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HP LaserJet 2300dtn

Hewlett-Packard's LaserJet 2300dtn (along with the rest of the LaserJet 2300 monochrome laser product line) gives offices a useful mid-range option between desktop lasers for individuals and 'big box' models for business. The most basic LaserJet 2300L, with its 20 page per minute (ppm) engine and a single stacked input tray (plus a multipurpose tray), is a step up in speed, paper capacity and print volume from the HP LaserJet 1300. It could serve one or two people who print a lot of documents, or it could be networked for an office. The LaserJet 2300dtn shows how the product line can grow to fit your needs. It has a faster engine, loads of paper capacity and a higher monthly print volume, plus a 10/100 Ethernet interface and automatic duplexing. Compared to its higher-end cousins, the LaserJet 4200 series, it offers many of the same features -- but at a lower cost. And as our tests show, the LaserJet 2300dtn fills its role with aplomb.
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Written by Barry Brenesal on
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8.0

HP LaserJet 2300dtn

Excellent
Like
  • 850-sheet paper capacity;
  • good text and graphics quality;
  • first-rate online and live technical support;
  • automatic duplexing.
Don't Like
  • Very loud when printing; setup documentation lacks some detail.
  • Editors' Review
  • Specs

Hewlett-Packard's LaserJet 2300dtn (along with the rest of the LaserJet 2300 monochrome laser product line) gives offices a useful mid-range option between desktop lasers for individuals and 'big box' models for business. The most basic LaserJet 2300L, with its 20 page per minute (ppm) engine and a single stacked input tray (plus a multipurpose tray), is a step up in speed, paper capacity and print volume from the HP LaserJet 1300. It could serve one or two people who print a lot of documents, or it could be networked for an office. The LaserJet 2300dtn shows how the product line can grow to fit your needs. It has a faster engine, loads of paper capacity and a higher monthly print volume, plus a 10/100 Ethernet interface and automatic duplexing. Compared to its higher-end cousins, the LaserJet 4200 series, it offers many of the same features -- but at a lower cost. And as our tests show, the LaserJet 2300dtn fills its role with aplomb.

Design
The LaserJet 2300dtn is a fairly compact cube measuring 41.3cm wide by 45cm deep by 39.7cm high. It's a little smaller than the LaserJet 4200n, but its 18.9kg weight means that you'll need help lifting the printer into place. HP addresses cable disarray with its special port design. The USB and parallel ports and the network ports are recessed into the right rear side of the printer and covered by a clip-off panel. You remove the panel to connect cables; when you replace the panel, the ports are hidden again, but the cables are all routed neatly out the back. Unfortunately, HP provides neither the USB nor the parallel cable. Controls on the front panel are simple: one button pauses a job, the other button cancels it. Two arrow buttons let you scroll through menu options, such as paper handling, configuring the device, diagnostics and so on. A third button lets you make a choice, and a fourth lets you undo it, moving back up a menu level. For questions about menu selections, there's a ‘?’ button. Finally there are three indicator lights marked Attention, Data, and Ready. The power button is on the printer's left side. When it comes to noise, the LaserJet 2300dtn displays a Jekyll-and-Hyde personality. It is absolutely silent when powered up but inactive. Give it a job, though, and the resulting clamour easily disrupts nearby workers. This printer is therefore best relegated to a separate printer room.

Features
The LaserJet 2300dtn comes with a 25ppm engine and 48MB of RAM. That should be enough to juggle a small-office print queue, but if you need more, you can expand it to 304MB. For connectivity, you get parallel and USB 2.0 ports, plus a 10/100 Fast Ethernet interface on an EIO expansion card. Other EIO options include USB, serial and LocalTalk, and a wireless 802.11b print server. The LaserJet 2300dtn has paper capacity to spare. Two front-loading input trays hold 250 or 500 sheets of standard office paper sizes. A foldout, 100-sheet multipurpose input tray also takes envelopes, index cards and other thick media. The LaserJet 2300dtn's automatic duplexing feature is a real plus, saving both trees and money (the feature is also standard on the LaserJet 2300d and 2300dn). Duplexing works with any of the input trays -- before you print, just select the ‘Print on both sides’ option from the LaserJet 2300dtn's Finishing tab in Setup or Properties. The paper comes halfway out of the output slot, then reverses course for printing the second side in a process that takes longer than printing on one side. The LaserJet 2300dtn's manual provides detailed instructions on paper orientation and other matters. The software drivers bundled with the LaserJet 2300dtn are compatible with all versions of Windows from 95 to XP, and every version of Macintosh back to OS 8.6. Interestingly, the installation procedure begins by automatically checking online for driver updates before it runs. This is welcome and surprising, because the more sophisticated LaserJet 4200 doesn't include this option.

Performance
Not surprisingly, the LaserJet 2300dtn's claim of 25 pages per minute (ppm) wasn't borne out in our tests. Instead, on text-only printing, the LaserJet 2300dtn produced a respectable 13.9ppm. This was noticeably slower than the 19ppm achieved by the Xerox Phaser 4400N or the 16.2ppm time for the HP LaserJet 1300, but it was better than the 13.3ppm of the Brother HL-1850. The 2300dtn bounced back a bit when printing mixed text/graphics pages; its 13.2ppm time was better than the 12.5ppm achieved by the Phaser 4400N, the 11.4ppm of the LaserJet 1300, and the 11.2ppm of the HL-1850. Output quality was good overall. Text printed on the LaserJet 2300dtn looked clean on a variety of fonts in both one-sided and duplex modes. Graphics showed distinct edging and good, consistent shading.

Service & support
The setup guide for the LaserJet 2300dtn comes in 7 languages and an astonishing 24 languages for the feeder tray. The font is small but legible. We noticed a few details that the documentation didn't cover, such as what one should do with the plastic lockdown key in the paper-feeder unit. Neither the key nor its hole is even shown in the extremely detailed diagrams that accompany nearly every other sentence. A phone call to HP’s technical support confirmed our suspicions that it locks down the tray during transportation. The user guide offers exhaustive detail on all aspects of the printing process and is a handy resource. Hewlett-Packard's standard warranty for the LaserJet 2300dtn lasts one year and includes technical support. We called the support line repeatedly and consistently quickly reached a knowledgeable, courteous technician. Support is also available via email or online chat. On HP's Web site, there's even more, including a knowledge base, user forums and a sign-up form for getting regular updates on technical issues and new drivers. All of these options require free registration.


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