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on April 14, 2010
I have owned many different laser printers from HP, Dell, Lexmark, Brother and Samsung. This printer beats them all for three reasons:

1. Quick. When you hit print, the first page is out of the printer in less than 7 seconds. That is fast!

2. Quiet. You will hear the printer while it is printing, but when it is finished or in standby mode, it is quiet. If not silent. It sits right next to me and I don't notice it.

3. Small and good looking. When compared to older laser printers, this one is a model of good design. It sits compactly in the corner out of the way, but ready to serve at the touch of Ctrl P or the printer button.

4. Duplex perfection. First of all, watching this printer spit out a piece of paper and then inhale it to print the other side is really really neat. It is just plain fun to watch. Secondly, both sides come out printed perfectly.

5. Network Functionality. The printer was found without problem by my Windows 7 machine as well as my Mac. It just works.

6. Crisp Text. We purchase lasers because we want crisp text. This laser will make you proud.

This is a good printer and the price point is amazing for what it delivers.

Quick, Quiet, Fast, Good Looking, Duplex Perfection in a network printer with Crisp Text Output. What else do you need? HP engineers and designers hit a homerun on this one.
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on November 9, 2015
I've now had this printer about 15 months, and have printed 6,000 pages. I've only used genuine HP cartridges, the cheapest I can find, and the cost per page has been around 3 cents (depending on the cost of the cartridge) which I consider very good (I'm getting about 1,800 pages per cartridge). It almost never jams, and does duplex very nicely. It goes to sleep nicely and wakes up quickly and prints fast. My only complaint is that it doesn't feed accurately from what HP calls "the priority input slot". Envelopes sometimes come out a little crooked, and labels don't always line up well. That's not a huge problem because you can put labels in the normal paper tray. Also, cardstock sometimes jam when printing duplex, which is not really a problem because you can just feed the cardstock through once for each side. It doesn't feel like it's built to last like the historic HP printers (I had a 6p), but so far no reliability complaints. Installation and the Windows software have been trouble-free.
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Top Contributor: BBQon January 5, 2012
I finally got tired of inkjet printers, with their expensive ink cartridges and "wet" printouts that have to be kept far, far away from a glass of water, their rickety, noisy mechanisms, and the waiting - waiting for the machine to warm up, waiting for it to think over the print job for a while, waiting for it to make the big decision to print the first page, etc. I thought back to the ole' days of yore at work, when I would just send a print job to the laser printer, and bam!, a minute later, 20 or 30 pages would be all printed out, nice and quietly, no loud beeps telling me to replace the ink cartridge or load more paper or whatever.

So I decided to buy a laser printer. I got the 1606dn.

Man, this thing is GREAT. It sits there silently and seemingly powered-off until you send it a print job. When you hit "Print" the 1606dn instantly powers up and starts printing -- within a second or two. You can print an entire 20 page document in less than a minute.

The duplexing is amazing -- just tell it, within whatever software you're using (e.g. Word), to print 2-sided, and that's it. You will get a beautiful 2-sided printout sitting in the tray, with no paper curling at all. Saves a lot of paper.

Like everyone else, I wish the toner cartridges were cheaper. Without even getting to the end of one, I already know that "2100 pages" (for the 78a cartridge) is a complete lie, and will be hoping for 1400 pages (figure, two-thirds of what they claim). No cartridge has ever lasted as long as the manufacturer claims, especially HP.

If you need color, the 1606dn isn't going to provide it, obviously. So that's a limitation. We still have a color inkjet for that, though I doubt I'll be using it much, if at all. For B&W printing, a laser printer is far, FAR superior to inkjet. It's much faster, it's cheaper, and it's a drier printout. Believe me, when you go to your printer to pick up a 5 or 6 page document from the 1606dn and you get to the machine and nothing seems to be happening, and then you realize that the printer pumped out the whole document in the time it took you to walk over to it, and is now kicking back and relaxing, you'll be reminded of how great laser printers were, back in the day. I do a lot of printing, and am just so happy - ecstatic, really - to be done with all the expensive, noisy, slow inkjet nonsense.

The price seems fair: low, in fact, for all the value you get.

