Product Reviews

In Brief

Hewlett-Packards Color LaserJet 3700 series is a compelling reason to stop printing in black and white. The judicious addition of color to business reports and presentations creates an impact that’s just not possible otherwise. Rated at 12 pages per minute, the 3700 is positioned between the 8 ppm 3500 and the 4650 series.


CLJ 3500, $799; CLJ 3500n, $999; CLJ 3700, $1,299; CLJ 3700n, $1,599; CLJ 3700dn, $1,999; CLJ 3700dtn, $2,199

Hewlett Packard
Palo Alto, Calif.


You know who the other players are in laser printers. But when it comes to color lasers at this low price points, the field is narrow. Lexmark, Okidata, Minolta, Samsung, and Brother are the other games in town.

Printer Reviews

Lexmark C510 color laser

HP Color LaserJet 3700

HP portable Deskjet 450

Lexmark PrinTrio combo printer/scanner/copier

Lexmark E320 mono laser

Dymo LabelWriter 330 Turbo label printer

Brother QL-500 label printer


Key Specs

4Print speed: Up to 16 ppm

4First page out: 18 seconds or less

4Processor: MIPS RISC at 350 MHz

4Resolution: True 600 x 600 dpi with HP ImageREt 2400 and HP’s print quality refinement technologies

4Memory: Standard: 128 MB
Maximum: 448 MB

4Duty cycle: 55,000 pages per month

4Media handling
Tray 1: 100-sheet capacity
Tray 2: 250-sheet capacity
Output capacity: 150 pages
Duplex printing: Automatic
Sizes: Letter, legal, executive, envelopes (Monarch, No. 10)
Tray 1: 3"x5" to 8.5"x14"
Tray 2: 5.8"x8.3" to 8.5"x 14"
Weights: 20 to 28 lb
Types: Paper (plain, glossy, tough, recycled), envelopes, transparencies, labels, cardstock

Interfaces: IEEE 1284-compliant bi-directional parallel port, USB 1.1 port, HP Jetdirect 615n internal print server in EIO slot
Printer languages: HP PCL 6, HP PCL 5c, PostScript® 3 emulation (automatic language switching)

4Client operating systems: Microsoft® Windows® 98, 98 SE, NT 4.0, Me, 2000, XP 32-bit2; Windows Server 2003, 32-bit2; Mac® OS 9.0 and later, Mac OS X V 10.1 and later

4Network operating systems: Via optional HP Jetdirect print servers: Microsoft Windows 98, Me, NT 4.0,2000, XP and XP 64-bit, Windows Server 2003, Mac OS 9.1 and later; Novell NetWare 3.2, 4.2, 5.x, 6; Red Hat Linux 6.x and later; SuSE Linux 6.x and later; HP-UX 10.20, 11.x; Solaris 2.5x, 2.6, 7, 8 (SPARC systems only); IBM AIX 3.2.5 and later (requires software from the NOS vendor); MPE-IX
Network protocols supported: TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, AppleTalk, Apple Rendezvous compatible, DLC/LLC, Auto-IP, IP Direct Mode, NDS, Bindery, NCP, NDPS, iPrint, Telnet, SLP, IGMP, BOOTP/DHCP, WINS, SNMP V 1 and 2c, HTTP; LPD3, FTP Printing3 and IPP3

19" W x 17.6" D x 23.8" H

4Weight: 73.3 lb

4Power consumption:
Printing: 400 watts max.
Powersave: 14.5 watts
ENERGY STAR compliant






HP Color LaserJet 3700dn Printer


By Joel Shore

May 15, 2004

Got an old monochrome laser printer at the office? It’s probably an HP LaserJet, right? Well, find another use for it, say, as a boat mooring. The HP Color LaserJet 3700 series is a great reason to switch to full-time color printing.

Rated at 12 pages per minute in color or monochrome, the four printers in the 3700 series are a step up from the more affordable 8 ppm 3500 series. There’s even an entry-level model 2550L Color LaserJet, a $499 unit that’s perfect for the home, home office, or dorm room.


The 3700dtn adds a second input tray to the 3700dn’s network and duplex printing capability.


