HP Photosmart C7280

Hassle-free printing, great quality scanning

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HP Photosmart C7280
  • HP Photosmart C7280
  • HP Photosmart C7280
  • HP Photosmart C7280

Pros

  • Scanning quality, wireless functionality, photo-editing functions

Cons

  • No CD/DVD printing, some printing quality issues

Bottom Line

The Photosmart C7280 is an excellent all-round multifunction for the home. Although we weren’t particularly impressed with its print quality, this is outweighed by a multitude of other useful features that make it a great device.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 5 stores)

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The Photosmart C7280 is the latest top-of-the-range multifunction from HP. Building on HP's tradition of making easy-to-use multifunctions, the C7280 boasts a number of useful features. While print quality isn't always on par with some of its competitors, the C7280's functionality and overall performance make it a capable contender in the market.

Unlike its predecessor, the Photosmart C7180, the C7280 has a much more streamlined design. The C7180's larger screen has been replaced by a much smaller LCD that manages to retain most of its predecessor's functionality. The only issue is that photos are occasionally hard to see, which can be a nuisance when using the printer's editing features. However, the smaller screen adequately serves its main purpose of facilitating the multifunction's PC-less features like 'scan and reprint' and red eye removal.

Apart from the standard USB 2.0 connection, the C7280 also has 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and an Ethernet port to enable home and small office networking. As with the HP Officejet J6480 All-in-One , the C7280's wireless capability allows it to create an ad-hoc network with a capable device, or join an existing. This feature works well, allowing users to print wirelessly or scan to a particular device from the printer. Unlike the Officejet J6480 All-in-One , the C7280 doesn't have a switch to turn wireless on or off, something that would be good from a security perspective.

Although the C7280 only has a sole front paper tray, this is split to allow for simultaneous use of A4 and 4x6in media. An automatic feeder enables scanning of multiple documents and an included duplex unit allows users to print two-sided documents if desired.

The C7280 possesses an excellent multi-card reader that is able to access photos from CompactFlash, SD, MMC, XD, MemoryStick and PictBridge-capable devices through the USB port. We were disappointed there is no direct CD/DVD printing function. HP has only included this in one of its Photosmart multifunctions, the discontinued C8180.

The device's speed is acceptable. The C7280 manages to print both normal text documents and text documents with graphical elements at 20ppm using draft quality. At the normal quality setting, text documents printed at 7.2ppm and those with graphical elements slowed to 4ppm. Photo printing was slower, with a standard 4x6in photo printing in 1min 5sec, and an A4 photo taking 4min 19sec.

Although we noticed a difference in colour intensity and accuracy across the C7280's different quality settings, the multifunction managed to produce decent quality printouts regardless of the setting. However, as with the HP Photosmart C6280, text crispness left much to be desired. While the Officejet J6480 All-in-One managed to produce laser-like text quality, the use of six inks instead of two in the C7280 means that text documents are readable but somewhat haggard. This lack of clarity continued in photo printing, with blurred lines and unclear colours, especially in yellows. Most colour reproduction was accurate, although there is some exaggerated use of blacks within photos, resulting in an overly dark picture in some tests.

As with most HP multifunctions, the C7280's scanning quality is impressive. In comparison to its competitors, the Canon PIXMA MP970 and Epson Stylus Photo RX690, the HP produced the most realistic and high quality image. When comparing 600dpi scans, the C7280's image has much less pixilation and the most realistic flesh tones. While its competitors are often either too light or too dark, the C7280's image contrast was balanced, with realistic flesh tones and accurate colour reproduction as a result. Though it is unable to reach the 9600dpi resolution of the PIXMA MP970, its quality would seem to outweigh this.

A consumable cost of 30c/page is respectable and relatively inexpensive in comparison to competitors.

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