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HP LaserJet Pro MFP review: A multifunction laser printer you won't hate

With fast, clear output of professional-quality documents, and integrated scan, copy, and fax capabilities, this SMB laser printer can do it all. The best part? Setup and software aren't horrible.
Written by Jason Perlow, Senior Contributing Writer
Reviewed by Alyson Windsor
img-9840.jpg

HP LaserJet Pro 4101fdwe MFP (Monochrome)

4 / 5
Very good

pros and cons

Pros
  • Easy setup
  • High-quality output
  • Fast
  • Excellent mobile device connectivity
Cons
  • Expensive toner resupply
  • Tiny touchscreen

I have always had a problematic relationship with network-attached printers. And among IT professionals, I know I'm not unique in that. 

In fact, I always avoided using them in my SOHO environment because, more often than not, the time when you need to use a printer the most is usually when it malfunctions with a paper jam or your print job vanishes without explanation into the ether. Then you're spending an hour trying to figure out whether your drivers aren't up to date or if there's something wrong with the networking.

But when HP offered me the chance to look at its new LaserJet Pro all-in-one line, in both monochrome and color, I jumped at it. 

Why? I hadn't looked at a new laser printer in at least 10 years, and the monstrosity in my closet's tech stack was out of date, I couldn't print directly to it from my mobile devices, it didn't work well on my new Macs and Windows 11 systems, and from a networking perspective it was insecure. 

Maybe this new printer would be my friend as opposed to a foe?

LaserJet Pro MFP 4101fdwe Specs (Monochrome)

