HP has appeared to be somewhat slow when it came to refillable “tank” printers in previous years. In fact, its Smart Tank inkjet range took close to 12 months to reach the UK and Ireland following its rather low-key launch in the Pacific and Asia regions.
However, HP took a dramatic step in the right direction with its Neverstop Laser range, the very first of the “refillable” laser printers we have ever seen. Just like the refillable inkjet printers have abandoned the traditional ink cartridges, HP’s Neverstop Lasers have replaced the conventional toner cartridges using internal large tanks instead. These tanks contain a lot more toner capable of printing thousands of pages, delivering running costs that are far lower than traditional cartridge-based laser printers.
Options And Pricing
The Neverstop range includes several models. During the presentation launch in mid-March, these printers were first suggested for small business owners. However, these printers only went on sale in April, which allowed HP to promote the Neverstop range as one of the most cost-effective printing solutions for home-based offices as well.
In the UK, the prices start at £203 inc. VAT for the 1001nw, a mono, single-function printer with Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and USB connectivity. The mid-range 1201nw model also includes a 600dpi copier/scanner, but is only inclusive of Ethernet and USB interfaces, costing £270 inc. VAT. We also tested the premium Neverstop 1202nw, which also includes Wi-Fi, costing £299 inc. VAT.
In Ireland, the prices start at €241 inc. VAT for the 1001nw, a mono, single-function printer with Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and USB connectivity. The mid-range 1201nw model also includes a 600dpi copier/scanner, but is only inclusive of Ethernet and USB interfaces, costing €290 inc. VAT. We also tested the premium Neverstop 1202nw, which also includes Wi-Fi, costing €364 inc. VAT.
There are also less expensive printers made available for small offices and home users, including HPs LaserJet Pro range. However, when considering the overall prices for the Neverstop laser printers, they include enough toner in the tanks to print around 5,000 pages which is a lot more when compared to the toner usually included with the traditional printers.
Features And Design
Inkjet printers using refillable tanks are usually rather bulky and big since the tank is usually bolted onto the printer on one side. However, HPs Neverstop printers look very similar to conventional lasers. All the models in this range share one design and measure 294mm deep and 380mm wide. The single-function models are 211mm high, while scanner units that are installed on the top of the multifunction model increase to a height of 287mm. They are all compact which means they should fit on a shelf or desk without taking up a lot of space, especially if you work from home.
These printers include single input trays that hold up to 150 sheets of A4 paper, more than enough for home use or small offices. The Neverstop also has a suggested maximum monthly output of 2,500 pages. It is not as versatile when compared to other printers but it can print on heavier paper types and envelopes, but there isn’t a manual feed when you want to print on envelopes, which means you will need to empty out the main tray when you would like to print with different media. These printers also don’t offer two-sided (auto-duplex) printing either, but HP’s driver software supports manual duplex (for occasional use). There is also no ADF (automatic document feeder) if you want to send more than one document at a time to the scanner.
The HP Smart App provides remote scanning and printing for a mobile device, while the printer also supports Google Cloud Print and Apple’s AirPrint for iOS devices.
The Neverstop range of printers provides 600 x 600dpi resolution for white-and-black printing, although HP has claimed that its “FastRes 1200” enhancement technology, can effectively double that resolution. With text documents, we noticed great text quality along with well-defined, smooth characters well-suited for premium-quality business documents.
The entire range of Neverstop printers share a speed of 22 pages per minute, yet the 1202nw that we ran tests on wasn’t as fast, producing 20ppm for various types of text documentation, along with a mixture of documents containing graphics and text. Graphics output is also quite good, with graduated smooth greyscale shading featured on our test pages. The Neverstop can also handle simple charts and graphs without any problems.
Generally, this is the stage where we would usually warn users of printers to take into consideration the costs involved to replace toner cartridges. But, with the Neverstop printers that do not use cartridges, we thought it would be better to focus on the overall running costs of the “first-ever” refillable laser printer.
As we mentioned above, the cost of a Neverstop printer also includes toner that will last for up to 5,000 pages. This means that if the user’s printing requirements are light they might be able to use the toner for a few years before having to buy a new one. When the printer does eventually run dry, you will have to buy one of HPs Reload Kits, which looks like a large syringe. This device is designed to inject the toner into the nozzle from the front part of your printer.
These reload kits also cost far less than the traditional toner cartridges. Single kits cost £12.50 (ex. VAT; £15 inc. VAT, or $16) and last for around 2,500 pages, working out to about 0.6p/0.6c per page. There is also a twin-pack that costs £22.60 (ex. VAT; £27 inc.VAT, or $28), which lowers the running costs to around 0.55p/0.55c. Regardless of which one you choose, these costs work out to be much less when compared to most conventional laser or inkjet printers, so the claim from HP “save up to 80%” seems justifiable.
However, there is one part of the fine print you should be aware of. Many of the laser printers will sometimes need the imaging drum replaced. This is the part that applies the toner particles to documents. For these printers, the Neverstop printer does stop working after around 20,000 pages, before needing the imaging drum replaced. New imaging drums costs around £55.42 (ex. VAT; £66.50 inc. VAT, or $71), but seems to be a worthwhile fee since it includes additional toner which should last for another 5,000 pages.
It is also worth mentioning that we have tested inkjet printers that come with refillable tanks including Epson’s mono-only ET-M2140. These are also targeted at home users that provide running costs that are even lower. However, the cost of the ET-M2140 upfront is higher when compared to HP’s Neverstop printers. At the same time, most business users prefer the defined and crisp output of text that laser printers produce for business documents.
- Adequate print quality and speed
- Great savings on the costs to replace the toner
- Easy and quick toner “reload” process
- Manual duplex printing
- Mono printing only
- No ADF for the scanners
- Added costs to replace the imaging drum
Neverstop laser range has proved to be a positive innovation providing noteworthy savings for people that work in smaller offices or from home. However, there is a bit of space for improvement, since the Neverstop laser printers do not offer as many features when compared to other printers for business users. However, most people that work from home should enjoy a cost-effective and fast printing solution like this.