Review: HP CM1415fnw Color Laser Multifunction Printer - Page 2

By Aaron Weiss | Posted February 17, 2011

Multifunction Color Laser Printer: Print Speed and Quality

HP rates the CM1415fnw at 12 pages per minute in black and 8 ppm for color. These are both honest and modest numbers, which is to say, this printer is not fast. If you plan print just a few pages at a time, you'll probably be perfectly satisfied with this speed. But if you're needs are more demanding -- printing out hundred-page booklets for example -- the CM1415fnw may test your patience.

Likewise, HP rates the time for first color page at 32 seconds. In real-world testing, it was actually often faster than this. Again, the unit won't be winning any speed demon awards, but the first page performance is adequate for anyone with light use demands.

In spite of its mediocre speed, the CM1415fnw produces excellent print quality. Blacks are crisp and colors are vibrant. At 600 DPI, high-resolution pages look very professional. One is never advised to rely on a color laser printer for photographic prints; likewise, the CM1415fnw would not be the best choice compared to a high-quality inkjet printer for digital photography. But for color business documents, this printer holds its own against more expensive (and admittedly faster) models.

Welcome to E-print and Printer Apps

The real innovation here is less about the CM1415fnw's nuts-and-bolts and more about its integration with the Internet. With the latest HP firmware (you can update the printer by the web if need be), the CM1415fnw supports HP's e-print platform and Web services.

E-print allows you to send print jobs to the CM1415fnw from anywhere with Internet access. Once set up with an e-print account, the printer is assigned a unique email address. Using just about any email client or webmail interface, you can send an attachment to that address.

Assuming that the attachment is in a supported format (like JPG, PDF, HTML, and Microsoft Office formats) -- and that the printer is online -- it will be printed on demand. You can restrict email jobs to white--listed addresses, or leave the printer open to jobs from anyone who knows its email address.

Using the e-print Web site, you can monitor job progress and configure service settings, such as the email white-list. All in all, the service works well and is easy to use. Test jobs that I e-mailed using e-print printed without a hitch. HP also offers apps for smart phones that can use e-print to send jobs without even needing a full-fledged computer.

Speaking of apps, another innovation of HP's Web service are printer-based apps. Like a smart phone, the CM1415fnw can host its own apps. You install and manage apps using the Web services interface through a computer browser. You run the apps from the printer's touch screen interface. What kind of apps would you run on a printer?

Well, if you prefer reading the latest news in hard copy format, there is a USA Today app. Click it on the touch screen and then choose a section of the paper to print, such as "Lifestyle." The printer then connects to the Internet, downloads, and prints content from USA Today, formatted in easy-to-read paper format. It is as if your printer has suddenly turned into a newspaper press.

I particularly like the app for printing pre-formatted pages such as graph paper, college-rule lines, musical scores, and so on. Another convenient app can print blank calendar pages by the week or month. The growing list of apps is available on HP's Web service site, and you can install them to your CM1415fnw with a click on the website.

Admittedly, it is possible that many apps are gimmicky and of limited use. But the few apps that do seem useful light the way to a new and innovative type of user experience that goes beyond the average printer.

Business Printer Limitations

The CM1415fnw color laser multifunction printer really isn't suitable for the larger enterprise or heavy duty user. With its relatively limited 150 sheet paper tray and average-to-slow print speed, you are not going to crank out high volume printing with this unit. Indeed, the housing itself is composed of a lighter plastic that is consistent with its budget price. To be fair, HP recommends a duty cycle between 300-1,500 pages per month, which for a laser printer is strikingly modest.

That said, the CM1415fnw gets the basics right -- copies, scans, and print quality are solid and high quality. And it builds on this with an innovative user experience and impressive Internet integration.

Aaron Weiss a technology writer, screenwriter and Web development consultant who spends his free time stacking wood for the winter in Upstate New York. His Web site is: bordella.com

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