UPDATE 2/3/2012:

I am, sadly, updating my review on the 1606dn to ding it a star. I considered downgrading it from 5 to 3 stars, but decided to be generous. Basically, all of my above (favorable) comments still stand, but the printer has had alignment problems. Every page prints with the text slanting slightly to the top or bottom. That is to say, if I print a square box on the page, the line either tilts up or down, as you look from left to right on the page. I took out a ruler and measured it, and the offset is 1/32 of an inch. It is enough to notice (easily), though not necessarily enough to waste my time on the phone with HP for a day. Sadly, after searching online to find a potential solution, I discovered that the 1606dn has absolutely zero, no, nada alignment controls. A lot of laser printers provide buttons or software to align the printer cartridge, but this one does not. If the printer doesn't print straight, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. For home use and casual printing, I don't think it's far enough off to be a show-stopper, and will continue using the printer. For business use and legal documents it would be a showstopper, however. One of these days, I will have some free time and will call HP to deal with this situation. I don't think a printer out of alignment is a big, big deal, but a misalignment that you can't do anything about - that is kind of a big deal.
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on March 26, 2013
This replaced an HP 1020 LaserJet and I am very pleased with it. I volunteer for a nonprofit and have been using this for board packets and member mailings. I estimate that I have probably printed over 2000 pages in the three weeks I've had it. Very rapid spool and print time and the auto-duplexing is saving time and resources.
The starter toner cartridge is just that - starter. It was probably good for 200 pages. The unit does have a low-toner warning sensor set to get you an alert when you reach "50 pages remaining" level. Super choice if you need a basic monochromatic printer with large paper capacity and duplexing features.

Update after three months - The printer, after performing wonderfully well, developed hardware issues where it was not recognizing a new toner cartridge and refusing to print. I spent a few hours with HP tech support where "we" tried various fixes to no avail. Bottom line is that HP is sending me a new printer. I'll update the review, if needed, after the new printer arrives and goes through my nonprofit tests. I really hope this was a fluke.
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on September 21, 2010
I previously owned a LaserJet 6L which was a reliable printer in its day. Since then, I've purchased several color printers from other manufacturers. I went back to HP for their reliability.

This printer quickly prints documents, especially with the built-in duplexer. I can send a print job to it and the first page (one sided) is coming out of the printer in two seconds.

The down side is the cost of toner. Normally, I have the print density set at 2 out of 5, which is on the light side. Using Econo mode does save toner, but the text is more difficult to read in low light conditions, so I rarely use that mode.

The sample toner (allegedly 1000 pages) included with the printer printed less than 400 pages before white streaks in the text began appearing. After installing a new cartridge (78A) just 4 days ago and printing 760 pages, the printer is reporting that 30% (or 300 pages) is left. At over $83 per cartridge, including tax, that comes out to 8 cents per page. I just purchased 2 toners at $49 to help save money.

But to call this a "green" printer, when one has to replace the toner cartridge after only 1060 pages, is silly.
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on November 24, 2013
I got this to replace a very old HP 2200d workhorse that was way past its prime. In those days, I was a heavy user. Because of today's electronic communications, I'll be using this less frequently. But when I do, it will be in heavy-duty spurts, such as printing a PDF manual, or addressing a mass mailing.

Functionally, they seem similar. Physically, this is a totally different class. The 2200 weighed about 25 pounds and its footprint was twice as large. I was a little skeptical as I set up the 1606 -- it doesn't seem nearly as robust a "business machine" as the old one. The old one had a separate, mechanically complex slide-in auxiliary paper tray cartridge. This also has an auxiliary paper tray, but it's built in -- all you do is attach its little plastic shelf. Same for the "manual" paper feed: it's just a plastic shelf you place into its notch. Now I see why HP can sell this for so much less than the old design would cost.

But the output tray extension, in particular, is an example of what I hope are not a lot of hidden cut corners. It's only 5.5" wide, and when its flimsy 2.25"-wide 2.5" slide-out is out, the entire output support is only 13" long. As a result, the sides of legal paper slop over, causing later sheets to slop around and push the earlier sheets out of the tray. If HP had simply made the clip-on extension full-page width, this would not be an issue. It would also not leave me to wonder how long the flimsy little slide-out would last in a busy office environment.

Also, the on-off button feels very wobbly -- maybe it doesn't matter (I suppose it's just a bit of plastic that pushes a hidden microswitch), but it sure doesn't give me the confidence that you get from a car door that latches with a solid click. I hope these two items are symptomatic of other design shortcuts. The two reset buttons feel equally chintzy.

Haven't put it through its paces fully yet, but am also blown away by its speed. It seems to spit the printed sheet out even before it's sucked it in! This speed may or may not be special to this printer. Maybe all printers are so fast these days?

