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HP Color LaserJet 2600n

12 Color Laser Printers Explored

Except for relatively low output speeds - 8 ppm for color and black-and-white - the HP 2600n offers a lot of likeable features. It also comes at a very nice price: the usual MSRP is $400, but it has a $100 rebate program currently in effect.

It's a bit more compact than some other models in this article, with dimensions of 16.02" x 17.83" x 14.6" (40.69 cm x 45.29 cm x 37.08 cm) and weight of 40.5 lb (18.41 kg). With a duty cycle of 35,000 pages per month, it's also better suited for users with lower-volume printing needs, who should also appreciate the purchase price savings it offers.

The HP 2600n looks kind of bland, but its output is pretty good, especially for its price.

A black cartridge for the HP 2600n rated at 2,500 pages costs $75, while CYM color cartridges rated at 2,000 pages run $83. Refilled or aftermarket cartridges are widely available, and usually go for $45 to $55. Although the unit has no built-in duplexing capability, HP includes support for double-sided printing in its driver configuration - when selected, it shows users how to turn over and rotate the paper, and reminds them to do so when the first sides have finished printing.

The HP 2600n prints all four colors in a single print pass, which explains why its color and monochrome page rates both top out at 8 ppm. That said, when printing color, this unit is surprisingly fast and capable, even when compared to more expensive color laser printers. And even though the HP 2600n comes equipped with only 16 MB of RAM (and no upgrade capability), it offers good performance: it returns control to the PC very quickly after you launch the print command, and is capable of handling full-page, high-resolution graphics and color with considerable aplomb and accuracy. Its browser-based status and configuration menus mean you don't have to get up to read its two-line character LCD display: you can easily grab all that information (and more) right from your PC's desktop.

Options for the HP2600n are pretty limited: there's a second 250-page paper drawer for $150 (which doubles drawer capacity to 500 pages), but very little else in the way of accessories or add-ons for you to purchase. The 8 ppm figure for black-and-white output is pretty slow when compared to other laser printers, so this is not a good choice for users who need to produce lots of such output on a regular basis. Otherwise, it's a pretty good choice for one-man shops and small offices alike, especially those that appreciate easy installation and set-up, and who don't care that much about print speed.

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