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HP M277dw review

Low front right, LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £227
inc VAT

HP's LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw is smart and easy to use, but it's let down by poor colour prints

According to HP, the Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw represents the ‘most significant laser printing re-engineering’ since the first LaserJet appeared in 1984. Alongside new toners, HP claims quicker first page times and faster duplex (double-sided) printing, a 40 per cent size reduction, and up to a 53 per cent cut in power consumption.

First impressions are certainly excellent: the uncluttered and compact design is topped off with a snazzy colour touchscreen, that turns out to be as brilliant as those seen on other recent HP printers. It makes it easy to set the device up, and access core and advanced features alike. The latter include scanning to and printing from a USB stick, and access to downloadable apps which range from useful forms and printable podcasts, to child-friendly activity sheets.

HP All-in-One Remote screenshot, LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw

HP provides a range of mobile apps, plus a printing service for Android. Here we’re using All-in-One Remote on Android

Web admin interface, LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw

Administer the M277dw remotely via its web interface

Compact it may be, but this MFP’s surprising heft reveals that it’s a marvel of packaging. At the top, the scanner bed is comparatively shallow and the lipless platen glass makes it easy to retrieve original documents. Although it sits low over the printer’s output tray, it’s easy to fish out printed pages without lifting the scanner bed up. There are compromises, however, most notably in the miserly 150-sheet paper cassette, which can’t be upgraded. At least there’s a single-page multipurpose slot above it for flexibility.

For a colour laser, the M277dw is quick to start printing, delivering a first page of text in 14 seconds, or a page of graphics in 15 seconds. After an hour sitting idle, it needed only an extra second for each test. It approached HP’s claimed 18 pages per minute (ppm) in our tests, managing 16ppm over 25 pages of text, and a speedy 13.6ppm over 24 graphics-rich colour pages. It was an impressively quick photocopier, needing just 14 seconds for a single black A4 page, or 48 seconds for 10 colour pages. Duplex printing was indeed quick, with 10 sides printing onto five pages in 78 seconds.

Print interface, colour options, LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw

Shortcuts cover everyday printing jobs

HP has updated its TWAIN scanning software with a new interface, but unfortunately we’re still not keen. There is still only a narrow range of pre-defined resolutions, and precious little in the way of advanced options, while we found the interface behaviour inconsistent in places. On the plus side, high-resolution scans no longer look as heavily processed. They’re still not great, but in general scan quality is comfortably up to office work. Unfortunately we were less convinced by colour prints and photocopies, which looked drab. We experimented with the available colour options, but couldn’t improve them.

Re-designed TWAIN scan interface, LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw

HP has updated its TWAIN scan interface. We still don’t like it

Print driver interface, LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw

We couldn’t find a print option that produced lively colour graphics or especially realistic photos

This MFP’s four consumables are available in two capacities. Using the high-yield versions, running costs work out at 9.2p per page of mixed text and graphics. That’s quite reasonable for a colour laser MFP at this price, but an equivalent office inkjet would be half as much or better. While the M277dw is mostly a pleasure to use, and is strong in areas, it’s let down by its colour print quality. We’d choose Epson’s WorkForce Pro WF-5620DWF, which offers the bonus of lower running costs. If that printer doesn’t suit your needs then check out our Best Printers 2015 and buying guide.