* Prices may differ from that shown
When it comes to a mundane activity such as printing, you don't want to spend the Earth to ensure that you get a decent standard of printouts do you? This is why about 18 months ago we purchased the HP Officejet J4680 and we haven't looked back since. We currently utilise an Epson printer in conjunction with our home computer, so this HP is used as a standalone for all our copying needs.
Bought for around £120 at the time, this machine can now be purchased for £79.99 from PC World.
*** Aesthetics ***
I personally prefer the look of this printer in comparison with our bulky, more expensive Epson. The Officejet is very aesthetically pleasing, with it's white on grey colouring and the attractive silver menu situated at the front. The paper slot is situated at the front of the machine, which I always find easier than having it stand vertically at the back. The slot can be pulled out, which is handy if you're processing a lot of prints.
*** Features ***
The Officejet encompasses a scanner, photocopier and printer.
Photocopying is extremely easy as everything is set out as simply as possible for you. You're able to process up to 100 sheets of paper at a time. The default mode of the Officejet is always set to photocopy, therefore all that needs deciding upon is how many prints you want and whether you want them in colour or black and white. There are a few more fancy options at your disposal: I.e if you have a small photograph, you're able to print that photograph numerous times on one piece of paper which is very handy if you're looking to hand out photos to relatives. To photocopy, you must simply line up what you're aiming to print in the right corner closest to you and hit the green 'start' button, of course this will be after you've configured the settings to your liking. The printer will begin immediately and your finished prints will begin to appear within around 15 seconds (depending on what's on the page you're printing, of course). Your finished pieces of paper will sit only a couple of centimetres above the paper holder for easy access. The accuracy of the photocopier is excellent, with every minute detail picked up by this excellent piece of kit. Colours come out vibrant and vivid too, which is a big plus if you're looking to print photos.
To use as a printer itself it must of course be connected to the computer/laptop in question. This is done very simply with just a couple of wires that require a connection. The printer works just like any other printer, however, as it's not built to be a standard printer it's not quite *as* good as the Epson we use as our main printer. You'd select 'print' on your computer as normal and wait for something to happen, however, you may be waiting longer than normal. When photocopying the Officejet works perfectly well, allowing you to print up to 100 copies at a time. However, when printing from a computer it seems to struggle. It becomes unbearably slow when printing anything more than 10 prints and as the paper slots aren't particularly wide you may need to keep topping the printer up with paper, which can become rather irritating. Nevertheless, once completed the printouts are of an acceptable standard, with the Epson just pipping it to the post in terms of photo quality.
Scanning requires the printer to be hooked up to the computer as well, but scanning is a lot more successful than printing as it's completed in about 20 seconds which is excellent and the detail you get onscreen is fantastic. Infact, a printed version of the picture that was scanned looks just as vibrant as the original picture. Superb quality.
Printing photos produces fantastic quality shots. However, the Officejet is let down by the lack of a memory card or memory stick adapter. When using proper photo paper in the Officejet, photos come out fantastically well, flawlessly even. However, in terms of compatibility we tend to opt for our Epson printer for photos, purely down to the memory card adapter.
*** Inserting Ink/Paper ***
As aforementioned, inserting paper is extremely easy and we have never experienced any jams, whether it be due to loading paper incorrectly or it coming out incorrectly. The loading bay has a capacity of 100 sheets, however, when tested, 100 sheets actually became too much for the Officejet to handle as it was pushing the output tray up, which led to some of the printouts being squashed. For this reason we tend to load it with about 50 sheets, which does, unfortunately mean that if you're printing out more than 50 sheets you'll need to be vigilant to watch when it needs reloading, however. Another problem we've encountered when it comes to loading paper is that, the output tray can only hold 20 sheets of paper - why? Surely if this printer is going to offer to print 100 sheets of paper in a row then it's going to need to be able to hold 100 sheets at a time. HP don't seem to agree though, as when the printouts reach capacity of 20, the following sheets will end up pushing the first few onto the floor. So once again this isn't a printer that you're able to just leave to complete on its own, you need to keep a close eye on proceedings which can feel extremely tedious at times.
