HP LaserJet 3015

Summary: The HP LaserJet 3015 does the trick for students and families, but small businesses can do better with a different printer.The HP LaserJet 3015 weighs a mere 9.

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HP LaserJet 3015
The HP LaserJet 3015 does the trick for students and families, but small businesses can do better with a different printer.

The HP LaserJet 3015 weighs a mere 9.5 kilograms (very light for a multifunction printer), stands 46 cm high, and occupies a compact 42 cm wide by 33 cm deep -- small enough that it won't crowd even a tight work space. Like most home fax machines these days, the LaserJet 3015 uses a vertical sheetfed scanner instead of the flatbed design used on the LaserJet 3030 and the LaserJet 3380, the other two models in this series. This sheetfed design keeps the price down, but it also means the HP LaserJet 3015 can't scan, copy, or fax pages that are bound in a book or a magazine, nor can it handle large stacks of documents.

The bottom of the HP LaserJet 3015 houses the 150-sheet tray with a 10-sheet bypass for envelopes, letterhead, and heavy paper stock. Unfortunately, there's no second paper tray option, so small offices will need to refill the primary tray often.

With a touch of a button, the top half of the machine pops open, exposing the combination toner cartridge/imaging drum, which costs AU$106 and is specified to last a mere 2,000 pages (that's a hefty 5.3 cents per page). The back sports a USB 2.0 port, a parallel port, and a telephone jack with a pass-through jack. The HP LaserJet 3015 installs itself almost automatically under Windows and also runs under Mac OS releases less than five years old.

One design peculiarity appears within the input document feeder: it pulls from the bottom of the stack instead of the top page. It didn't jam or pull two pages at a time, so HP must have worked out the mechanics carefully. However, we had a hard time remembering to put the documents in facing the right way.

Using the HP LaserJet 3015 is easy, in part thanks to its crystal-clear control panel. The panel separates each function into groups of buttons, including a set of seven speed dials, fax setup controls, and a numeric keypad. A two-line LCD has arrow buttons beside it to navigate the menus. The HP LaserJet 3015 comes with 32MB of memory, enough to hold about 250 monochrome fax pages.

Like HP's high-end enterprise printers, the HP LaserJet 3015 installs an HTML viewer with its drivers to monitor the printer's status from your PC, print reports such as fax logs, and update information, for example, adding fax numbers to the phone book that is shared between your PC and the device's own memory. The HP software suite also includes ReadIris Pro OCR, which converts scanned pages into live text on your PC; a basic send-fax interface that appears in the list of installed printers; and a simple TWAIN-scanner interface window with a few image-editing features.

The HP LaserJet 3015 turned in mixed performance in CNET Labs' tests. It printed 12.4 pages per minute (ppm) of text and 9.8ppm for graphics. This score is above average and very close to HP's claimed speed for the machine: 14ppm.

The LaserJet 3015's print quality, however, didn't impress us. Its text output was sharp and clear but looked a little too dark nonetheless, with hairy letters here and there. Its graphics output fared even worse, with inconsistent density in the graphical elements and images.

Laser multifunction performance (pages/min)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Copy speed  
Grayscale speed  
Colour scan speed  
Black graphics speed  
Black text speed  
Samsung SCX-4016 Laser MFP
6.0 
2.8 
1.7 
11.7 
11.5 
HP LaserJet 3030
5.2 
2.8 
1.9 
9.9 
10.8 
HP LaserJet 3015
4.1 
1.3 
1.3 
9.8 
12.4 
HP LaserJet 3380
4.8 
3.1 
2.0 
11.8 
13.5 

In our tests, the LaserJet 3015 scanned colour documents as quickly -- or rather as slowly -- as it scanned black documents, with a score of only 1.3 pages per minute, making it the slowest multifunction laser we've tested. With a fax-style or sheetfed scanner, the 3015 can't scan anything thicker than one single sheet. The printer, however, managed to copy at 4.1ppm, comparable to most laser multifunction printers we've seen.

Unfortunately, the printer's scan quality wasn't any better. The colour images looked yellowish, washed out, and inconsistently tinted, even though the details were good and the images were sharp. We found the same problems with grayscale. The image offered great contrast in dark areas, but in lighter areas, the contrast was off, together with the gradient. Overall, the document was too bright and therefore somewhat washed out. We do not evaluate the quality of the photocopies produced.

Print and scan quality performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Grayscale quality  
Colour scan quality  
Graphics quality  
Text quality  
Samsung SCX-4016 Laser MFP
Fair 
Fair 
Good 
Good 
HP LaserJet 3030
Good 
Fair 
Good 
Good 
HP LaserJet 3015
Fair 
Fair 
Fair 
Good 
HP LaserJet 3380
Fair 
Good 
Fair 
Fair 

Performance analysis written by CNET Labs project leader Dong Van Ngo.

HP LaserJet 3015
Company: Hewlett-Packard
Price: AU$490
Distributor: Selected resellers
Phone:  1300 305 018

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Hardware

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