The Pantum P3012DW is priced low enough – $ 139.99 or less at retailers like Amazon, though the company says it doesn’t have a list price – to define it as an entry-level monochrome laser printer. , but she offers more than you. might expect. It offers more connection options than the HP Neverstop Laser 1001nw and Lexmark MS431dw, both of which are Editors’ Choice award winners and also more expensive. The Pantum also provides automatic two-sided printing, which HP lacks, as well as a higher paper capacity. Its cost per page is a bit higher than normal and considerably higher than the Neverstop, but the problem depends on the number of pages you plan to print. For a small, low-volume office, the P3012DW might be just the ticket.
Mostly easy to install, lots of connection choices
Pantum, an emerging Chinese company, is not a particularly well-known brand, but its printers have been around since 2010. We reviewed and liked a Pantum laser printer as early as 2013, and the company has a solid footing in the budget market. monolasers. This is another strong entry into his stable of personal laser printers.
Setting up printers of this type tends to be straightforward as they are small and there is only one toner cartridge to manage. This is mainly true for the P3012DW, although the printer drum is separate from the toner instead of being included in the same cartridge. To install the machine, you remove a tray that contains both the drum unit and the toner cartridge, remove a protective sheet from the drum, remove the toner cartridge from the tray, pull out a plastic tab that holds the toner in. place during shipping, then snap the cartridge into the tray and place the tray back into the printer.
You can easily position the P3012DW almost anywhere you want; Measuring 9.1 x 13.9 x 13.1 inches (HWD) and weighing 15 pounds, it’s small enough to share your desktop. However, you can place it elsewhere in your office and connect easily via Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or Wi-Fi Direct. There is also a USB port and NFC support for mobile devices. The control panel located in the upper right front corner consists of a two-line LCD display, two status lights and a few buttons for moving through the menus.
The printer’s single paper drawer can hold up to 250 sheets of letter or legal size paper, making it suitable for most home offices and workgroups of one to three people. A single-sheet multipurpose tray allows you to feed letterhead or other specialty media without having to change the paper in the cassette.
The Pantum’s recommended monthly duty cycle is 750 to 3,500 pages, but if you regularly print more than about 1,000 pages per month (about 50 per business day), refilling the tray can quickly become an unwanted chore. Also note that with its high capacity cartridge installed, the estimated cost per page of the printer is 2.8 cents, compared to 1.8 cents for the Lexmark MS431dw, for example. If you plan to print only 20,000 pages over the life of the printer, saving a dime per page will more than cover the higher purchase price of the Lexmark.
For this review, I connected the P3012DW via Ethernet. Installing the drivers was both simple and old-fashioned, i.e. Pantum provides the drivers and the installation routine on a CD (although the Quick Install Guide also gives instructions to download the software from the company website). The one-click setup routine simply asks you to choose between a USB, Wi-Fi, or Ethernet connection.
Mobile app printing issues
You can also print from a mobile device, connecting via Wi-Fi or, if there is no shared network, Wi-Fi Direct. Unfortunately, I found the setup for mobile printing more problematic than its PC counterpart. A separate user guide for mobile printing shows you how to download the required app, then asks you to print a Wi-Fi assistant page and use the app to scan a QR code on it. But it doesn’t tell you how to print the page (the answer, available in an online video, is to press a Wi-Fi button on the front panel).
I managed to fumble around establishing a Wi-Fi Direct connection even without instructions, proving that the mobile printing feature works and can be useful once you know how to press the Wi-Fi button to set it up. As mentioned, the printer also supports NFC for devices running Android 4.4 and later, but Pantum says it doesn’t work with all Android 11 devices. When I tried to use it with my Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G, it worked to the point of automatically launching the mobile app on the phone when I touched the phone with the NFC tag, but it failed to establish the connection needed for printing.
Decent speed, good text quality
Rated at 32 pages per minute (ppm), the P3012DW turned out only a little slower than its more expensive competitors in our testing. It averaged 24.8 ppm when printing our 12-page Microsoft Word file, making it 2-5 ppm slower (two to five barely noticeable seconds longer for the 12 pages) than the HP LaserJet Pro M404dn, Lexmark MS431dw, or Lexmark B3442dw.
Printing our full suite of business documents, the Pantum handled 17.9 ppm which was 2.6-5.1 ppm slower than most competitors but a bit faster than the HP Neverstop 1001nw. It took an average of 9 seconds to print our 4 x 6 inch photos.
The output quality ranged from excellent for text to poor for graphics and photos. The text offered crisp, crisp edges and was easily readable even at 4 points for fonts likely to be used in business documents, while one of the two highly stylized fonts with thick strokes we tested was easily readable at 8 points. The other font, which is more difficult to render correctly, closed the space within and between characters, making it difficult to read any text less than 12 points.
When it comes to photos and graphics, I would call the quality of the P3012DW good enough to clearly convey an image, but not good enough to convey it to an important client or client. Thin lines were lost or broken, and graphics and photos showed banding, uneven stack height in dark fills, and easily visible dithering patterns.
A potentially strong competitor
The Pantum P3012DW offers a good deal, starting with a lower price point than most other personal lasers. It’s a bit slower than most, but you probably won’t notice it unless you’re printing long documents. It’s more seriously limited by a relatively low paper capacity (without optional trays or drawers for expansion) and a higher cost per page than most of the printers mentioned here.
If your print volume is more than moderate, take a look at the HP LaserJet Pro M404dn, Lexmark B3442dw or B3340dw, or the publisher award-winning Lexmark MS431dw. Choosing between them will largely depend on how much you plan to print and how that affects your total cost of ownership. If you can settle for manual, rather than automatic, two-sided printing and a single 150-sheet input tray, also consider another Editor’s Choice winner, the HP Neverstop Laser 1001nw. It was the slowest of this bunch in our testing, but its cost per page is an insanely low 0.3 cents, saving you hundreds of dollars over its lifetime. But if you need a little more capacity than the Neverstop and don’t print enough pages to worry about running costs, the Pantum may be the right choice.
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