Miraculous new printer: HP 1020

I bought an HP Laserjet 1020 a few days ago. It sat outside my room gathering dust for a few days; I was worried. I’ve had an HP Laserjet 6MP for the last 8 years and it has performed flawlessly. Would this new printer be any good or has HP lost it. “They don’t build ’em like they used to.” This new printer looks like a toy compared to the 6MP. Heck, that’s the main reason I didn’t bring it. The 6MP weighs in at roughly 25 lbs; this new printer is barely 5, consuming 1/2 the desk space. How could it possibly print 3 times as fast at twice the resolution, printing envelopes and full size images with it’s wimpy 2 MB of RAM?

Well, it does.

The first thing that got my attention was how well planned out the setting up procedure was. From the pretty language-free notes to the amazing ease at which the toner slips into it.

  • Driver software: excellent. It clearly walked me through printing double-sided… and it didn’t speak! Those speaking printers still freak me out.
  • Speed: remarkable. The first text page comes out in 8 seconds, then 6 seconds per page. Full page photos come out just about as fast.
  • Print quality: excellent. Not as good as a photo, or as a color photo but terribly sharp black and white. Better paper might help this.
  • Envelopes: Fine. Since it doesn’t have an alternate paper path port, I worried that my envelopes would be all crinkled. It comes out only a tiny bit crinkled and the paper fully recovers after a few minutes. (better than my 6MP!)
  • Footprint: tiny! When you’re not using it, you can fold up the front door and it takes up about 8″x15″x8″. Otherwise, it’s 15″x15″x8″, smaller than some inkjets.
  • Aesthetic: Nice. Smooth, slightly curvy lines, respectable two-tone traditional beige and dark beige.
  • Cost: A bit more than some other printers. I paid $179. Some other stores had a $30 rebate but I was lazy. Some other low-end laser printers are as cheap as $89 but buying the HP name seems to still be worth something. :-)
  • Toner life and replacement cost: I think I remember reading that I’ll get 2,000 pages out of the $80 print cartridge. Probably more if I refill it.


  1. Meish says:

    I just bought a HP 1020 and pretty glad to know that at least some one left some good comments on it. I was previously using a friend’s Canon laser printer and she took it back with her thus i had to look for a new one. The toner in malaysia cost about RM 270. (ur.. i think its much much cheaper in singapore) I will get it from there if i need to, the next time.

  2. Martin says:

    I got one of these, printed about 800 pages and was out of toner.
    I’m pretty sure the toner cartridge on the 6MPer lasts a lot longer than that. In fact, I bought this printer because I was spending a lot on photocopying and thought I could save some cash. Turns out I can photocopy cheaper (800 X .04 a page = $32, a lot cheaper than a new toner cartridge for this thing.)

  3. Lee says:

    I’ve printed 540 pages so far (found in Printer | Printer Preferences | Basics | About…) on the first cartridge. I hope it lasts more than 800 pages. We’ll see. I’m quite happy with it.

    It’s hard to save money over $0.04/page copying at Kinkos or wherever; remember that you have to amortize the $170 cost of the printer as well. But even the 6MP with it’s 2,500 copies per cartridge costs more than Kinkos even before you factor in the time and expense of driving to the photocopy place.

    Is the $0.04/page rate good on small, while-you-wait jobs as well? If I had to print a lot (>500) of pages each month, the HP 1020 wouldn’t be the right printer for me.

  4. Martin says:

    The 4 cents a copy I’m quoting is on self-serve copies at places like Office Depot. I tend to print infrequent but large bayches. I needed a printer anyway and was tired of inkjets.

  5. Lee says:

    You can try refilling the cartridge. I’ve done that on my 6MP and it worked out fine. Or this might not be the printer for you. You could give it to your girlfriend and get one with a big toner cartridge.

    Good printing to you… May your paper never jam and your toner never run out.

  6. dave says:

    the 1020 is such a great little laser, only drama i have is i cant get it work with the new windows x64, even bulit a print server still no luck, anyone with ideas would love to hear them

  7. Heather says:

    I have had a really bad experience with this, trying to print largeish (40 MB) comics, doublesided, from MS Publisher. 2 montsh down the line and I am still trying out replacements, calling tech support etc. Am on my 2nd printer now and same problem – printer memory really inconsistent I think.

    So if you are an illustrator or cartoonist needing a reliable printer for big docs, steer clear of this. If anyone can recommend a better b&w laser for my needs I’d be really grateful.

  8. Craig says:

    First impresssion of the hp 1020: quick, sharp printing. I highly recommend a black and white laser printer over any all-in-one or photo/color printer in the store which are slow and complicated.

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