"Decent all-round printer"3.0 starson by dhugomalan
Pros: Compact, great feature set
Cons: Bloated software, average photo printer
Summary: Bought this yesterday to be a low-volume copier & printer in the house. Also considered Canon mp830 and the new Canon mx700. Settled on the HP due to smaller footprint and built-in networking.
The 7280 is an attractive unit with a quality feel: compact, well laid out design, with some construction details suggestion that there remains pockets of pretty good engineering skills at HP.
The software installed on a Vista laptop with few hitches (it stopped once and said there is an 'issue' on the laptop, but failed to mention what issue, and then continued fine). It did take amazingly long - ~30 mins, and subjectively, other programs in the laptop seem to respond significantly more slowly if any of the giant HP applications are runing.
So far I've not tested everything, but it copied a color sheet quickly & accurately, and prints photos pretty rapidly.
Here is why I may be returning it: it is really only average as a photo printer. We also have in the house an older & much less expensive Canon Pixma IP5000, and its output it noticable better than the HP. Viewed from fairly close, a 4"x6" photo from the HP has a several small patches of graininess not present in the Canon's, and the lines are not as sharp as in the Canon photo. This is probably due to the HP's 4800x1200 resolution, vs. the Canon's 9600x2400 - didn't realize it would be this visible. More significant, the color is not nearly as accurate as the Canon - a white blanket stayed white in the Canon, but became an odd yellow in the HP. Finally, the HP ink takes a while to dry - so after a few minutes the photo looks quite different from when it just emerged from the printer! It actually ends up looking better - some of the graininess fades, and the colors become more vivid. Better is, well better, the problem is that you don't know immediately if your photo has printed well - you have to wait for the ink to dry.
Very unfortunate - having a compact machine with all these capabilities is great, but having a photo-printing experience significantly inferior to an older machine costing a third of the price feels like too much of a compromise.