HP LaserJet Pro M404dw (W1A53A)

$298.90
4.6

Design

4.5/5

Features

5.0/5

Performance

4.5/5

Security

4.5/5

Value

4.5/5

Pros

  • Crisp, fast printing
  • Many print options, including Mobile
  • Security features
  • Compact & professional look
  • Extensible feeder trays

Cons

  • Pricey toner cartridges
Read: 4 mins.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Why HP?

I have worked in the IT industry for over 17 years (and even longer as the “family computer guy”) and have come across a multitude of printers: Canon, Lexmark, Epson, Brother, Konica, HP, Ricoh, and all have their Pros and Cons. One thing is common, however: HP is the most widely used in the business world and for good reasons!

So, how does this monochrome (black and white-only printing) HP LaserJet Pro M404dw (W1A53A) fare? Pretty well!

In A Nutshell

The latest addition to the LaserJet Pro line of printers produces sharp, fast, two-sided printing with business-class features and security. The cost of replacement toners is high but has the capacity to output a large number of pages. Add the 550-sheet feeder tray (#D9P29A), and we got ourselves a compact, 800-page, clean, and professional-looking laser printer for the home or small office.

What’s Good? What’s Bad?

Pros

  • Crisp, sharp print quality for text and graphics
  • Fast print speed (up to 40 ppm)
  • Compact, sturdy, and professional looking
  • Duplex printing (prints on both sides) for supported sizes (letter, legal, executive, etc)
  • Printing options: WiFi, WiFi Direct (device directly connected to printer), Ethernet wired network, USB cable printing, or email
    • M404dn model lacks the WiFi/WiFi Direct options
    • An email address is provided through the HP Smart app to which you can forward emails to for printing
  • Can print directly from mobile devices (both Android and Apple iOS) either through the HP Smart app or from other apps that support mobile printing
  • Easy WiFi configuration by downloading the HP Smart app (Apple iOS/Android/Windows 10)
    • HP Smart app effortlessly detected the printer, guiding you through configuration, usage, and provides statistical data
    • Windows 10 app through the Microsoft App Store works very well
  • Advanced network and security configuration available (through the HP Smart app and a web browser interface)
    • See “Security” section below for more details
  • Email notification of events, such as out-of-paper or hack attempts
  • Tray 1 opens on the front for checks/envelopes/manual feeding
  • Tray 2 holds paper for 250-sheet feeding, and a Tray 3 can be purchased
  • Works with HP 550-sheet feeder tray (Part #D9P29A)
    • Makes the printer look more professional, keeps a few reams of paper out of  sight, and minimizes the number of trips needed to replenish the trays
HP M404dw + D9P29A feeder tray, 58X toner

HP M404dw + D9P29A feeder tray, 58X toner

  • Came with USB cable
  • AirPrint: Apple Mac compatible
  • Google Cloud Print compatible
    • To set up, the printer will waste 2 sheets: one with instructions and another to confirm setup was completed
  • Extended replacement toner available for VERY high capacity printing
    • Included starter toner can print about 2,000 pages
  • Quiet mode (prints more quietly at the expense of speed), though I did not find the normal mode to be noisy
  • Configurable, automatic power on/off/sleep modes
    • Defaults: Sleep Mode of 1 minute, Shutdown of 4 hours
  • Fairly light weight at 19 lbs
  • Additional, advanced, business-class features include
    • SNMP, WINS, SLP, LPD, LLMNR, Syslog, NTP time sync
    • Usage and Job reports
    • Backup/Restore of settings and Firmware updates

Cons

  • Replacement toners were EXPENSIVE at launch, but had come down reasonably since
  • Did not include a network/Ethernet cable

Tips

  • The software to download for Windows and Mac OS is “HP Easy Start” which you can grab from HP’s website
  • The software to use on mobile devices (Apple iOS/Android) is “HP Smart”
  • You can access the full, complete printer configuration by finding the IP address on the printer (or through the HP apps) and typing it into your web browser
  • The HP Smart app includes a free trial to Mobile Fax
    • Allows you to fax print jobs from the app
    • Requires you to have a valid fax number (per regulation), but does not need a phone landline
    • I did not check what the service’s cost is after the 1 month trial

Security

Mobile Printing /HP

In today’s environment, information security has become more important than ever. I thoroughly appreciate HP’s inclusion of features and settings to help protect one’s network. Here are some of them.

  • Removal of Web Services
    • Although the printer conveniently allows you to print from the web or via email, any route a hacker can enter from presents a vulnerability.
    • The HP Smart app allows you to turn off those web services to minimize the attack footprint
    • The default admin password should be changed for additional security
  • Network Connectivity Options
    • The printer allows you to turn on/off any unused printing options, including: wired ethernet, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth, AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, and the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP, IPPS)
      • The IPP/ IPPS methods allow you to assign user access for printing from mobile devices
  • Certificates
    • This topic is a BIG one on its own, and to many, a very confusing one
      • In short, Certificates are like passports issued by an authority both parties trust. They help secure communication between the printer and the sender
    • The HP M404dw uses a self-signed, pre-installed certificate and supports CA-signed ones that are PEM/Base64 encoded
  • Email Alerts
    • You can be notified when a specific threshold is met (default: 1 minute)
      • Cartridge missing, empty, or low
      • Door open, media mismatch, paper jam, out of paper
      • Job storage memory problems, such as USB device disconnected and out of memory
  • Firewall Rules
    • Built-in firewall, complete with configuration of rule priority, address and service templates, service list
    • Failsafe option where HTTPS remains accessible even if it is blocked by a firewall policy (so an admin doesn’t accidentally get locked out)
  • Secure Communication
    • Cipher suites, SSL/TLS protocols, and HTTPS redirection can be enabled/disabled
  • SNMP options include v1/v2 and v3
  • ACL: An IPv4-only access control list is available to control access to the printer
  • 802.1x Authentication: PEAP, EAP-TLS protocols are supported
  • Cartridge Protection to lock a toner to a specific printer to prevent theft
    • Using a protected cartridge on another printer will not work
    • The lock cannot be undone on that cartridge. It is permanent

Final Thoughts

As with most HP printers, this is a quality, business-class product with the speed and sharpness the LaserJet Pro series is known for. The security features are a welcome sight! I do prefer the HP M404dw (WiFi) model (which costs $50 – $100 more) over the HP M404dn (USB/wired network) for its versatility of not having to be wired to the network, but the HP M404dn (USB/wired network) model is still a good purchase, especially at the current $219 price. Add the 550-sheet feeder tray (#D9P29A), and we got ourselves an 800-page, clean, and professional-looking laser printer.

Where To Buy

Related Reviews