The HP LaserJet 5550DN is a decent, fair-priced printer with plenty of upgrade options.

HP has a long history of producing workgroup laser printers, so we were looking forward to assessing the HP LaserJet 5550DN. Like most HP laser printers the 5550DN can be added to in a modular fashion after purchase, so if your needs change you can add paper trays, a hard disk and so on. However, you should always check the available options with the manufacturer beforehand, as not all upgrade options are made available separately.

The HP LaserJet 5550DN is obviously a printer that means business, as evidenced by the oversized toner cartridges, the largest of any of the printers on test. Installing them, however, was simplicity itself, thanks to the clear setup instructions provided. Toner yield, too, is a business-like 12,000 pages for colour (CMY) and 13,000 for black.

Once the HP driver is installed, network setup works like a dream via.

Starting with our standard Word document, the HP LaserJet 5550DN handled 50 pages in a slightly disappointing time of 2 minutes 6.9 seconds, though at 24.26 seconds, our 10-page Excel spreadsheet took significantly less time than with the Canon.

However, the big shock came with our next test: uniquely among our batch of test printers, the HP balked at our PDF image file. In three attempts, at both A3 and A4, all we could elicit from the printer was the message that there was ‘insufficient memory’ to handle the document – a fundamental failing in a printer aimed at workgroups. As the basic specification of the HP LaserJet 5550DN includes 160MB of memory, we’d seriously suggest factoring in the cost of a memory upgrade if you’re thinking of investing in one.

OUR VERDICT

The HP LaserJet 5550DN is a decent, fair-priced printer with plenty of upgrade options, but the memory as supplied in the base unit insufficient to handle some jobs, and its LCD status panel is not very informative.