Functions Print, copy, scan, fax
Print speed - Black (normal) Up to 42 ppm[6] Measured using ISO/IEC 24734, excludes first set of test documents. See more information here. Exact speed varies depending on the system configuration, software application, driver, and document complexity.
First page out (ready) black As fast as 6.1 sec
Resolution (black) Fine lines (1,200 x 1,200 dpi)
Resolution technology HP FastRes 1200, HP ProRes 1200, Economode
Monthly duty cycle Up to 80,000 pages. Duty cycle is defined as the maximum number of pages per month of imaged output. This value provides a comparison of product robustness in relation to other HP LaserJet or HP Color LaserJet devices, and enables appropriate deployment of printers and MFPs to satisfy the demands of connected individuals or groups.
Recommended monthly page volume 750 to 4,000
Print technology Laser
Display 2.7" (6.86 cm) intuitive color touchscreen (CGD)
Number of print cartridges 1
Replacement cartridges HP 148A Black Original LaserJet Toner Cartridge (~2,900 pages), W1480A; HP 148X Black Original LaserJet Toner Cartridge (~9,500 pages), W1480X[3]
Print languages HP PCL 6, HP PCL 5e, HP postscript level 3 emulation, PDF, URF, Native Office, PWG Raster
Automatic paper sensor No
Paper trays, standard 2
Paper trays, maximum 3
Mobile Printing Capability HP Smart App; Apple AirPrint™; Mopria™ Certified; Wi-Fi® Direct Printing
Connectivity, standard Gigabit Ethernet LAN 10/100/1000BASE-T network; 802.11b/g/n / 2.4 / 5 GHZ Wi-Fi radio + Bluetooth; 802.3az(EEE)
Minimum system requirements 2 GB available hard drive space; Internet connection; Internet browser. For additional OS hardware requirements see apple.com; 2 GB available hard disk space; Internet connection; Internet browser. For additional OS hardware requirements see microsoft.com;
Compatible operating systems Windows 11; Windows 10; Windows 7; Windows Client OS; Android; iOS; Mobile OS; MacOS 10.15 Catalina; MacOS 11 Big Sur; MacOS 12 Monterey; Chrome OS
Memory, standard 512 MB
Memory, maximum 512 MB
Printer management HP Printer Assistant; HP Web JetAdmin Software; HP JetAdvantage Security Manager; HP SNMP Proxy; Agent (Part of HP WebJetAdmin); HP WS Pro Proxy Agent (Part of HP WebJetAdmin); Printer Administrator Resource Kit for HP Universal Print Driver (Driver Configuration Utility - Driver Deployment Utility - Managed Printing Administrator);
Supported network protocols TCP/IP, IPv4, IPv6; Print: TCP-IP port 9100 Direct Mode, LPD (raw queue support only), Apple AirPrint™, Mopria, IPP Print; Discovery: SLP, Bonjour, Web Services Discovery; IP Config: IPv4 (BootP, DHCP, AutoIP, Manual), IPv6 (Stateless Link-Local and via Router, Stateful via DHCPv6), SSL Security and Certificate management; Management: SNMPv1, SNMPv2, SNMPv3, HTTP/HTTPS, Syslog, FTP FW Download
Hard disk No
Paper handling input, standard 100-sheet tray 1, 250-sheet input tray 2; 50-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF)
Paper handling output, standard 150-sheet output bin
Duplex printing Automatic (default)
Envelope input capacity Up to 10 envelopes
Finished output handling Sheetfeed
Media sizes supported Tray 1: Letter; Legal; Executive; Oficio (8.5 x 13 in); 16K; Japanese Postcard; Double Japan Postcard Rotated; Envelope #10; Envelope Monarch; Envelope B5; Envelope C5; Envelope DL; Custom Size; 4 x 6 in; 5 x 8 in; Statement; Tray 2 & Tray 3: Letter; Legal; Executive; Oficio (8.5 x 13 in); Custom Size; 5 x 8 in; Statement
Media sizes, custom Tray 1: A4; A5; A6; B5 (JIS); Oficio (216 x 340 mm); 16K (195 x 270 mm); 16K (184 x 260 mm); 16K (197 x 273 mm); Japanese Postcard; Double Japan Postcard Rotated; Envelope #10; Envelope Monarch; Envelope B5; Envelope C5; Envelope DL; Custom Size; 4 x 6 in; 5 x 8 in; Statement; Tray 2 & Tray 3: A4; A5; A6; B5 (JIS); Oficio (216 x 340 mm); 16K (195 x 270 mm); 16K (184 x 260 mm); 16K (197 x 273 mm); Custom Size; A5-R; 4 x 6 in; B6 (JIS)
Paper Trays  Tray 1: 3 x 5 to 8.5 x 14 in, Tray 2, 3: 4.12 x 5.83 to 8.5 x 14 in
Media types Paper (plain, EcoEFFICIENT, light, heavy, bond, colored, letterhead, preprinted, prepunched, recycled, rough); envelopes; labels;
Supported media weight Tray 1: 16 to 53 lb; tray 2, optional 550-sheet tray 3: 16 to 32 lb
Media weights by paper path Tray 1: 60 to 200 g/m² ; tray 2, optional 550-sheet tray 3: 60 to 120 g/m²
Power 110-volt input voltage: 110 to 127 VAC (+/- 10%), 50/60 Hz (+/- 2 Hz); 220-volt input voltage: 220 to 240 VAC (+/- 10%), 50/60 Hz (+/- 2 Hz) (Not dual voltage, product varies by part number with # Option code identifier)
Power consumption 510 watts (active printing), 7.5 watts (ready), 0.9 watt (sleep), 0.9 watt (Auto Off/Wake on LAN, enabled at shipment), 0.06 watt (Auto-off/Manual-on), 0.06 (Manual Off) Power requirements are based on the country/region where the printer is sold. Do not convert operating voltages. This will damage the printer and void the product warranty.
Energy efficiency ENERGY STAR® qualified; IT ECO Declaration
Operating temperature range 50 to 90.5°F
Operating humidity range 30 to 70% RH
Software included No software solutions are included in the Box only on http://hp.com; http://123.hp.com;
Warranty Two-year Bench/Depot Repair warranty. Warranty and support options vary by product, country and local legal requirements. Contact your Contractual Vendor or go to hp.com/support to learn about HP award winning service and support options in your region.
Dimensions (W X D X H) 16.54 x 15.35 x 12.72 in
Dimensions Maximum (W X D X H) 16.93 x 25 x 12.8 in
Weight 27.78 lb
Package weight 34.2 lb
What's in the box Preinstalled HP Black Original LaserJet Toner Cartridge; Getting Started Guide; Support Flyer; Warranty Guide; Regulatory Flyer; Power cord
Cable included No, please purchase USB cable separately
Sustainability impact Forest First product with HP+; Recyclable through HP Planet Partners; Compatible with Accessibility Accessories; Contains post-consumer recycled plastic

Installation

I was happy to discover that the years of complex printer installation with huge software requirements were long gone with the HP LaserJet Pro units. The biggest amount of labor was getting the 28-pound bundle of joy out of its box, placing it on a sturdy surface (the shelf in the closet of my wife's office did nicely), plugging it in, and turning it on. I chose to go wireless, but you can also plug in a Gigabit Ethernet connection or USB cable if you want to go hardwired. 

Also: Need a printer? We ranked the best inkjet, photo, and laser printers

And yes, there's also a fax line if you still do that instead of just emailing.

The current crop of LaserJet Pro units has already-installed toner cartridges, so that's another hassle you don't have to contend with. The pre-installed 148A cartridge is suitable for about 2,900 pages. When you need to replace the toner cartridge, the 148X retails for $227 and yields about 9,500 pages. The Color LaserJet Pro MFP unit, which I also looked at, uses a bundle of cartridges, the W211X series, in cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, each going for about $100. Yes, the supplies for these LaserJets are expensive, but that's typical given the higher-quality toner needed.

