Review of the HP LaserJet 1020 Printer

Entry-level laser jet printer, inferior to most inkjets

Laser jet printers, which employ the same technology is photocopiers, can easily be found in any office. Their chief advantage over other kinds of printers lies in their ability to print out large volumes of text efficiently, and with great speed and accuracy. Although they are much more expensive than any other kind of printer to buy, their speed and cost per impression makes them the ideal choice for office printing.

Enter the LaserJet 1020. It seems to defy everything that we’ve just said about laser printers. It is inexpensive, costing only $90.00, prints slowly, at an alleged 15 pages per minute, (read: seven pages per minute) and doesn’t seem to be cheap when it comes to cost per impression. Toner cartridges for it cost $60.00, and only yield about 2000 pages. Do the math, and this comes to about 33¢ per page. 33¢! While printer ink is never cheap, 10¢ per page is generally considered to be very expensive among ink jets. Some will print for less than half that.

Another disadvantage of laser printers for home use is their inability to print in color. Because their printing process uses an entirely different technology than the printing process of ink jets, they are suited only for printing text. Normally, they do this rather well, but the HP LaserJet 1020 is only able to manage about 1200 DPI.

I can’t quite tell who HP is trying to sell to with the LaserJet 1020. Since obviously their printer does not stack up well to the common, cheap inkjet, they are clearly not aiming at home users who need to print large volumes of text. More likely, they are trying to play on the reputation of the laser jet printer, hoping that people will foolishly think that laser means better quality. They will then proceed to spend their money for the next couple years on ridiculously expensive toner cartridges.

Rather than fall into this trap, do the reasonable thing, and by an inkjet printer. They are designed for home use, can do an excellent job of printing text, and do photos of the same time. They will prove to be cheaper both to buy and maintain. And, as an added benefit, they will take up less space in your desk. Don’t buy a laser jet printer unless you need one, and if you do, don’t get the HP LaserJet 1020.