Speaking of sucks, the set-up instructions could be improved. There's virtually no writing, just diagrams. Photographs might have been clearer. It took awhile to figure out that the instructions are super-simple because the physical setup is super simple. Once you realize it's not rocket science, it's very quick and I doubt you could do it wrong. This is one of those things that take 20 minutes to figure out the first time, 2 minutes to do the next.

I had to insert the CD, setup didn't play automatically, but software setup went smoothly. Only glitch was that at the end it offered me links to download two drivers, without telling me what they are or if I even needed them. I still don't know; HP.com was having some download server problems, and their pages kind of assume you already know what you're looking at. This is, after all, an "office" machine. (When are technology providers going to realize that although we are technically capable businesspeople, we don't all have professional "network administrators" and have not seen it all before?) The CD makes the installation process a little clearer, but by then I'd already done it.

The installation waited for me to connect the USB cable (not included!). The connection is in the back, awkward to reach in my case, and, working by feel, I'd stuck it in the Ethernet socket instead.

The driver lets you select paper supply between "Manual Feed" and "Auto Select." I'm not sure what to make of that. The LJ 2200 let me specify specifically whether to use the caddy (bottom) or the manual feed (top) tray. But as there is no caddy now and both P1606 trays are equally accessible, in effect both are "manual feed." If the top tray is empty, the P1606 will take from the bottom tray. So, even though this is a network printer, apparently the user needs to visually check what paper has been loaded into the trays? Maybe it makes more sense to think of this as truly a one-source printer, because the manual feed tray accepts about a dozen sheets at most (again, this is less than with my old LJ).

I'd give it four and a half stars if I could. But four stars because of the confusing paper management, and because they decided to save a bit of plastic rather than (literally) support legal sheets in a more professional manner.

UPDATE: The bottom bin will hold a reasonably hefty number of pages. I'm guessing about 250 20lb sheets? (Check with HP specs to be sure.) I suppose the intended method is for the default paper to be in that bin, and if you occasionally need to print, say, legal size, stand there while printing and feed them into the top tray, 10 at a time. Lord help you if you don't keep up, because if the top tray empties, the printer will take paper from the bottom tray without pause or warning. I haven't tested "Manual Feed" in this regard. Will update this when someday I do.
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on February 19, 2014
So I have been a faithful HP printer buyer for many years. I am an IT professional who buys a large number of printers every year for my organization. For my home I wanted a small laser printer for black and white and I thought this printer was going to be the perfect fit.

Boy was I wrong - first of all it ONLY ships with a mini cartridge, you are not getting a full toner cartridge on a new printer. Second the printer takes forever to install, huge driver set had to download and the installation took forever, one of the reasons I like HP printers is there laser drivers aren't bloated, this was like installing an ink jet.

And lastly the paper is not well sealed, it is in an exposed tray like an inkjet and the top of the printer the paper is only being held up by a little detachable tong to hold the paper. I would not buy this printer, spend the extra 50 and get one of the P2xx printers.
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on November 15, 2013
Still going strong after 2 1/2 years. (I only go through about 2 cartridges per year though). Printer is sturdy and the tray and paper catcher extension have as yet to break, although I've bumped them a lot and they've also suffered as cat platforms.

Had one issue early on where I couldn't power it back up after a power outage....I called HP customer service and they had me push on the power button really hard several times. It sounded silly, but worked! No problems since.

March 2017 update: I only go through 2 toner cartridges a year, but this printer is still running like a champion. There's never a paper jam and it works consistently well.
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on January 20, 2014
If I could give this SIX stars I would. I got this printer to replace a printer that we use for bookkeeping purposes but connected it to my laptop first to try it out. I haven't given it back! I'm not GOING to give it back lol! It makes such fast work of printing letters and documents online - like 3 or 4 seconds for one page! And DOUBLE-SIDED documents? This peppy printer makes easy work of those too. And at a great price! I consider myself to be a pretty savvy online shopper and this was the best price I found online, when shipping is taken into account. I will let our bookkeeper have this printer only if they make a version that prints color too!
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on May 7, 2014
I bought this printer based on a review in the New York Times ("In the Universe of Printers, One Worth Talking About," July 25, 2013), and then I bought two more for other members of my family. This printer is worth talking about. Two of us are writers, so we print a large volume of copy. It is a workhorse, fast, reliable and light enough to put in a car and take on a trip, which I did. It is quite fast and holds a large stack of paper. I also have three all-in-one printers in my home, which sit like relics unless I need color, scanning or faxing capability. The air printing function on this HP 1606dn works well and is wonderfully convenient. I could not be happier with a printer.
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