Software

There are two ways to get the device onto your network. You can install the HP Smart app on your phone and go through the "Set up or add printer" wizard, or you can do it directly from the printer's touchscreen display. 

I chose to set up the device with the display on the monochrome unit. While it sounds simpler, it would not be my recommended route because you have to do a fair bit of typing on it to enter your wireless network credentials, and the screen is only 2.7 inches wide, so it's very easy to fat-finger. I used the app to set up the Color MFP, and it was much easier.

Also: Epson is going to stop selling laser printers. Here's why

If it is your first time setting up an HP printer using the HP Smart app (and also the display), you will be prompted to set up an account on HP's Smart cloud, which allows you to use the app to print, scan, or fax from anywhere on any HP printer, not just the printer you are setting up. It can discover all printers on the network you are connected to and can also link to your various cloud storage accounts, such as Google Drive, DropBox, Box, and Evernote, as well as other WebDav servers.

In addition to standard Wi-Fi print connectivity, you can also print via Wi-Fi Direct, a direct connection to the printer. iOS devices can print to it using AirPrint, built into iOS and iPadOS. To connect to the printer with my Macs, all I had to do was open Settings and choose Printers & Scanners, and it was automatically discovered. With a Mac, you can also use this menu to scan documents with the LaserJet Pro, so if you've installed HP Smart on your iPhone, you don't need to install it on the Mac itself. 

Bonjour autodiscovery of HP LaserJet Pro on MacOS Ventura.

Bonjour autodiscovery of HP LaserJet Pro on MacOS Ventura.

Screenshot by Jason Perlow/ZDNET

If you want HP Smart on your Mac, make sure you're installing the version from the Mac App Store and not HP's website, as you'll get a security warning if you try to use the HP website one on newer Macs. Yeah, there's always something.

On Windows, you'll want to visit the HP Easy Start website and download the software, which installs various drivers and utilities for the printer.

Overall I thought HP did a good job with the software on this printer, and the company appears to have standardized its development toolkit so that Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android versions of HP Smart have a similar look and feel. All of them appear to have been built on MIT-licensed open-source software and Microsoft .NET and C#.

This is a far cry from the stuff HP put out not even 10 years ago, and it's surprisingly a small package, taking up only 130MB on the Mac. The only downside I see to HP Smart is that much of its operation appears to be cloud-centered, so if its cloud is under heavy use, it can be sluggish to respond; this is the flip side of not having such a huge software payload sitting on the client when all of the management is running remotely.

HP Smart running on a Mac

HP Smart running on a Mac, using open-source software components.

Jason Perlow/ZDNET

Use

Generally speaking, I have found the LaserJet Pro series to be trouble-free once you get the HP Smart situation squared away, but with a caveat that if the printer is being used wirelessly, you absolutely want to make sure it is in an area with good Wi-Fi reception. I had to flip between two different networks to make sure I was getting good connectivity, and because the printer was placed in the corner of the house that was relatively far from the access point, I had to set the network it was using in the touchscreen display to 2.4GHz as opposed to 5GHz. 

The other issue I encountered with this line of printers is that they're designed to be power-efficient, so they go into sleep mode after only being on for minutes at a time. There can sometimes be a short lag before the printer wakes up when using HP Smart or when sending print jobs to the unit if it has been in its power-suspended mode. So if your Wi-Fi connectivity isn't great, it will take a long time to reacquire the network (or might not even acquire at all), and you'll be wondering why you can't print to it.

Otherwise? It's a classic multifunction LaserJet with two paper trays with light to medium office capacity and excellent print quality, and at retail currently about $420. Given market consolidation, few other SMB laser printers are on the market that will do the same job, with the same connectivity and manageability for the same money. 

The last time I didn't hate a personal/small business laser printer was probably my trusty HP LaserJet Series 5P I bought to print my wedding invitations in 1995, back when Canon still made the laser engines, and I was working for the company as a software engineer. 

Bottom line

It took HP probably over a decade, but it finally released a small-business multifunction laser printer that I not only do not hate but actually enjoy using -- it's fast, it produces high-quality output, it has secure networking, and it also had a fairly trouble-free setup accompanied by excellent mobile device connectivity so that you can print from smartphones and tablets with ease. 

If you are a small business or a SOHO environment with light to medium printing requirements that needs laser-quality output as opposed to an inkjet and also needs to do occasional scanning and faxing, the HP LaserJet Pro MFP series in monochrome or color would be a good choice.

Alternatives to consider 

The color version of the LaserJet Pro MFP is a good choice if color printing is a heavy requirement for your small business besides monochrome document output.

The M40dw is a wireless and networked laser printer for workgroups that only need print capability; it's a classic monochrome LaserJet. 

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