HP LaserJet Pro 300 color M351 full review

The latest inkjet printers provide good performance and competitive running costs, but they’re not designed for printing large volumes of documents. Small businesses that need to print several hundred pages every month will be better off with a laser printer, and HP’s latest LaserJet model provides the speed and quality of a laser printer for the same price as a top-of-the-range inkjet.

The LaserJet Pro 300 color M351 is not the most fully-featured printer by any means – it’s only a printer, with no copying or scanning functions, and can only connect to a single Mac or PC via USB (although the Mac OS has its own printer sharing option already built in).

There’s a 250-sheet paper tray built into the base of the printer, along with a secondary multipurpose tray that folds down from the front panel and can hold 50 sheets of paper, envelopes and other media. Its recommended duty cycle is 1500 pages per month, which should be adequate for many small businesses.

HP quotes a speed of 18 pages per minute for both colour and mono printing. We actually got about 11ppm for colour and 13ppm for mono, which gives it the edge over most of the inkjet printers we’ve reviewed recently, especially for colour printing. Print quality is excellent for text, graphics and photos – even on plain paper – so the M351 will certainly be able to cope with a wide range of business documents.

Running costs are a bit of a mixed bag, though. HP’s high yield black toner cartridge costs £106 and lasts for about 4000 pages. That produces a cost per page of about 2.6p, which is only slightly more expensive than a good inkjet printer.

Colour printing is much more expensive, though. At £123 each, a complete set of cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges amounts to a hefty £369. Those cartridges will produce 2600 pages, which amounts to 14.2p per page for colour documents. That’s well above the cost of using an inkjet printer although, of course, the M351 can turn out colour documents much faster than most inkjets.

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