Recently I needed to purchase a new printer to replace an aging Canon Bubble Jet printer that I have owned for around 8 years. This become a necessity after the printer died when trying to help my daughter apply to colleges (note my absence over the last week). Since I am a big HP fan I decided to look into an All in One solution commonly known as an AIO which includes a scanner, fax, and printer. The price ranges are incredible from $199 to around $1000, the one I settled on was the HP 7410 which includes wired and wireless networking, two paper trays, and an ADF. The unit is bigger than most in order to handle legal size paper in the ADF. While I love the unit the software that comes with it gives me the willies. It takes over 700MB of hard drive space and didnâ€™t install correctly on my main home computer, instead I ended up installing the applications on my laptop. No simple printer driver exists for this beast, but a remote print driver that works over the Internet is available that requires an HP Share account.
The HP 7410 uses the newer HP low cost inkjet cartridges and is very flexible in how it uses them. A tri-color cartridge and Black cartridge provide you with very good spot color on documents, and good photographs (they seem clearer than the Epson R200). The black cartridge can be replaced by a grayscale cartridge for black and white photos or a color photo cartridge that gives the printer 3 additional colors for a total of 6. All the cartridges are chipped so they may be changed at any time and the printer remembers the correct levels. The photo printing is really very good from what I can tell, but it is more of a Matte finish than the Epson R200 produces and seems a little clearer even without the specialized cartridges. Photo Memory Cards and cameras can be hooked up directly and seen as hard drives on the computers that have installed the software suite mentioned above. The speed of the printing is awesome, and the wireless connection once it is setup correctly seems to be reliable.
Faxing and Scanning can be done remotely, which is an interesting feature, the faxing being useful while I am not so sure about why you would use a web based scanning program. While I haven’t tried the Scanner yet the 50 page ADF is almost as good as our copiers 100 page unit. The embedded web server does provide useful statistics about the network connection, page counts and ink levels. The other units that I had considered where the Canon Pixma 780, but the wireless networking feature of the HP was the deciding factor. Iâ€™ll let you know how things go, but for a home office you canâ€™t beat the features, just wish the software was better written.