HP Laserjet Enterprise MFP M725dn review

Pros

  • Prints, scans, and copies up to A3 size
  • Massive paper handling options
  • 8in colour touchscreen

Cons

  • Fax is not standard
  • Sub-par graphics
  • Slightly sub-par photos

The HP LaserJet Enterprise MFP M725dn inhabits a sparse niche: It's a monochrome laser multifunction printer (MFP) that can print, scan, and copy at up to A3 size. It's a good option for businesses that need those capabilities, provided that they don't plan to use the graphics this MFP outputs for formal reports and the like.

The M725dn is enormous, measuring 615 x 650 x 610mm (WxDxH), and weighing 54kg, so you'll need at least two, or preferably three people to move it into place.

This machine can print, copy, and scan (but not fax, although that’s available as an option). It can scan to folder, email, or USB thumb drive (and print from a USB stick as well). It has an 8in colour touchscreen and a built-in encrypted hard drive.

Standard paper capacity is 600 sheets, between two 250-sheet trays (one that fits A3-sized paper) and a 100-sheet multipurpose tray. The printer comes with an automatic duplexer for printing on both sides of a sheet of paper. The M725dn is built for heavy-duty printing, with a maximum monthly duty cycle of 200,000 pages and a recommended monthly duty cycle of up to 20,000 pages.

It scans at up to A3 size from either its flatbed or automatic document feeder (ADF). The reversing ADF (which scans one side of a sheet, flips it over, and then scans the other side) can hold up to 100 sheets.

An optional 500-sheet paper tray is available, as is a 500-sheet feeder with cabinet and stand and a 3 x 500-sheet feeder with cabinet and stand, and also a 3,500-sheet feeder with cabinet and stand. Maximum paper capacity is 4,600 sheets.

The M725dn is the base model in HP's M725 series of mono laser MFPs. The M725f includes standard fax, plus a 500-sheet tray and a 500-sheet feeder and cabinet. The M725z includes fax, plus a 3 x 500-sheet feeder and stand, and a 500-sheet in-line stapler. The M725z+ includes fax, plus a 3,500-sheet feeder and stand, and the 500-sheet in-line stapler. There are other minor differences between the models.

The M725dn offers USB and Ethernet (including Gigabit Ethernet) connectivity. I tested it over an Ethernet connection using a computer running Windows Vista.

I timed the M725dn on our business applications suite (using QualityLogic's hardware and software for timing), at an effective 11.1 pages per minute (ppm). That’s a good clip, though not particularly fast for a mono laser MFP, or for its 40 page-per-minute rating that's based on printing text documents without graphics or photos – note that our test suite includes text pages, graphics pages, and pages with mixed content. It did beat the 9.9 ppm of its single-function counterpart, the HP Laserjet Enterprise M712dn which is rated at the same 40 pages per minute.

Normally, in selecting comparison systems, they're similar enough to the product under review that one can make a direct comparison. However, since we haven't tested an A3-sized mono laser MFP in recent memory, we have no systems we've reviewed that are directly comparable, so I'll have to use printers that have some characteristics in common – though they’re far from exact matches. At the end of the review, I'll try to tie some of these disparate systems together.

The Dell B3465dnf Mono Laser Multifunction Printer, a monochrome MFP rated at 50 pages per minute, tested at 15 ppm. I timed the Xerox Phaser 7100/N, an A3-sized colour laser single-function printer rated at 30 pages per minute, at 7.6 ppm. (Granted, it was printing some of the pages in colour, while the other printers mentioned here are strictly monochrome).

Output quality

The M725dn's output quality is below par overall, with average text quality, slightly sub-par photos, and below-par graphics. Even average text quality for a laser is very good, though, and it’s suitable for any business use short of demanding desktop publishing applications that use very small fonts.

When it came to graphics, the M725dn did well in displaying thin lines. It didn’t do so well with backgrounds, with some showing mild blotchiness. A couple of illustrations showed faint, spurious shadows, and some showed mild banding (a regular pattern of faint striations). One figure contains a gradient between dark and light tones (which in the original are red); this printer showed the entire gradient as a uniform, darker grey. In another illustration, drop-out type against a dark background in a sidebar did not show up at all. You could probably use this printer for simple graphics for in-house use, but you'd do well to look them over closely before handing them out.

Photo quality is good enough for printing out recognisable images from web pages. There was slight blotchiness in some dark solid areas, as well as mild banding and the ghost shadows I also saw in some graphics.

Running costs

The M725dn has reasonably low running costs of 1.5 cents (0.9 pence) per page, in line with those of the single-function HP M712dn.

As we don't have any directly comparable systems, we'll first look at the M725dn strictly on its own merits. Considering that its ADF and flatbed can both handle A3-sized paper, and it can print at A3 size, its price is within reason, especially considering that many HP mono MFPs limited to A4 printing have cost more. Its price is also in line with the single-function HP M712dn. The M725dn has good paper capacity and prodigious paper-handling options. Its cost per page is competitive, and its speed is decent.

Although text is good enough for typical business uses, graphics and photo quality were both below par. This is less of a disadvantage for monochrome printers than for colour models, but still it limits the M725dn's usefulness in printing more formal documents. If this is not an issue, it's a reasonable choice for an office that needs high-volume printing, scanning, and copying at up to A3 size (but doesn't require colour printing).

A single-function A3 printer is another option, either a monochrome machine such as the HP M712dn or a colour printer like the Xerox 7100/N. You could even add an MFP such as the Dell B3465dnf in addition to one of the aforementioned printers and still pay less than you would for the M725dn. The B3465dnf's ADF and flatbed are limited to A4-sized pages, though; if you need A3-size scanning, you could combine an A3 printer with an A3 scanner such as the Xerox DocuMate 4830.

Verdict

For many companies, the HP LaserJet Enterprise MFP M725dn may be the right solution. It certainly has an ample paper capacity, low running costs, and MFP features befitting a device that prints, scans, and copies at A3 size. It's easy to recommend as such, as long as you don't need to print in colour or require graphics output of a quality suitable for formal reports and the like.

Specifications

Manufacturer and Model

HP Laserjet Enterprise MFP M725dn

Printer Category

Laser

Direct Printing from Cameras

No

Rated Speed at Default Settings (Mono)

40 ppm

Dimensions and Weight

615 x 650 x 610mm (WxDxH), 54kg

Colour or Monochrome

Monochrome

Print Duplexing

Automatic

Maximum Standard Paper Size

A3

Type

All-In-One

Technology (for laser category only)

Laser

Connection Type

USB, Ethernet