"The first printer I've ever bought that I'm happy about"4.0 starson by blueOrbit
Pros: Fast, affordable, feature-rich, intuitive.
Cons: Large, color print quality.
I finally got frustrated enough with my gigantic Brother MFC6490CW that I decided to replace it. I'd originally abandoned my loyalty to HP printers, and switched to Brother, due to the bloated and intrusive software I had to use with my old OfficeJet 6110. Unfortunately, the Brother had unreliable communications. So it's back to HP.
My wife and I both work from home so we really do need a fast, reliable, affordable, all-in-one type of printer that can work with multiple platforms such as Windows 7, Windows XP, OS X, and iOS. We don't do a lot of photo or color printing so while it's something that's nice to have, it doesn't have to be top notch. If we really need to print a photo we just take the file to Target or Walgreens, and if we need to create pretty, color brochures, we go to Kinko's. This is a productivity oriented printer so if you need perfect color prints, you won't be happy with the results here.
SETUP & INSTALL
The touchscreen interface is really quite nice; I'm not sure why everyone complains about it. It's not a capacitive touchscreen like your smartphone (I'm guessing it's a resistive touchscreen) so it requires a little more force to activate than your smartphone. This is hardly a big deal. I'm not typing an essay on the thing, I just need it to respond to a few inputs now and then. Because it's a touchscreen, it's able to dynamically change during setup to make setup intuitive. No more guessing which button you need to press to do something. It also has neat little videos that play on the screen during setup to show you how to do something, like install the ink cartridges, or any accessories.
Following the recommendations of online reviews I read, I downloaded the software online rather than use the provided CD. The software installed without a hitch on the Windows machines, found the printer, and was ready to go. The software the Mac almost went in without a hitch, but for some reason the "scan to computer" function wasn't available. I re-ran the setup wizard and it magically appeared.
So once that's all done, you are ready to go. There's a lot of tweaking that you can still do though so if things aren't perfect, don't be disappointed.
The print quality is acceptable. If you want to print photos for framing, don't buy this printer. If you want to print fancy brochures, don't buy this printer. This is an office printer. It's actually in the name, "OfficeJet". If you want a photo printer, HP has a solution for that and they call it "PhotoSmart". Marketing people are so clever aren't they? Anyway, the print quality is good enough for an office environment where you plan on printing document to share with colleagues, clients, or collaborators. Also, this printer is fast, or at least faster than any other printer we've had in the office. The only downside to fast is that you have to keep the output tray extended or your documents will be strewn all over the floor.
The whole HP ePrint thing is new to me so you'll have to forgive me for getting excited about something that might be old hat. My work PC (Windows XP) uses a VPN to connect to HQ and some underlying IT settings mean that once I hook up to the VPN, I can no longer print to my network connected printer, including this one. With HP ePrint, however, I now have a clever workaround now! For one thing, if I'm using Google Chrome as a browser and want to print something from there, I can use Google Cloud Print to send the document to my printer. Setup of the HP ePrint feature is easy and free. Unfortunately if I want to print something like a Word Document, I have to e-mail that document to my printer's e-mail address. This isn't especially difficult, but it means I now have a bunch of large documents cluttering up my SENT folder. The printer can handle most common documents types such as Word, PDF, text, etc... The advantage here is that I can print to the device from any device with e-mail anywhere in the world. Just send the file as an attachment to YOUR_ADDRESS@hpeprint.com and you're done.
We don't send or receive many faxes so we don't have a dedicated fax line, but when we do need to send or receive a document, it's really nice if it just works. Having to unplug and swap phone cables isn't a lot of fun and we don't have a lot of time to stand next to the printer waiting to see if an incoming call is a fax so we can press the RECEIVE button. Many of the printers we've used before claim to have the ability to intercept incoming fax calls, but we've never had one work right. This is the first exception. Simply tell the printer what your phone/fax configuration and it adjusts its behavior to work. In our case we have an answering machine. The printer listens in on the call after the answering machine answers. If it hears the beep beep beep of an incoming fax, it intercepts the call and receives the fax. We have it setup to just store incoming faxes as a PDF document on our server rather than print them, but you can also have it send the faxes to you as an e-mail.
Scanning is where we had the most pain with our old Brother. The software would work maybe 75% of the time and no amount of troubleshooting could ever change that; it just depended on luck. With the HP, those days seem to be over. Scans, whether initiated from the printer or our workstations, go through without a hitch. The nice part about scanning on this thing is that you have many options about how to handle your scan. When operating the scan from the printer you can send it to your computer, a mapped network drive, an e-mail recipient, or an SD card. You can also specify whether to save the file as a PDF, JPG, or TIFF. You can have an address book stored on the printer for the purposes of e-mail documents, but alas you have to manually enter it; I've not found a way to import an address book.
I'm happy with the printer. The price, features, and quality of print are exactly what we were looking for. The quality of construction and the quality of the software are what I would expect from something in this price range. The printer is a bit large, but again, it's an office printer. Don't buy this for someone living in a dorm room; they will hate you. This printer has restored my faith in HP printers and I'm seriously considering buying a PhotoSmart printer so we can avoid those very occasional trips to Target or Kinko's.
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