Design and Build
With its small weight and dimensions (11 kg, 36 x 36 x 27 cm), the M401dw is both light and compact, allowing it to fit on any average-sized desk. The touchscreen is intuitive, responsive and easy to use, and the solid build inspires confidence. The 256 MB of RAM allow for convenient sharing within a workgroup of fifty. It supports PCL5c, PCL 6 and Postscript 3 and includes duplex printing and easy-to-set-up Wi-Fi.
Movable colour touchscreen, 8.89 cm
The standard paper tray holds 300 sheets. If that isn't enough a 500-sheet tray can be added for a total of 800. The other advantage of the dual-tray system is that you can diversify your output with ordinary A4 paper in one tray and letterhead, for example, in the other.
To access the toner you just press the button (see below).
Opening the toner compartment
The compartment pops open and you simply remove and replace the cartridges.
On the side, a slot for expanding the RAM up to 512 MB.
RAM expansion slot
On the back of the machine is another USB port and a network port located to the right of the power supply. In the middle is a door for pulling out jammed paper.
Business Apps:Like Lexmark's SmartSolutions, HP has its own app store. The brand's laser printers come primarily with business-related apps, such as apps for managing documents, receiving financial news and scanning to e-mail, which allows you to save time by sending scanned documents directly from the printer to an e-mail address.
This is a fast printer. At 33 pages per minute (ppm), it beats every other monochrome laser printer we've reviewed. Compare this to the Dell B1160w's 20 ppm, the Brother HL-2240's 25 ppm and the AcuLaser M2300DN's 32 ppm.
Print speeds in pages per minute
The print quality on the HP LaserJet Pro 400 M401dw is good for plain text. However, for anything more demanding it quickly reaches its limits. On our test graph below the letters and numbers are clearly drawn and legible, but the shading lacks a great deal of nuance.
The M401dw has similar colour accuracy to the Epson Aculaser M2300DN (Delta E = 12.6), but lower than the Dell B1160w (Delta E = 9.1, where the higher the figure the lower the accuracy). Delta E is typically used to measure the fidelity of tones on colour printers, but here in black and white it shows us that black shades printed on the M401dw lack depth, especially in photographs.
Average Delta E 94 (colour difference): 12.4
When scanned at 300 dpi, the images come out degraded
When scanned at 600 dpi, the eyes contain a lot of noise
Red card! HP is promising minimal ecological impact due to the Auto-On/Auto-Off function, which automatically turns the printer off when it isn't in use. It also claims halved paper consumption with duplex mode. It offers to recycle cartridges and reduce packaging waste with the HP Planet Partners programme. And at 600 watts the M401dw consumes an average amount of power while printing, BUT... on standby it uses 6 watts where most printers (laser and inkjet combined) consume less than 1 watt. This weighs heavily on the M401dw's Power Use rating.
When it comes to noise levels, our sensor picked up 51 dB. Printers are considered "quiet" under 50 dB—so let's say this one's almost there.
Cost Per Page
The LaserJet Pro 400 M401dw has the lowest cost per page of any monochrome laser printer we've reviewed over the past six months. By comparison, the Epson Aculaser M2300DN gets 3.3 pence per page and the Dell B1160w gets 3.4 pence per page. Then again, on colour laser printers the cost per page for black toner goes lower than that: 1.9 p for black toner on the HP LaserJet Pro 400 Color M451nw and 1.8 p on the OKI C331dn.
|Toner cartridge||Price (starting at)||Lifespan||Cost per page|
|CF280A (black)||£66||2,700||2.4 pence|
- Wi-Fi / Duplex / Touchscreen
- User-friendly / Easy to set up
- Wireless printing from mobile devices
- Business apps
- USB port on front panel
- Cost per page
- Responsive / Fast print speeds
- Power usage on standby: 6 W
There are three models in the LaserJet Pro 400 M401 Series: one without network capability or Wi-Fi, one with network capability but not Wi-Fi, and one with Wi-Fi, reviewed here. This "dw" model stands out for its easy- and fun-to-use touchscreen, wireless printing from remote devices and downloadable business printing apps. It's both fast and user-friendly. However, the power consumption on standby is well above average for printers of its kind.