Fortunately inserting the ink produces less problems than inserting the paper does. There's no need to trawl through the menu system to find the reload ink option - simply lift up the flap and insert the ink cartridges one by one. The price of the ink always poses a problem, and this ink is no different. You'll need to purchase special HP ink which will cost you around £30 for a full box of colours.
*** Usability ***
The printer is very easy to use, with rubber left and right buttons enabling you to easily navigate through the menu options. There aren't many options as things are kept very simple. There's the option for black/colour prints, or to set the printer to print or scan mode. Apart from a couple more advanced options, which are largely redundant, that's all you'll need to make use of. The screen is extremely small and reminds me of the screens on the first mobile phones that came out, suffice to say it's not a colour screen, nor does it display picture previews which is a bit disappointing, given that this machine is only about 18 months old. All the buttons on the menu are laid out well, with sufficient spacing between them all and I've never had a problem with the buttons sticking.
*** Overview ***
With the exception of a few flaws, this is a rather good piece of equipment and for only £79.99 it's definitely good value for money. The flaws can be overlooked for a bargain right? If you're looking for something to predominantly use as a photocopier and scanner than you can't go wrong.
After a few years of frustration with my cheap Lexxmark all-in-one scanner/printer I decided to upgrade to a slightly more expensive but supposedly much more economical on ink HP Officejet. Just for reference I'm using this printer with my 6 year old Windows XP PC.
I paid around £80 for the Officejet from PC World in late 2008 and I've had no problems and have found it satisfactory for my home needs. One of the selling points for me was that you can buy regular inks (either black or colour cartridges) in a standard size, or get the "XL" version which works out a much better deal. The regular black "901" is currently £16.64 at PC World, with the "901XL" £27.45, but you can find them slightly cheaper with free postage at the HP website. According to HP the page yield for the regular 901 is 200, and 700 for the XL version. I still find the ink runs out faster than I would have hoped but this is something I've experienced with every home printer, and it's a definite improvement on my previous printers (sorry but I don't remember model numbers for comparison).
I bought this printer after reading reviews describing "laser quality printing". This is not quite the case but it's a definite step up from my previous printers, the text is nice and crisp and colourful images print pretty clear and decent. I haven't used it for photo printing as I find it much cheaper to go to my local Boots for that.
The scanner is good, it's quick and very sharp and clear. It also works as a photocopier independent of the computer so if you need to quickly copy a letter or bill you won't need to turn on you PC. A nice feature is being able to scan multi page documents by loading them into the tray at the top and leaving them to automatically feed into the scanner. I had a slight problem with creased paper feeding in but that's not really a complaint.
The printer loads from a front tray very smoothly with very little jamming occuring. That's always been a problem with my previous printers so it's a definite plus for me. Once printed the pages feed out onto the same tray where they loaded from. I've read some negative opinions about this but I don't have a problem with it, I think it's a good space saver.
This machine also works as a fax, but I haven't tested this.
One final excellent feature I should mention is this printer's wireless capability. You can send to print from any wireless enabled computer in your house and I've found this to be a very handy feature.
To sum up, I would say this is a very good, fairly priced home printer for general use. If you're looking for a photo printer this may not be the best choice, but if you want to print letters, homework and other day to day items this would be a great choice.
- Economical compared to some printers
- Fast, quiet, high quality printing
- Good, sharp scans
- Stand alone copier and fax capabilities
- Multi page feeding into scanner
- No problem with jams!
- Good software included
- Not quite up to laser print standard
- Still not as economical as I would like
- No memory card slot
Get professional results with this affordable, easy-to-use HP All-in-One. Watch productivity increase with print, scan, copy and fax capabilities in one device. Print high-quality color documents for less than lasers using HP Officejet inks.