The HP LaserJet 4050 is part of a lineup of decent quality laser printers that make up Hewlett Packard's monochrome printer stable. They are designed to compete directly with similar offerings from Dell, Xerox and Brother, who are the other big names in the office equipment space.
It's a decent size cube in the usual light gray color. It has a solid feel to it which is both utilitarian and reassuring at the same time. Built to last, and built to work, with a 65,000 page duty cycle the 4050 could quite accurately be called a workhorse. It has a 500 sheet paper drawer with a further 100 with the flip down multipurpose feed behind a flap at the front. Output is via a 50 sheet flip down tray at the rear and a 150 sheet output tray on top.
Toner and management are under a flap at the top. The cartridges unclip and you can see the entire paper path from the paper tray upwards. Through the clever use of levers you can get finger access to all of it, which makes coping with jams pretty simple. Not that we had any to try out.
Copy quality is what makes or breaks a printer, whoever the manufacturer might be. Luckily the reproduction is faultless. Our test completed without any issues at all, even the images. Text is clear and black, as it should be. Larger points had straight lines, definite corners and even toner spread. Graphs and images were also definitively defined, well filled and even throughout. Photographs were detailed, with only a little bobbling on darker areas, but definitely good enough for business use. At a speed of 17 pages per minute, it's no slouch either. The 4050 won't keep you waiting.
The base 4050 can be connected by USB, but the bigger brother the 4050n is a network ready device. Both are almost identical apart from this network facility. USB is fine as long as it has a host PC to run from, but a networked printer is infinitely more flexible.
The HP LaserJet 4050 is like a solid, dependable truck. Nothing fancy, nothing flash, but works well and won't let you down.