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HP LaserJet Pro M476dn review

Simon Handby
19 Jan 2015
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
317
inc VAT

Page 1 of 2HP LaserJet Pro M476dn review

HP's LaserJet Pro M476dn is a mixed bag, ultimately let down by high print costs

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HP's LaserJet Pro M476dn is a colour laser multifunction peripheral (MFP) aimed at home and small office use. It's reasonably well equipped for the price, supporting wired networks, and capable of printing and scanning to a USB flash drive. Not only can it print automatically on both sides of a sheet of paper (duplex printing), but it can scan both sides of a sheet in a single pass - quicker and less likely to jam than mechanically turning the paper over. Control is via a colour touchscreen which leaves the front panel free of clutter, but we're not sure this is HP's finest effort - it seemed slow to respond at times, and doesn't accept swipe gestures.

This is quite a smart MFP, and in areas it feels particularly well built. The 50-page automatic document feeder (ADF) sits on strong hinges which extend up to allow the lid to close flat on thick originals such as a magazine. The 250-sheet paper cassette glides in and out smoothly rather than clattering about.

Unfortunately, the tray itself is unimpressive, feeling thin and flexible, and with the paper orientation stamped into the bottom plate in a way that it's covered up the moment you load it with paper; not great if you want to manually print on the flip side of a few pages, for example. If you're printing 50 sheets or fewer you could use the multipurpose feed that folds down from the front panel. With only an optional 250-sheet paper feed available, there's limited scope to expand this MFP.

The M476dn is simple to set up and install, aside from an odd question where you must decide if it will be self-managed, IT-managed, or whether it will print a configuration sheet. We guessed at self-managed and seemed to get on fine after that, although like many printers the default settings include sending usage data back to the manufacturer: we've no idea why this is so widespread, or why it's always selected by default.

While we're complaining about HP's software, it's unfortunate that this MFP uses the same over-simplified scan interface that we so often criticise. This has no automatic selection or exposure settings, has an advanced settings page that doesn't include any particularly advanced settings, and offers a limited range of preset resolutions which doesn't include 150 dots per inch (dpi) - a common setting which we use for one of our timed tests.

On devices with an ADF, such as this one, it's not possible to select resolutions above 300dpi unless you specify the platen glass as the document source, so it's odd that the software's photo setting doesn't do this for you. The interface remembers neither preview images nor user-defined settings between sessions, unless you save the latter manually.

Fortunately, things are vastly better elsewhere. HP's simple print driver works well here, using shortcuts to cover the vast majority of print jobs. As an example, we loaded an envelope in the multipurpose feed, selected the envelope shortcut, changed the size from the default size 10 to DL and got perfect results first time, which is surprisingly rare.

Page 1 of 2HP LaserJet Pro M476dn review