HP LaserJet CM3530 review

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  • Pros

    • Print speeds (quick in both B&W and color)
    • Built-in duplexing (print and copy)
    • JetDirect Embedded Print Server
    • Large color touchscreen

  • Cons

    • Isn’t great at scanning large photo quality images
    • Inital cost
    • No fax capability (on this model)


I had heard good things about the HP LaserJet CM3530 color laser multifunction printer so I was excited to get a model in for review.  And as it turns out, the rumors were true, I was impressed!  Check out our review to find out if the CM3530 might be the perfect fit for your office.

HP LASERJET CM3530 SPECIFICATIONS:

  • 3-in-1 device: print, scan and copy
  • Print speeds: up to 31 ppm in black and color
  • First page out (black): about 10.9 seconds
  • First page out (color): about 12.2 seconds
  • Print resolution: 1200 x 600 dpi
  • Scan resolution: 600 x 600 dpi
  • Two paper trays (Max. 350 sheet capacity)
  • Monthly duty cycle: 75,000 pages
  • Built-in duplexing
  • Network ready (Ethernet)
  • Energy Star qualified
  • BUILD AND DESIGN

    The HP LaserJet CM3530 is a heavy machine weighing in at over 100 lbs. (105 to be exact) but doesn’t take up a huge amount of space; its dimensions are 20.276 x 20.433 x 22.067 inches.  Small enough to fit on a desktop, if someone was crazy enough to want it on their desk. 

    The design is inline with other HP LaserJet products; mostly gray with some navy blue paneling and a few small HP logos.  The CM3530 is the base model for this series so it comes standard with three devices: printer, scanner and copier.

    The scanner is located on top of the printer along with the 50-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) for making bulk copies.  The flatbed dimensions are 8.5 x 14 inches and a resolution up to 600 dpi.

    Also located on top of the printer is the image fuser kit.

    The color touchscreen display is located below the scanner along with a small number pad, sleep button, reset button, stop button, start button, clear button and a display brightness key. 

    The output tray is bathed in a soft, blue light.  Not really sure why, unless maybe you were going to use the printer in the dark and wanted to have no trouble finding your finished documents.  But it is a crowd pleaser; I heard few comments around my office about the blue light.

    The CM3530 series come pre-installed with four toner cartridges: black, cyan, yellow and magenta.  When you need to replace them, the front of the machine pulls down revealing the inside of the machine. You can also access the inside of the CM3530 from the right side.

    There are two paper trays on the CM3530 configuration: a 100 sheet multipurpose tray located on the right side and a 250-sheet cassette that pulls out from the front.

    The connection ports are located on the left side.  There is a connection for an optional 500 sheet cassette, USB and Ethernet ports and power plug.

    CM3530 PERFORMANCE

    Setup
    The LaserJet CM3530 is relatively easy to set up and it comes with two setup CDs.  One for administrators or whomever is setting up the CM3530 on the network and one for users with an online manual etc.  You can also download drivers on HP’s website. 

    While the CM3530 can be set up via USB, we set up the CM3530 over our network because that is how the printer is most useful.  Once the device is on the network, any user on the network can access it through HP JetDirect Embedded Print Server but in order to print the user will need to download the drivers.

    As I mentioned previously, the toner is pre-installed but the cartridge slots are labeled for easy installation when replacing.  The cartridges slide in and lock in place.

    Ease of use
    As a stand alone device, the CM3530 is a breeze to use.  The color touchscreen display is bright, labeled intuitively, and very responsive.  Users can copy one page using the scanner or 50 pages using the ADF, save scanned images or documents to the printer or send images to a shared folder on the network.  There also menus for job and supply status as well as administration.

    The JetDirect Embedded Print Server is accessed through a browser so it has real time information of device status including ink levels, print status and/or error messages (jams, paper refills). 

    Users and administrators can also use the JetDirect Embedded Print Server to setup shared folders, e-mail settings, network settings, security settings, and color management and much more.

    The CM3530 can be set on a sleep schedule using the print server or the touchscreen display.  Same for adding security pins for locking documents or images saved on the printer or shared network folder.

