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Great All Around Multi Function Printer

Reviewing: Hewlett Packard Photosmart C6380  |  Rating:
By kevin rutan on
Badge: Author | Level: 1 | Cameras Expertise:

I purchased this printer with a Nikon Coolpix s210 camera for my girlfriend. I was looking for a multi-function printer that was easy to use, had good picture quality, wireless printing and affordable ink. The C6380 does not disappoint.

I must first state that I have always loved HP Printers. My first printer was an HP Thinkjet (made in 1985) it was the first ink based printer. From then on I have always used HP printers, their reliability and print quality is matched by none. I still use my LaserJet 4+ that was made back in 1994.

I was looking for a printer that could do everything. I wanted wireless printing and I needed to be able to scan and copy. My old Photomart 7550 was just that, too old. It was slow, and although the print quality was still ok, it was time for an upgrade. Best Buy had three printers that did what I wanted: an Epson, a Cannon, and the Photosmart. The specs all looked similar, so I went with the HP.

When I got the printer home I found that the installation was pretty similar to other DeskJet printers I had installed in the past. I had to find all the orange tape and remove it along with all the Styrofoam packaging. It took me a minute to get the print head aligned properly, but it turned out I was trying to put it in backwards. Once the ink was in place it was ready to go.

I went to my computer and installed the provided software. It had trouble finding the printer at first, but it was a router problem. It gave the printer the same address as another computer on my network. I manually assigned it an IP from the easy to use menus on the printer, reset my router, and the software worked fine.

The first thing to really impress me is what it supported over Wi-Fi. I was expecting the standard JetDirect capabilities found with my other networked printers (which works fine, you just lose some of the extras, like the memory card reader). This was not the case. The software installed the scanner and memory card reader to windows. The scanner showed up in my imaging devices, and the memory card reader came across as a network drive share. The software also registers your computer on the printer. With that ability, you can scan documents at the printer and send them to your computer directly. Overall, I am thoroughly impressed with the Wi-Fi.

The ink system is wonderful. It uses 5 ink tanks and a print head, instead of 3 print cartridges. Instead of replacing 3 cartridges at $30 a piece, you just replace one of the five ink tanks at $10 for regular or $14 for hi capacity. The ink cartridges supplied with the printer are pretty small; you should probably buy a set of ink before you leave the store.

As far as paper handling, this again exceeded expectation. It has the standard two trays, one for 8.5x11 and the other for 4x6 or 3x5 photo papers. It impressed me to see the upper tray automatically engage when called for. No more walking across the room to slide the tray in place, or even worse, you forget and waste a sheet of 8.5x11 photo paper for a 4x6 print.

The scanner uses cold bulb technology, which means there is little to no wait time to scan or copy something. The printer will scan directly to a USB drive or any memory card. It is a single pass scanner at 4800dpi. This leads to a quick scan at a high speed. The copy function is also quite responsive. It starts printing as soon as the scanner starts.

The website boasts of 31/33 pages per minute. As with all inkjets, this is draft speed. Normal quality is still an impressive 10 ppm, and best is around 3. The print quality is excellent for photos and graphics. As far as text goes, it is average. Ink just cannot give the high contrast black like a laser.

Scanning is a breeze and the wireless printing is incredible. Compared to others in its class it is an unbeatable value. I would recommend this printer to anyone looking for a great value.