HP LaserJet 4P Review
Until 1990 you had a couple of choices when it came to printing: dot-matrix or daisy-wheel for desktop printing, or huge high-speed band printers that take up the size of a small freezer and uses yards of continuous -feed striped computer paper. So, when a printer came along that could print on regular paper, nobody cared about how fast it was or how great it’s resolution. Hey, everything was pretty much text anyway and anything was better than pulling out the IBM Selectric. The HP LaserJet 4P was a big step in office printers. A solid, compact desktop laser that could make 600 x 600 dpi quality B&W prints on letter or legal sheets at a speed of 4 ppm, with text quality (and font options) better than any typewriter.
Introduced in September 1993, the LaserJet 4P was the second generation of HP’s “P” series monochrome laser printers, designed for low volume office use. HP also sold the LaserJet 4MP with 6MB of memory to support PostScript (HP says the “M” means “Multi-platform” but it should mean “More Memory” instead).
Weighing in at 20 pounds with a low-profile height under seven inches, the LaserJet 4P will feel at home between shelves on your desk or computer hutch (with proper ventilation, of course). The 15” x 15” footprint is very compact for a printer of its age, yet it can support a legal-size paper cassette.
The LaserJet 4P has a paper cassette that can hold up to 250 sheets with paperweights ranging from 16# to 28#, and sizes ranging from 3” x 5” up to 8.5" x 14” legal size. The LaserJet 4P’s single-sheet manual slot tray can handle papers and cardstock up to 43-pound bond, envelopes, and transparencies.
The LaserJet 4P prints at a top speed of 4 pages per minute, which was faster than the dot-matrix printers at the time. The maximum 600 x 600 dpi resolution produces sharp text and decent details on simple graphics. The resolution will not make graphics somewhat grainy.
The 2MB of RAM provided in the 4P is fine for basic document prints and printing and was fine for the typical printing jobs in 1993. The LaserJet 4P has three SIMM slots for extra memory (the 4MP has just two), maxing out at 26MB. If you intend to print PDF’s or large files, I would recommend at the very least dropping in of HP’s proprietary 16MB SIMMs to increase the printers memory to a more useable 18MB.
The LaserJet 4P has connections for Serial printing or Parallel printing using the faster IEEE-1284 Centronics interface.
HP claims the warm-up time to be instantaneous. However, it will take up to 31 seconds for the LaserJet 4P to start printing once it receives the data. If you’re printing multiple jobs, having a half-minute delay between jobs gets to be aggravating--especially at 4 pages per minute.
Speaking of print delays, the initial amount of memory that comes with the LaserJet 4P is pretty small unless you’re a student who only prints text. For most PDF and graphic printing that is done today by the non-professional single user, the 2MB RAM will not be enough. If you can someone that sells 72-pin SIMM memory, no faster than 70ns, with Presence Detect, stuff all of the expansion slots to the 26MB maximum.
Just because the LaserJet 4P is slow does not mean it’s quiet. At 60 decibels, this printer is as noisy as a group of people talking in a room. Now imagine that noise inside your office.
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