The HP Photosmart C4780 All-in-One printer is a printer, scanner and a card reader. It’s designed for easy setup and quick printing and scanning of photos, documents and more. With a built-in flatbed scanner, adjustable paper tray, card reader, on-board display and wireless card, this printer is designed to do it all. And at a price point under $100, it’s an undeniably good buy. Read on for more details about this printer.
The print quality for the HP Photosmart C4780 All-in-One printer is impressively high, given the price point. While your mileage will vary depending on the type of ink and paper you use and the source photo file, the C4780 consistently delivers very good quality. Even when printing photos and graphics on non-glossy paper, the colors remain true and even. Note that within the printer setup pages, there are different settings for print speed and quality, ranging from draft (fast) to normal and then high quality (slow). In our experience, choosing the slowest method of printing is preferable for any job that includes graphics, charts or photos—otherwise, you get some unevenness in colors (usually in the form of bars across the page). But for normal text, the draft mode works very well.
The HP Solution Center is far from lightweight, but it is full-featured and functional. Even on a Core2Duo processor with 4 GB of RAM, HP’s software feels sluggish. But luckily, it’s not required for basic scanning and printing. You can use Windows Fax and Scan for that.
HP Solution Center is most helpful for its scanning software. For whatever reason, scanning multi-page PDFs in Windows Fax and Scan is unreliable or impossible. But with HP Solution Center, you can easily scan in multiple pages to a single PDF, as well as crop and rotate images before finalizing the scan. In our experience running the 32-bit Windows 7 version, HP Solution Center occasionally crashed in the midst of a scan job, which was frustrating, but if you do your multi-page PDFs in 5 or so page chunks, you’ll be fine.
The wireless functionality of the HP C4780 is dead simple. Simply activate the wireless receiver on the printer and then install the software using the included disc. If your printer is on the same wireless network as your computer, it’ll detect automatically and perform as if it were connected via USB. There are some issues in terms of getting the printer recognized from time to time, but nothing a quick power cycle (turn the printer on and then off) can’t fix.
We did encounter some frustration from time to time with paper jamming, however. While presumed to be an inherent flaw of the printer design (it feeds the paper in, and then spits it out the front, forcing it to double over on itself), it appears that paper jamming may arise from software issues. While attempting to print from less robust programs (Google’s Cloud Print) over WiFi, jamming happed much more frequently. Meanwhile, printing from a native Windows 7 app via USB almost never produced paper jamming.
Paper jams are perhaps the single most frustrating aspect of this all-in-one printer, mostly because it’s such a pain to clear the jam. There are doors in the front and back for clearing jams, but getting those last bits of paper out—especially when the page rips—can be highly obnoxious. This is probably true for all front-loading printers, however.
The HP-All-in-One Photosmart C4870 is certainly worth the money. However, for basic black and white document printing, you might be better off with something even lower end and simpler. The ink on this printer goes fast, and it’s certainly not cheap. Plus, the front-loading design may be cumbersome for non-standard paper types.