HP did not so much wade out into the medium-range, high-volume printer market, as they dove in head first with the HP Colour LaserJet 4650. This laser printer was built with the user in mind with a streamlined interface, a robust design, and complete compatibility. The LaserJet 4650 is the base model in a large series of machines, and a strong competitor for any mid-sized office or work group.
HP did not shy away from the back lit LCD display with the 4650, and this is the first thing that anyone will notice. Minor graphics, 4 lines of display, and a handful of navigational buttons can quickly cycle through even the most complex of print jobs. The included software can also handle up to 20 users simultaneously via the Ethernet, USB, and parallel ports at the rear of the machine. The front hatch opens up to reveal the 500 sheet input tray and the 100 sheet multi-purpose tray. A handful of optional input bins can be stacked directly under the printer for up to 1,600 input pages. The entire face of the machine opens up to reveal the snap on HP 4650 toner cartridges and the other hardware.
This printer was definitely made with ease of use in mind. The internal memory of the printer can print dozens of formats with no conversion necessary and from anywhere in the office. It can also send out multiple email alerts to notify the administration when the HP 4650 cartridges are running low or larger print jobs have been completed. With very little hassle, small expansion compartments can be added on to the base model for automatic duplexing, increased paper input, increased internal memory, multiple language support, and sorting. This printer also supports vibrant colour printing on paper styles ranging from high gloss to business cards.
It is slightly disappointing to see a printer with so many excellent qualities fall short in the speed department. While comparable Oki and Brother printers have pushed past 30 pages per minute with their models in the same price and size range, the LaserJet 4650 falls well short of this bar with just under 20 pages. The lack of features on the base model, such as two-sided printing, can also become irksome in a larger office environment.