On a CNet Top 5 “Outdated technology” episode, earlier this year, the broadcaster stated that on his top 5 list of soon-to-be-outdated technology, the home printer will become a thing of the past. Currently a staple for any home office, the home printer is a product that I don’t see as a thing of the past, but an industry that is still advancing. Controlled by very few manufacturers, printers, scanners and fax machines haven’t changed much over the years. One of the greatest improvements though is the fact that they have become all-in-one machines, freeing up some desk space.
Being a current HP printer owner, I have come to enjoy HP’s all-in-one machine products. Before my current HP PhotoSmart C7280 printer I had various office machines, such as three printers for different rooms, one fax, and one scanner. Now, with the PhotoSmart being an all-in-one machine, that is also WiFi enabled, much of my office space has been freed up. However, my current HP printer is getting old and with new technology available it may be time for an upgrade. Today I will be reviewing a new HP printer, the HP Color LaserJet Pro M177FW All-In-One, which was generously provided by HP. Throughout my review I will be covering: the unboxing, build quality, features and specifications, then my overall thoughts of the M177FW.
Figure 1 – Front face of the Printer
Unboxing the Printer
Surrounded by a hard close-type Styrofoam, the printer is well packaged to protect your brand new unit in shipment. With every language they could fit on-to the retail box, the M177FW’s box provides some helpful knowledge on what this device is capable of.
Once you and a friend have lifted the 35 pound printer out of the box, you’ll find a power cable and some user documentation. Conveniently, HP designed the printer to work with many minimalistic software; after a WiFi connection is established and drivers are installed on your PC, you’re ready to go. I will say that the user documentation was of little help. Configuring the printer did seem a little challenging but after a little bit of research, the device worked like a charm.
Figure 2 – Touch Panel
A “well done” goes to HP for the build quality of the M177FW. Finding a home for the machine may seem a little challenging given its dimensions of 8.5 x 14 inches and 35 pound weight.
Available in a matblack appearance, the machine looks prestigious in a home office. A surprising design was the included touch panel found on the front of the printer. Acting as the menu input for the printer, the touch panel, shown in figure 2, is unique and offers you the opportunity to change printer settings, dial faxes, make copies, etc. The touch panel has the option of printing things like news articles, weather updates, custom kids’ games, coloring books, and sports updates.
Although I am pleased to see that HP included the touch panel on the printer, it could use some improvement. The touch display can become frustrating as it doesn’t always recognize your touch inputs and you will have to press harder then you typically would for smartphones. for example, to understand your input. There were also times when using the apps where I had the option to click either Cancel or OK, the OK button just wouldn’t work.
Being an all-in-one printer, HP has once again done an excellent job of keeping the unit compact. Similar to how my current HP printer is designed, the top section is used for the fax machine and scanner and the base of the machine is the printing section. Something I noticed is that the M177FW is very similar to some business HP printers I work with. They are very well-built machines where paper jams are quite easy to clear.
To wrap up the build quality section, we have the ink cartridges for the printer. Running a little tad on the expensive side,HP sells the cartridges at $57.99 per color cartridge (there are four colors) and $54.99 per a black cartridge. The cost to restock all of your cartridges will equal the cost of what you paid for the printer; in my opinion this is quite expensive for a printer that is already costing you $300. As each cartridge can print approximately 1,000 pages, the ink cost is .25 cents per page. Another thing to remember is that there don’t seem to be any replacement OEM cartridges for a lower cost.
Figure 3 – Ink Cartridges
Features and Specifications
This printer shines with the quality of the images it produces, although I found the printing to be quite slow, even for a simple six page Word document. I decided to print identical full size paper images using my current HP printer and the M177FW. Colors, depth, and quality of the M177FW images were outstanding compared to my current HP Inkjet machine; ideal for someone who is looking to print photos at home.
As the main features lie within the printing section, the scanner and fax machine are fairly minimalistic in terms of their features.One useful option while printing is that users can print on both sides of the page as well as scan both sides of a page in one go.
Being a WiFi enabled machine there is the option to print from your smartphone. Compatible with Apple’s AirPrint and HP ePrint for Android, printing from your smartphone could never be easier. This feature doesn’t stop there though; you can print documents or pictures when you’re not at home, by simply emailing the printer. It will then download and print the document, so that it is ready for you to when you get back.
Finally, there are the technical specifications which can be found here.
Figure 4 – Looking down at the M177FW
My final thoughts
My few weeks with the HP M177FW were quite joyful. Although the all-in-one system works well it does have a few bugs here and there that should be fixed by a simple software update. Another suggestion that I have is the reduction of the cartridge prices; as I said before, to refill the unit with ink would cost the same as the printer. Overall, this is a printer I would recommend for any home office since everything went smoothly and the design of the machine will look well sitting in a home office.
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Tagged Fax, hardware, HP, M177FW, Printer, review, Scanner.