The Color LaserJet 3600 has just about everything you could want in a modern one-pass color laser printer. It's fast - even though its 17 ppm engine may not be the fastest in terms of nominal speed - its cost per page is fairly good, and it has a few innovative functions that make it a very good choice.
Ergonomics And Functions
The version we tested has no network port, but there is a model with one for about $100 more. Except for that, this printer has everything. It has a relatively small footprint and also, like the 2600n, uses Instant-On Fusing technology, which reduces warm-up time to almost nothing. Its cartridges combine both the toner and the drum, which means that it operates like new when the cartridges are changed. Finally, its ergonomics are perfect, with a restrained but complete control panel.
For once, the nominal speed of the printing engine almost matched what our tests showed. Printing a fairly heavy word-processing document, we clocked a speed of 15 ppm, whereas the manufacturer claims 17 ppm. Instant-On Fusing also significantly reduces the time for printing the first page. The time for a single page was between 13 and 19 seconds, regardless of complexity.
The Color LaserJet 3600 produced remarkable print quality with text, graphics, and bitmap images. Colors were totally accurate, and we noticed no loss even when printing documents with high contrast. The results were all but identical to those from inkjet printers on plain paper, but of course with much better speed.
Cost Per Page
The cost per page in black was the lowest of all the one-pass laser printers we tested, at only one cent. Since HP recently increased the price of its toner cartridges, the cost for color was only fair: 9 cents per page at a 20% rate of coverage. That's still about average for this type of printer, and quite competitive with office-oriented inkjet printers.
Even though its base price is relatively high, the Color LaserJet 3600 is still currently the best choice for a move to color laser. Its performance, flawless ergonomics and print quality make it suitable for all situations.