 287 x 381 x 293mm and weighing 8.8kg.

It’s a multi-function device with an integrated scanner, so as well as printing at a maximum resolution of 600 x 600dpi, it can make copies and scan to your PC and other devices, also at resolutions up to 600 x 600dpi.

It lacks some key functions, however, the most inconvenient of which is double-sided duplex printing. It also only scans at 600dpi and its built-in control panel is basic, featuring a a single copy button and a 1.8in LCD display.

You do get an Ethernet port, though, as well as the usual USB and Wi-Fi connections. There’s also a USB port on the front that can be used to print a file straight from a USB thumbdrive.

The Neverstop’s 150-sheet paper input “tray” is a bit of an oddity. Instead of sliding it out as with most laser printers, you clip off a cover and slide your paper into a cavity in the bottom. This isn’t particularly convenient and the cover is a bit fiddly to replace.

READ NEXT: HP Envy Pro 6432 review

HP Neverstop Laser 1202nw review: What’s print quality like?

Print quality is good, with text documents appearing clear and sharply printed. Graphics and photos are obviously printed in monochrome but they come out reasonably well, too, if you don’t mind the lack of colour.

I did notice a little bit of banding on solid blocks of grey and also when transitioning through a gradient made from shades of grey, however, and fine text didn’t look quite as sharp when incorporated in a mixed colour document.

HP Neverstop Laser 1202nw review: What about speed and running costs?

The HP Neverstop Laser 1202nw’s prints work out to around 0.7p each, so it can’t match the phenomenally cheap printing of inkjet tank models, which can produce mono prints for as little as 0.2p per page. However, it’s still the cheapest laser printer to run that we’ve tested recently, cutting at least a penny per page off the nearest cartridge-based model.

The device is quick off the mark when it comes to printing, too. From standby it can warm up and produce an initial print in 14 seconds. It was also fast when producing a single mono copy, which took 13 seconds. This is better than most laser printers but inkjets are, typically, even faster.

When it comes to bigger printing jobs, the Neverstop 1202nw output a 25-page mono test print at a speed of 14ppm and a longer 50-page document at 17.4ppm. This isn’t as nippy as some similarly priced colour lasers, such as the Brother HL-L3210CW, which can get up to 16ppm on shorter runs, but it’s a similar speed to HP’s Colour LaserJet Pro M255dw. As you’d expect, however, it’s faster than most inkjets.

READ NEXT: HP OfficeJet 6950 review

HP Neverstop Laser 1202nw review: Should you buy it?

The HP Neverstop Laser 1202nw is good value to run but it needs to be, because it’s not particularly cheap to buy. For a similar price you could get a decent colour laser printer, such as the HP Color LaserJet Pro M255dw, although you’d be losing the Neverstop’s scanning and copying functions.

However, it’s a sensible purchase for anyone who simply wants lots of affordable black prints fast. The 5,000 prints you’ll get out of the box should keep most homes or small offices in prints for a good while and, when it comes to refilling, it’s a simple, bottle-based process. If you need that laser sharpness and speed without having to pay laser prices, the Neverstop is a worthy choice.

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