As I mentioned in this post, I had a second printer around to do the regular office kind of printing: from checklists to invoices to "stuff to read off line". I decided to go for a device that I knew from experience couldn't be all that bad. Since - with laser printers - HP has an awesome track record in my professional life, I went for it and looked at different models. The one I ended up with is a Color LaserJet 500, with installed duplex printing unit. The only "negative" feedback I found during my brief research was the "noise level". But hey, I was used to these things being extremely loud and so I braced myself for the worse... and can only say: what do people expect? This is a PRINTER, i.e. a device that - per design - has lots and lots of moving parts. Of COURSE there's going to be humming, clicking and similar noises. To my ear, it is rather well behaved. It is an office printer however. Home users might expect quieter models. Once the powersave feature hits, there's no noise at all. During "standby" mode, the noise is limited to a slight fan noise and only during actual printing it gets a bit louder. I agree that it would suck to sit next to it if it's being used all day long, but if it is put where it belongs - i.e. into a common room - there's no issue at all.
Printing speed is awesome (compared to my older models) and the duplex printing works like a charm. Printouts are crisp and clean, but of course not really photo level. But top notch for documents.
On a related note, the Canon printer recently announced that the "Matte Black" ink is running low and I should "prepare a replacement tank". Nice. No idea on how much longer it's going to last, but since I wanted to make sure I'm prepared I tried to get a new tank... only to find out that EVERY single ink tank of the 12 I need are available, EXCEPT the Matte Black one, which is sold out in all the stores that I found online. Either "ordered", "available in 2014" or whatever. A bit more research showed that there is an "economy pack" that holds all five black(ish) tanks in one large box. And there was ONE left in a store in Vienna, which seems to be the entire stock in the German speaking parts of Europe. Weird. PGI-29MBK is the type in case you are wondering. By now (two weeks later), some stores list them as "on stock" but there's still one that has "available on January 2nd, 2015". Is there a lack of black out there?