The 3500 and 3700 series HP Color LaserJet printers are part of HP’s Smart Office initiative for small and medium-size businesses. Through Smart Office, HP aims to deliver products, services and solutions that make technology easy to own for SMBs. Time will tell if they meet that goal.

The 3500 models were announced at the same time as the 3700 series. The printer we looked at for this review is the 3700dn. It features built-in Ethernet network connectivity and a duplexer that allows for automated printing on both sides of the paper.


The Color LaserJet 3700 is available in four different flavors. I recommend shelling out the extra bucks for the network capability and duplexer. That means either the 3700dn or 3700dtn models. Once you use the duplexer to start printing on both sides of the paper, you’ll love the savings. And two-sided output just looks more professional.

  • Color LaserJet 3700
    100-sheet multipurpose input tray and 250-sheet
    input tray; total input capacity of 350 sheets
    64 MB RAM, expandable to 448 MB
  • Color LaserJet 3700n
    All features of the 3700 model, plus:
    Jetdirect 615n Fast Ethernet internal EIO print server

  • Color LaserJet 3700dn
    All features of the 3700n model, plus:
    Automatic two-sided duplex printing unit
    128 MB built-in memory, expandable to 448 MB

  • Color LaserJet 3700dtn
    All features of the 3700dn model, plus:
    500-sheet tray for an input capacity of 850 sheets

The HP Color LaserJet 3700 series is positioned as single solution for small- to medium-size workgroups. It offers intuitive operation and simple network management and configuration. HP’s ImageREt 2400 technology manipulates each dot of toner on the page, providing very good output quality.


Set-up was straightforward. We did need two sets of hand to maneuver the 70-lb. printer onto the lab’s counter, but I didn’t find that to be a problem. The fact is, all color laser printers need four separate toner cartridges (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) just the way an inkjet printer needs four ink supplies, and all the supporting hardware makes these devices heavy.

We like the front-facing access for inserting and replacing the four toner cartridges. The entire front of the printer swings down, providing a clear view inside. The black cartridge goes on top, followed by cyan and magenta, and yellow at the bottom of the stack.

A nice touch is that the toner cartridges included with the printer are not the half-filled so-called startercartridges that manufacturers sometimes use to keep the product price down. These are fully filled and will keep you going for thousands of pages.

The Myth of Dots Per Inch

What’s more interesting is comparing image quality and rated resolution against other printers. These HP models operate at an actual resolution of 600 x 600 dots per inch. That’s 36,000 separate dots applied (as needed) to each square inch of paper. But HP says that its ImageREt technology can manipulate the size, positioning, and shape of each dot, yielding a result equivalent to 2,400 dots per inch. Other manufacturers’ printers operate at a true 1,200 x 1,200 dpi and claim their technology also yields a result equivalent to 2,400 dpi.

So what does it mean? In my opinion, not all that much. The fact is you have to look pretty hard to find a printer with miserable results. Unless a particular unit is faulty, the results are likely to border on the spectacular. To me, that means I pay no heed to the manufacturer’s specs and concentrate on how the page looks. Pages from the 3700 look great.

Let’s go back to those four toner cartridges. In some low-end color laser printers, the paper makes four trips around the inside of the printer as one color, then another, and another, and another are applied. While that method sounds reasonable, it often results in painfully slow color performance and sometimes in colors being misaligned. The 3700 uses single-pass technology, applying all four toner colors in a single pass. That’s the way to go. But, curiously, that method slows monochrome-only printing.

The Bottom Line

We liked the HP Color LaserJet 3700dn. It is more expensive to operate than some competing models, but we can’t argue with the quality of the output. Text was crisp and images shows no streaks or spots where toner was applied unevenly. For a small office or department, the HP Color LaserJet 3700dn is a good choice.<

Yeas & Nays


4Easy installation

4Great color

4Paper trays and toner cartridges all accessible from the front; no more side panels to open

4Duplex accessory enables two-sided printing


4Not as much bang for the buck as some competing models

4Slow monochrome-only performance

In The Box

Color printer

Toner cartridges (4)

Getting Started guide

Setup poster

CD containing software drivers, utilities, and user’s guide

Power Cord


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