HP's LaserJet Pro 100 MFP M175nw is HP's smallest colour multifunction printer (MFP), having copier, scanning and print capabilities [see picture].
The M175nw was launched in July and weighs in at about 19kg (35lbs), measures 441 x 421 x 338mm, and is aimed at small to midsize businesses, but would be useful in home offices or very small businesses.
We reviewed the network model, the M175nw. There is also a model without the networking functions, the M175a, which has just a USB 2.0 port to connect locally to desktops or USB hubs. Our M175nw had a 10/100Mbit/s LAN adaptor and an 802.11b/g/n wireless card.
Print resolution is 600 x 600 dots per inch (dpi), while scanner resolution is 1200 x 1200 dpi.
The copier function gives a resolution of 300 x 300 dpi for both black text and graphics and colour text and graphics, with speeds up to 16 copies per minute (cpm) for black-only documents and up to 4cpm for colour documents.
You can copy up to 99 pages in a single pass, and it is possible to resize documents in the range 25 to 400 per cent.
The M175nw has a 600MHz ARM 11 embedded processor, and can have a maximum of 128MB of memory onboard, which our review sample had and is the standard amount. The monthly A4 duty cycle for the M175nw is up to 20,000 pages.
Duplex printing is manual only: you have to flip the sheet over to print on both sides.
Claimed print speed for black and white pages is up to 16 pages per minute, with a "first page out" (FPO) time of up to 15.5 seconds. For colour copy, claimed print speed is up to four pages, with an FPO of 27.5 seconds.
Documents are scanned using HP's Scan software installed on a local PC or laptop, or can be driven by Windows Technology Without An Interesting Name (TWAIN), or Windows Image Acquisition (WIA)-compliant applications, while only TWAIN-compliant Mac programs can drive the scanner.
There is also a Readiris optical character recognition supplied on a separate CD.
The front panel display is a two-line 16-character monochrome LCD model [see picture].
HP’s Smart Install feature makes installing the M175nw printer drivers a lot easier and quicker than a normal printer install.
We've installed a lot of HP (and other) printers in the past, and it has taken up to 20 minutes to get them up and running.
The theory behind Smart Install is that it overrides Windows, locating all drivers on the printer itself, rather than on desktop PC systems.
We installed everything – wired and wireless print functions – in less than 8 minutes.
However, HP’s automatic printer detection software used as part of the install process didn’t pick up our M175nw on the network, and we had to input the IP address manually after finding it on the network using SolarWind’s LANsurveyor program.
This means that users who aren't able to pick out the IP address could have problems during the install.
Colour reproduction as observed on our test prints was good for the price of the system, but the copier print quality left something to be desired. Although text was picked out well enough, blocks of colour came out very unevenly in our test copy.
The ePrint function allows users to print to the M175nw from, theoretically, anywhere in the world, although we used the service to print from our test laptop to the M175nw located in our Labs, two floors down in the building.
All that you have to do is set up an HP ePrint account through HP's ePrintCenter, and register the printer you want to use so that it gets a unique email address [see picture].
A big advantage for users is that no print drivers need to be installed locally on the device to allow it to print documents.
Document support includes Excel, Outlook, PDF, PowerPoint, standard text and Word files, with image file format support including BMP, Gif, Jpeg, PNG and Tiff.
The document to be printed is attached to a blank email, and sent to the printer's unique email address.
Sending the email routes the attached document to be printed through an HP datacentre, which forwards the email to ePrint-enabled printers.
As well as being able to send print documents from desktops and laptops, smaller form-factor mobile devices can also be used, such as iPhones, Android phones and other smartphones.
While we could print documents through our Gmail account, we could not get documents to print from an Outlook 2003 and Lotus Notes email accounts.
Besides supporting standard wireless networks, the M175nw also supports the relatively new Wi-Fi Direct wireless networking standard, launched in October 2010, as well as Apple's AirPrint, an iOS-based method of printing over Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi Direct allows companies, such as hotel chains for example, to offer wireless print services to users/customers without having to set up normal wireless LAN accounts for users with the associated need for usernames and passwords. This is useful when guests might just need to print a single document.
Wi-Fi Direct is similar to Bluetooth but has a longer range, and HP says that in future all SMB and enterprise printers will support Wi-Fi Direct.
AirPrint allows iPad and iPhone users to print over Wi-Fi to AirPrint-enabled printers, as well as allowing such users to manage their print queues directly from such mobile devices.
We were able to print off an email in less than 20 seconds using AirPrint [see picture].
Managing the printer was easy due to the Web Server embedded in the system. All we had to do was type the IP address of the printer into our browser and a full-featured web application for managing the printer popped up.
As well as checking printer supplies status, such as toner cartridge levels, the print management software allows staff tasked with managing firms’ printers to check network status, and offers an event log which could be useful for trouble shooting purposes [see picture].
We could also check how many print jobs were sent the printer, if they used colour or just black and white, how many sheets they used, and which application was used to print from.
Both M175 models (the M175nw and the USB-only M175a) have the HP Auto-On/Auto-Off feature, turning off the printer to save power after a user-specified time.
This feature uses less power than when the printer is in standby mode. With the feature on, the M175nw used just 2W instead of 4.7W, a near 60 per cent saving over when the printer is in just standby mode.
There's also no trade off between the time it takes the printer to put the first page of a print job out (FPO) in standby mode and Auto-Off mode. We found both FPO times were identical.