HP Wireless All-in-One Photosmart Printer Review & Giveaway
This review and giveaway is sponsored by BlogHer and HP Wireless Printers. 5 blogs plus BlogHer.com are each reviewing and giving away an HP Photosmart C6380 Wireless All-in-One Printer. Altogether, we're giving away six HP C6380 Wireless Printers.
Giveaway Rules and Entry
To enter the giveaway, answer one or both of these questions in the comments below:
- How would a wireless, photosmart printer make your life easier?
- What awesome things can you do with it?
- The contest will end Tuesday, April 7th at 11:59 p.m (PST). Winner announced April 8, 2009.
- Duplicate comments won't count. Only one comment entry per commenter.
- This giveaway is open to US residents only.
- Winners will be selected via random draw, and will notified by e-mail. Winners will have 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be selected. Make sure that the e-mail address you leave is correct.
Live wirelessly. Print wirelessly.
HP's C6380 Wireless All-in-One Photosmart Printer is a great device for a home or home office. It offers a trifecta of awesome features:
- Wireless connectivity -- have a printer available on your WiFi network all the time.
- All-in-One functionality -- the C6380 is also a capable copier and scanner.
- Photosmart technology -- print beautiful photographs from home.
The setup was quick and easy. I'm impressed with the ease of the wireless network setup. There were a few first day glitches, but nothing infuriating.
I'm excited about the all-in-one functionality. I'll be replacing an aging (slow) scanner and B&W only printer. And I'll be adding a copying functionality I didn't have before. All in the same amount of space one of the old devices took up.
The best part? It's all done wirelessly. No cable tethering my laptop to the printer. No cable from the printer to the router. No more dragging the printer cable from one computer to another. The HP wireless printer is always available to any computer in our wireless network. Sweet!
The worst thing I can say about HP's wireless all-in-one printer is that it's noisy. It makes a racket when it warms up and when it's printing. In between print jobs, it makes random noises.
What you see in this picture is everything that was in the box. I got my review version directly from HP. The retail box might have less than this. There's no indication of what's supposed to be inside the box on the outside of the box.
- Ink cartridge tray (print head).
- Power brick and cable.
- Extra box of the color cartridges (cyan / magenta / yellow cartridges).
- Starter ink cartridges -- 5 cartridges including regular black, photo black, blue, magenta, and yellow.
- Brochure paper. There was a box of 100 sheets included. I doubt this is in the retail box.
- Photo book with 12 sheets of 4x6" photo paper. It's nice that the box comes with something to play with immediately. May not be in the retail box.
- HP C6300 series software CD.
- Photosmart Essentials CD. Not needed. The main software CD has a newer version of Photosmart Essentials.
- Setup guide and instruction manual.
Setup was a breeze. It took me a total of 30 minutes to go from boxed printer to printing something.
1. Unbox. Plug in. Install print cartridges. Let printer initialize cartridges.
About 10 minutes. It took a few minutes to install the cartridges because I was being extra careful snapping off the protective tabs and taking pictures. The setup guide was very easy to follow.
The printer took 2 minutes to initialize the cartridges. I loaded the paper during this time.
Tip: go ahead and twist harder to remove the plastic orange caps. They're meant to be broken off.
2. Connect printer to wireless network.
3 minutes. I expected this step to take the longest but it was the easiest part of the setup. I'm very impressed with the easy printer-to-network wireless setup. It took me a while to enter my wireless passphrase, but otherwise, the setup went very smoothly. No glitches here.
Small nit: it's a pain to enter a 26-character WEP passphrase using the onscreen "keyboard". Especially if you have a passphrase that's a mix of letters and numbers, because you have to switch screens by navigating to, then clicking the abc or 123 key. It's a pain, but fortunately, you only have to do it once. Entering the passphrase (and double checking it was correct) took most of the 3 minutes of this step.
