The HP Officejet Pro L7500/L7600/L7700 is a new office-oriented inkjet series of all-in-one printers that boasts fast print speeds, high-quality prints, and lots of features. We reviewed the L7680 model, which is a step up from the L7580 base model, but its print speeds and quality are representative of all three members of the series because they all employ the same print engine. Most of the office all-in-ones we've reviewed are geared toward the home- or small-office environment, whereas the L7680 is aimed squarely at small to medium businesses or work groups, featuring built-in networking, scan-to-network functionality, and monthly recommended volume of 7,500 pages. We can't make direct comparisons (based on price) to other printers we've reviewed because we primarily review home and home-office products, but we found the $400 Officejet Pro L7680 to be an excellent multifunction for its target audience. If your small office or work group has high-volume print needs (that is, you print more than 7,500 pages a month), you should consider a laser multifunction such as the comparably priced monochrome Lexmark X342n or the more expensive Epson AcuLaser CX11NF.
The HP Officejet Pro L7680 All-in-One, a large printer clad mostly in black, stands out from the putty- and white-colored home printers from HP. This model stands 20.9 inches wide, 25.4 inches deep, and 14 inches tall, and it weighs about 35 pounds. Dimensions vary a bit among the different models because of features such as extra paper trays. The top-mounted, 50-page automatic document feeder (ADF) lets you copy, scan, or fax multipage documents without having to babysit the job. The ADF sits on the scanner lid, which opens to reveal a legal-size flatbed scanner. Built-in media card readers and a PictBridge-enabled USB port allow for PC-free printing from media cards, USB storage devices, or PictBridge-enabled cameras.
Your paper options are rather limited on the Pro L7680. It comes with a single input tray that holds up to 250 sheets, but you can purchase an optional second tray that holds 350 sheets, for a total of 600 pages (the L7780 comes standard with both trays). The printed pages are caught by the output tray, which sits atop the input tray. The output tray flips up for easy paper loading.
The control panel on the L7680 is large but organized, and the buttons are grouped by task. Some of the more common tasks--such as fax redial and copy reduce or enlarge--have dedicated buttons for quick access. The centerpiece of the control panel is the 2.4-inch color display on which you can preview and edit photos or peruse the various menus. An alphanumeric keypad allows you to dial fax numbers or key in the number of copies you want to make.
When it comes time to change the ink tanks, simply flip open the panel to the left of the paper tray and remove the tanks. The ink tanks are not mounted on the print head, which should allow for faster print speeds because the head can move more quickly. All printers in this series use individual ink tanks, which is great for reducing ink waste and cost. The high-capacity version of the black tank costs $35 and has an approximate yield of 2,350 pages. Each color tank costs $25, with an approximate yield of 1,210 pages. By our calculation, this works out to per-page costs of about 1.5 cents for a black page and about 7.7 cents for a full-color page, quite reasonable for a color inkjet printer.
The Officejet Pro L7680 offers a wealth of features that make it an attractive addition to a small office. It comes network-ready but can also be connected directly via USB. HP offers an optional wireless print server and a Bluetooth adapter for wireless printing. The unit prints, scans, copies, and faxes. It also has a built-in duplexer for automatic double-sided prints, a great feature that saves paper and money. Double-sided prints take a little longer than single-sided prints do, because the printer pauses for a few seconds after printing the first side to allow the ink to dry.
If you want to set up the fax function, the Getting Started guide walks you through various scenarios and setups. You can send and receive both color and black-and-white faxes, and when sending, you can use either the ADF or the flatbed scanner. If you have fax numbers that you send to frequently, you can program them as speed-dial numbers. Likewise, you can set up speed-dial groups of as many as 20 numbers for frequent broadcast faxes (alternately, you can send a broadcast fax by keying in individual numbers). The first five individual numbers or groups that you program are associated with the five one-touch dial buttons on the control panel, for fast access. If you subscribe to a caller ID service, you can block faxes from particular numbers, a feature called junk-fax blocking. You can also set up a delay fax or forward incoming faxes to another fax number.
Copying offers the usual array of options. You can specify a paper tray (if you have two) and the paper size, optimize copy quality based on type of original (text, image, or mixed), collate, make double-sided copies using the built-in duplexer, and, of course, change the number of copies. You can also reduce or enlarge the original using HP's preset values or custom values and make two-on-one copies. You can even preview the copy before it prints, which is a great feature for reducing paper waste.
Scanning also offers the usual options but includes a compelling extra we've not seen elsewhere. If you've set up the L7680 (or L7780) on a network, you can scan to network folders without having to go through the PC. HP calls this feature "Digital Filing," and it's very useful in a multiple-user environment. The Getting Started guide walks you through the setup, but basically you'll need to have network privileges and know the printer's IP address. Simply set up a shared folder on a PC on the network, then use an approved Web browser to set up the shortcut between the target folder and the networked printer. After all this is done, you can simply press the Digital Filing button on the control panel and choose which folder you want the scan to be filed to. You can even set up a PIN in case you don't want just anyone to scan to the network folders. Aside from scanning to a network folder, you can scan into a number of preset programs including Microsoft Word, your e-mail program, Paint, Photoshop, or a number of bundled HP utilities that let you share and edit your scans. You can also save it to a folder on a PC, to a memory card that you've inserted into the media card reader, or to a storage device you've attached to the USB port.