    Performance tests
    The LaserJet CM3530 is one of only a few printers I’ve reviewed that have actually lived up to the manufacturers advertised print speeds.  HP claims the CM3530 will print 31 pages per minute (ppm) in both black and color with a first page out in as fast  as 10.9 seconds (12.2 in color). Our tests found that to be accurate with a few exceptions 

    When testing the CM3530 with our usual black text Microsoft Word document (38 pages), we got an average first page out as fast as 15 seconds.  So a little slower than advertised but we were working with a large print job (the first page out times dropped to average time of 11 seconds with a one or two page job).  It took a 1:25 to print 38 pages from hitting print, giving us an average of 25 ppm.  But if you cut out the processing time of 15 seconds, you are actually getting 38 pages in 1:10 which gave us an average ppm closer to HP’s claims. 

    Either way, I was impressed to find that color tests we did (also a word document with a color chart and black text) gave us the exact same results.  First page out was an average of 15 seconds and we got the same average of 25 ppm (when including processing time) and 32 ppm (when excluding processing time).

    I printed a 32 page black text document using the duplexing feature in 1:25, with a first page out (both sides) in 21 seconds.  A tad slower than printing one-sided jobs but you will save paper and toner.

    Wondering about the quality of the prints?  They were excellent.  The black text was dark and crisp; the color images were bold and the detail was surprisingly good for a laser printer.  I printed an 8×10 image of my puppy and found that the detail around her face and eyes really carried over from the original image.  The color itself left a little to be desired.  There was a good range of colors but they weren’t as vibrant or distinct as you would get from an inkjet photo printer.

    Scanning on the CM3530 was impressive to many in my office but when talking to the photo pros they found it was lacking in areas.  For instance, the CM3530 can scan an image or document and send it to the shared network folder in as little as eight seconds when saved as a JPEG file.  When saved as a PDF, the CM3530 scanned an image or document and sent it to the shared folder in 13 seconds.  That is another nice feature; having the choice to save scanned images how you choose. 

    But the scanner wasn’t perfect.  When we scanned in an 8×10 color image, it did a good job with the detail but changed the levels which altered the brightness of the photograph.  It also changed the saturation of the colors and over exaggerated imperfections from the printing process.

    What I would really like to make clear is that the CM3530 is built as an office machine so the scanner is NOT geared towards replicating 8×10 professional photos.  It is geared towards duplicating less detailed images and documents.  For everyday users and amateurs photographers, the scanner is more than enough.

    We also tested the power consumption of the LaserJet CM3530 even though it is Energy Star qualified because energy waste and laser printers have gone hand-in-hand in the past.  During start up, the CM3530 uses about 80 W initially, spikes up to 1000 W for three or four seconds, then drops back down to 100 W.  Once it is warmed up, the CM3530 pulsates between 50-100 W of energy.  When actually printing, it uses 550 W but drops back to down to under 100 W when in ready mode.

    There is a sleep mode on the CM3530 can be set ahead of time to automatically sleep, or users can hit the sleep button on the device control panel.  The sleep setting used about 46 W which isn’t bad in comparison to other similar laser printers.

    PROS

    • Print speeds (quick in both B&W and color)
    • Built-in duplexing (print and copy)
    • JetDirect Embedded Print Server
    • Large color touchscreen

    CONS

    • Isn’t great at scanning large photo quality images
    • Inital cost
    • No fax capability (on this model)

    CONCLUSION

    After reviewing the HP LaserJet Cm3530, I would recommend this MFP to any small or medium sized office.  Here’s why: it printed – black text and color images – quickly and efficiently and it offered a bevy of features on the base model.  My two concerns would be that some offices might want fax capability; HP does offer this feature on the CM3530fs but it will cost an extra $500.  Which leads me to my second concern, high initial cost which can be taxing on a small business.  HP offers a trade-in program which can save consumers up to $600 on CM3530 or can set up payment plans that brings the price down to a more affordable monthly price.

    Having said all that, I’ve decided that the HP LaserJet CM3530 deserves an Editor’s Choice award.  You might find faster print speeds or more cost-efficient devices out there, but the CM3530 gives users speed, quality and quantity.  What more can you ask for from a printer?

     

    PRICING AND AVAILABILITY

    The HP LaserJet CM3530 MFP is available now for $2,499 on HP’s website.

    Toner replacement per cartridge varies; regular black toner cartridge is $133.99, high volume black toner is $192.99 and all three colors are $264.99 a cartridge through HP SureSupply.


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