3. Install printer software.
15 minutes. Once the printer is connected to the wireless network, the next step is to get your computer(s) to recognize the printer over the network. The software bundled with the printer supports Windows XP and Vista, and Mac OSX. This step actually took the longest, though most of the time was spent waiting. I didn't have to respond to many prompts while the software downloaded and installed itself, so I had a cup of coffee and caught up with the sports page.
The only glitch during this step was near the end when the software said a firewall was blocking its test connection to the printer, even though it had no problems finding the printer. All I had to do to "fix" it was to hit retry. The second connection attempt worked flawlessly.
5. Print print print!
At this point, the printer was fully setup. It was time to start printing....
Review of Features
1. Wireless printing and scanning
The wireless connection is the best thing about the C6380. My previous printer was USB based. I share the printer with my roommate, and it's a pain having to pass the printer cable back-and-forth.
Being an all-in-one printer with copying and scanning capability is a big bonus. Getting rid of the old scanner and printer, while adding copying funtionality, is a big boon to the home office. Doing it all wirelessly makes us very very happy.
Once you install the bundled software on a computer, the printer acts like any other printer that is attached directly to the computer. As a scanner, it's available to applications like Adobe Photoshop or Window's Paint program as a scanner, so you can import scans directly.
2. Photo printing
The photo quality is fantastic. I didn't expect self-printed photos would come out as well as they did. It's easy to print single photos using the HP Solution Center (the program that you use to control the printer) using photos on the computer, USB thumb drive, attached camera, or other storage devices containing photos. Using the bundled Photosmart Essentials software, it was a breeze to create a photo book.
This worked beautifully! Put the document on the glass top, hit a button, and get a photocopy. I've never had a flat-bed copier at home before, and I'm digging having it now. I'm really excited about not having to go to FedEx (fka Kinko's) to make photocopies. Both B&W and color copies came out very nicely.
4. Print photo directly from memory card
I took the SD memory card from my digital camera and stuck it in the front of the printer. The front of the printer has slots for CF, XD, SD, and MicroSD memory cards. You can also plug in a USB device like an external hard drive or a PictBridge capable digital camera. It was quick and easy to browse the memory card for pictures, rotate them, and print them out (while correcting for red-eye).
Scanning works really well. It's a lot faster than our old Canon standalone scanner.
What's Not Great?
There were only a few glitches that were easily cleared up and a few annoyances. All in all, setting up and using this wireless printer was a pleasure -- much easier than I expected it would take. The noise is the biggest problem with this printer.
1. Printer is noisy. [biggest weakness]
This is the only real problem I have with the printer. All of the other issues I have are first-day / installation issues that can be expected from any new gadget. It's not jet-engine loud, but you wouldn't want to print stuff while talking on the phone in the same room.
It's loud when it's warming up. It also makes random noises between print jobs. It's disconcerting when the printer suddenly makes a noise after 10 minutes of silence.
2. Had to reseat one of the ink cartridges. [first day issues]
On the second photo I printed, no red (magenta) color printed on half the photo. So I had half a photograph with perfect colors, with the other half being greenish. Reseating the magenta ink cartridge and running the head-cleaning function (via the Setup menu) cleared up the problem on subsequent photo prints.
3. Color streaking in first batch of photos printed. [first day issues]
A few photos in the first 10 or so I printed had streaky printing, like you might see when the ink cartridges are running low. As the printer has warmed up and I've sent more photo print jobs to it, the streaks have disappeared. I'm chalking up the streaking to the ink cartridges being brand new.
You may have to discard a bunch of photos from your first batch of photo prints. Do a few test prints on plain paper first to avoid wasting expensive photo paper. Also, you may use up the initial color ink cartridges that ship with the printer very quickly.
4. Computer-printer connection required a retry. [installation glitch]
During the installation of the printer software on my Windows computer, it tried to make a connection (over the wireless network) to the printer. The software had no problems finding the printer, but claimed it couldn't talk to the printer because port 427 was being blocked by a firewall. Just hitting retry (without doing anything else first) did the trick.