HP Officejet Pro 276dw MFP review

Pros

  • Laser class speed
  • High quality text and graphics
  • Duplex printing
  • Duplexing automatic document feeder
  • Ethernet connection

Cons

  • Photo quality isn't so hot

The HP Officejet Pro 276dw MFP is impressive in that it offers speed and paper handling capabilities which are comparable to a similarly priced laser MFP, making it a serious contender as an alternative to a colour laser MFP for a micro or small office or workgroup.

The 276dw boasts the ability to print, scan, and fax (including over a network), and it can function as a standalone copier/fax machine. It also lets you scan to a USB memory stick, and it lets you print from a USB stick, as well as printing from or scanning to a memory card.

This HP MFP also offers mobile printing. Connect to the Internet through a network connection, using either Ethernet or Wi-Fi, and you can print through the cloud. If you have a Wi-Fi access point on your network, you can also print from iOS devices using AirPrint. In addition, the 276dw lets you print from other mobile devices using the HP ePrint App, and it has support for Wireless Direct, HP's equivalent to Wi-Fi Direct. Even if you don't have a Wi-Fi access point on your network, with Wireless Direct you can print from you iGadget or other mobile device by connecting directly to the printer.

Paper handling

The 276dw's paper handling is a close match when compared to most colour laser MFPs in this price range, with a 250-sheet tray and duplexing as standard. That's enough input capacity for most micro or small offices, but if you need more, you can add a second 250-sheet tray for a total of 500 sheets.

For scanning, the 276dw boasts a 50-page automatic document feeder (ADF). Even better, the ADF can scan in duplex, by turning the page over when it scans. And with duplexing available for both scanning and copying, the Copy menu includes options to let you copy both single and double-sided originals to your choice of single or double-sided copies.

As you might expect, this level of paper handling requires a large printer, and the 276dw measures 494 x 460 x 315mm (WxDxH) and weighs 12.7kg. Assuming you have room for it, however, setup is absolutely typical. For my tests, I connected it to a network using its Ethernet port and installed the driver and software on a Windows Vista system.

Speed and output quality

I timed the 276dw on our business applications suite (using QualityLogic's hardware and software for timing) at an effective 5.9 pages per minute (ppm). That’s faster than the Dell 1355cnw Multifunction Colour Printer, a colour laser MFP which hit 4.5 ppm when we tested it. Photo speed is reasonably fast as well, with the 276dw averaging 50 seconds for a 4 x 6.

Output quality for business applications is a strong point, with top-tier text for an inkjet MFP and par quality graphics. Photos on photo paper were at the low end of a very tight range where most inkjet MFPs fall, but better than any colour laser.

Text output is a touch short of what I'd want for a resume or for serious desktop publishing, with edges on characters a bit less crisp than you'd get with a laser, but it's easily good enough for any business use, even with small fonts. It's also water resistant enough so that it didn't smudge at all when I rubbed it with a wet tissue.

Par quality graphics translates to the output being good enough for any internal business need, up to and including PowerPoint hand-outs. Most people would also consider it good enough for reports going to a client when it's important to convey a sense of professionalism.

Photos on photo paper qualified as true photo quality, but at the low end of the range for an inkjet MFP. This isn't much of an issue for a printer meant for office use, however. The quality is notably better than you would get with almost any colour laser.

Verdict

Quite simply, the HP Officejet Pro 276dw MFP delivers a lot of printer for the price. Its more notable features include laser class speed and text quality, paper handling suitable for light to medium duty printing by small office standards, the ability to copy and scan two-sided originals, and support for PCL and Postscript. That's more than enough to earn it one of our Best Buy awards, and if you're in the market for an affordable MFP for a micro or small office, the HP Officejet Pro 276dw may well be the printer you want.

Specifications

Manufacturer and Model

HP Officejet Pro 276dw MFP

Print Duplexing

Automatic

Printer Category

Inkjet, Copier, Fax

Direct Printing from Cameras

No

LCD Preview Screen

Yes

Type

All-In-One

Inkjet Type

Standard All-Purpose

Colour or Monochrome

1-pass colour

Connection Type

USB, Ethernet, Wireless