HP LaserJet Pro M404dn Monochrome Laser Printer review

BOTTOM LINE

The HP LaserJet Pro M404dn is a fast single-function black and white laser printer with a solid feature set for the price. Be careful with your toner costs if you push this month after month to the limit.

PROS

  • Small footprint
  • Fast
  • Strong smartphone connectivity and integration options
  • Reasonable purchase price
  • Automatic duplex

CONS

  • Slightly high operating costs
  • Insufficient photo output
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A direct competitor to two 2019 Editors’ Choice receivers, Canon’s image Class LBP226dw and Epson’s inkjet-based laser alternative Work Force Pro WF-M5299, HP’s LaserJet Pro M404dn is in a tough spot. ThisĀ  print-only black and white laser printer is designed for medium to high volume printing in a small office or workgroup. Like its competitors, it prints well at a fast pace, although the grayscale photo output is slightly below average. But I wouldn’t buy such a photo printer anyway. Overall, the M404dn is a capable monochrome laser, but it costs a little more to run than many of its competitors.

Small and Mighty

The M404dn measures 8.5 by 15 by 14.1 inches (HWD) and weighs 18.9 pounds. That’s comparable to the Canon LBP226dw and a few inches taller and about four pounds heavier than the Lexmark B2236dw, another standalone black-and-white laser printer it competes with. In contrast, it’s about half the size of Epson’s WF-M5299, a rare monochrome inkjet printer.

Since it only prints, this LaserJet doesn’t require many built-in controls. Your actual control panel, which is located on the right side of the top of the chassis (indicated in red in the image below), consists of a few navigation buttons to orient you in a series of drop-down menus on two text displays. monochromatic line.

In most cases, especially when monitoring consumables, generating usage reports, and configuring security options, you will probably find it easier to use the M404dn’s built-in web controls, as shown below. They are accessible through most browsers, including those on your smartphone or tablet.

The paper handling consists of a 250-sheet tray and a 100-sheet override tray. If 350 sheets from two sources isn’t enough, you can add a 550-sheet tray ($139.99), which increases the capacity to 900 sheets from three sources. Printed pages reach the top of the chassis. Meanwhile, the maximum monthly duty cycle for this LaserJet is a whopping 80,000 pages, with a recommended monthly volume of 4,000 impressions.

The Canon LBP226dw’s standard capacity, duty cycle and suggested monthly volume are the same as HP’s. The Lexmark B2236dw’s paper capacity is 251 sheets, split between a 250-sheet input tray and a single-sheet input tray, and the maximum and recommended monthly volumes are 30,000 and 2,500 pages, respectively. The Epson WF-M5299 has a capacity of 330 sheets, expandable to 830; the maximum and suggested volumes are 45,000 and 2,500 pages respectively.

Connectivity and Security

Standard connectivity on the M404dn consists of a Gigabit Ethernet connector and a USB 2.0 interface. Mobile connectivity options include Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Mopria, HP ePrint, HP Smart App, and Mobile Apps – quite a comprehensive list.

Standard security features include Secure Print or the ability to protect documents with Personal Identification Numbers (PINs), as well as user name and password access controls for both individuals and departments. Plus, with the optional HP JetAdvantage Security Manager, you can remotely configure multiple HP printers from almost anywhere, fend off potential attacks, and take immediate action.

Testing the M404dn: 40-Plus Pages per Minute

HP estimates the LaserJet Pro M404dn at 40 pages per minute (ppm), the same as Canon rates its LBP226dw. The Lexmark B2236dw has a power of 4 ppm less and the Epson WF-M5299 16 ppm less. I tested HP (and these other machines) over an Ethernet connection from our standard Intel Core i5 PC running Windows 10 Pro (see how we test printers).

When I included the M404dn while printing our 12-page Microsoft Word text document, it matched Canon’s output, at 42.3 ppm. Competitor Lexmark’s was 6.6 ppm slower and Epson’s 14.8 ppm slower.

For the next part of my testing regimen, I printed out our collection of Adobe Acrobat business documents, Excel spreadsheets and diagrams, and PowerPoint brochures using various business diagrams and fonts of various sizes in various colors. I combined the results of these tests with those of printing the 12-page text document and got an overall score of 22.1 ppm for printing our entire line of business documents in single-sided (“simplex”) mode.

That result outperformed Canon by half a page per minute and about 6ppm better than Epson and Lexmark, making the LaserJet Pro the fastest printer in this test group.

A Look at the Output: Good Text and Grayscale

I have no complaints about the output of the M404dn. The text, even the decorative and somewhat unusual fonts I printed, were well-formed and legible, and the standard fonts seemed adequate even at small sizes, with flaws beyond what I could see without magnification. The grayscale images had solid backgrounds, no bands or stripes, and even the smallest lines (under 1 point rulers) were printed evenly and seamlessly from start to finish.

The embedded grayscale photos looked good, with enough variations in grayscale, although the details left a little to be desired. Of course, you wouldn’t use this monochrome laser printer to take your family’s photos, but the M404dn’s text, graphics and graphics are good enough for most business applications.

The Consumables: Relatively High Running Costs

While there are many things I like about the M404dn, the cost per page of toner is not one of them. If you buy the HP 10,000 capacity toner cartridge for the MSRP of $221.99, your running cost will be approximately 2.2 cents per page. That’s about 0.5 cents less than the Lexmark, but twice as expensive as the Canon, while the Epson monochrome inkjet prints the same page for 1.4 cents less.

If you print the LaserJet’s recommended monthly volume of 4,000 pages, that difference of 1.4 cents per page will cost you just under $700 per year, or about $3,500 over five years. The more you print, the bigger the difference. The amount you pay for consumables is often more important than the amount you pay for the printer itself, so keep that in mind if you want to push this HP model to its limits.

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A Solid Little Performer

If you don’t mind the somewhat high running costs, the HP LaserJet Pro M404dn is a solid machine with respectable performance at very competitive speeds. Everything else – connectivity, expandability, small footprint and more – is here and at a reasonable price.

If you’re looking for massive volume at a low cost per page, check out Canon’s image Class LBP226dw. But if your small office or workgroup is concerned about print speed and text output quality in a compact and straightforward black-and-white workhorse, this LaserJet Pro is a reasonable choice.

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