As of April 2, 2012 ($500) the HP LaserJet Pro 400 M451dn color laser printer produces high quality output (including photos) and is very fast for a color laser printer in this price range. It also has an automatic duplexer, this is a feature not included in the $450 LaserJet Pro 400 M451n . So far so good… until you examine the toner costs, which are costly for a relatively high-volume printer.
The control panel on the M451dn is simple and easy to use. A two-way rocker button lets you navigate the two-line LED; the panel also has a warning light, OK, cancel, and back buttons. Software installation is easy via either USB or ethernet.
250-sheet bottom main tray
an automatic duplexer
150-sheet output tray
bottom-mounted 250-sheet auxiliary paper feeder (optional $143)
Monthly Duty Cycle:
*recommended monthly print volume of up to 2000 pages
The M451dn is very well thought out. The printer has a 50-sheet front multipurpose tray, or you can move a larger part of the panel to access the paper path and the slide-out toner tray. A panel on the right pops-off the printer and makes it easy to upgrade the standard 128MB of memory to 384MB. Note: Upgrading memory from HP is very expensive. Consider third party memory for substantial savings.
That leads us to the issue of cost after the purchase of the printer, TONER! The black toner cartridge retails for $79 and lasts 2200 pages, or 3.6 cents per page. A high-yield black toner cartridge is available for $102 and lasts for 4000 pages, reducing black costs to 2.5 cents per page. The good news is that recently Xerox has become a player in the HP toner market. This model toner should be available soon for about 30% less than the HP brand. As for quality Xerox now has a life time warranty on all replacement toners for HP.
HP currently does not offer a high-yield option for the M451dn’s cyan, magenta, and yellow toner cartridges. The standard yield toners cost $114 each and last for 2600 pages, or just under 4.4 cents per page per color. The starter-size toner cartridges that ship with this printer last approximately 1400 pages.
The print quality of the M451dn is really nice and the first page out arrives quickly. Text is sharp, crisp and dark, and color photos are high quality for a color laser printer at this price. Text pages print at 11.4 pages per minute on the PC and 11.0 ppm on the Mac. Normal-size photos printed at 3.2 ppm to plain paper and 1.5 ppm on glossy paper. Full-page photos printed at about 0.8 ppm.