HP's LaserJet Pro M402dw Monochrome Laser

Neck-Breaking Speeds with JetIntelligence

HP LaserJet Pro M402dn
HP LaserJet Pro M402dn single-function monochrome. Photograph courtesy of HP

If you think about all the dentist’s and doctors’ offices, clinics, mortgage companies, tire shops and every other profession that uses monochrome laser printers, surely the count is in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps even the millions, thinking globally. Hence, I’m always on the lookout for a good single-function, monochrome laser printer; by “good one,” I mean a machine that prints well and relatively fast, with an acceptable cost per page of 2 cents or less.

Enter HP’s LaserJet Pro M402dw, a single-function laser printer that meets all of the above requirements, and then some. On top of being fast and printing exceptionally well, it’s relatively small and easy to use, and, similar to a multifunction LaserJet, the Color LaserJet Pro M477fdw, we reviewed recently, it supports HP’s fairly new JetIntelligence.

Design and Features

At 15 inches wide, by 25 inches from front to back, and 9.5 inches high, this little laser printer takes up very little space, and it behaves well, with little-to-no rocking or vibrating. Unlike many machines in this price range, which are often driven by LED array technology rather than actual lasers, not so, here, though; this LaserJet is actually laser-based. Normally, that the print engine was one or the other wouldn’t really matter, except that in this case, it’s all part of HP’s JetIntelligence, which reportedly increases both speed and print quality.

Since the LaserJet Pro M402dw is single-function—all it can do is print. No scanning, no copying, no faxing, and no printing labels on optical discs. On the other hand, you do get support for Apple’s AirPrint, HP’s Wireless Direct, the company’s equivalent to Wi-Fi Direct, Google Cloud Print, Mopria-certified, and a few other mobile connectivity options, in addition to the more basic Wi-Fi, Gigabit-E (1,000MB Ethernet), and a single PC via USB.

Performance, Print Quality, and Paper Handling

HP claims “up to” 40 pages per minute (ppm). When I printed straight text documents with no formatting to speak of, this LaserJet reached that number a few times and even went beyond to around 45ppm once. When you add formatting, business graphics, and photos, though, the ppm comes down considerably, to below (sometimes well below) half. Even so, 40ppm is impressive, if you truly need that kind of speed—and some folks do.

This is the second JetIntelligence-based machine I’ve looked at recently, and like the multifunction M477fdw, this model also churned out better-than-expected documents and graphics, keeping in mind that this one, today’s single-function M402dw, is monochrome, and not really designed to print colored bar charts full-color photos. When it comes to black-and-white or grayscale prints, though, we liked everything we saw, especially the grayscale photos.

Paper handling consists of a 100-sheet override tray, as well as a paper cassette capable of holding 1,250 sheets, for a total of 1,350 input pages from two sources—decent variety, but you can add a third 550-sheet cassette for an additional $140 (on HP’s site).

Cost Per Page

This printer has an 80,000-page maximum monthly duty cycle, which is the number of prints Canon says you can print on this machine each month without undue wear and tear to the printer. If you purchase the company’s 9,000-page yield toner cartridge, your cost per page will come out to exactly 2 cents per page. Unfortunately, we searched the Internet for discounts, but every vendor we looked at sold the 9,000-yield cartridge for the exact amount as Canon, $196.99, or higher. So, right now, until the toner starts coming down, you’ll have to settle for 2 cents CPP.

Overall Assessment

Here’s a machine with a single-minded purpose that it does well enough to be respected and suggested.