Pros: Excellent quality, fast performance, full Copy, Scan, Fax and Photo feature set. Network ready.
Cons: Large, loud and lacking a great User Manual. A bit sturdier build, please.
NOTE: The HP L7650 is identical to the HP L7680 except that it ships with a USB cable instead of an ethernet cable. We keep telling ourselves there has to be more to it than that, but we haven't identified any differences yet. It may have more to do with marketing strategies than printer designs.
In general, you can consider this a review of BOTH models.
╔▓░ OVERVIEW ░▓╗
The HP L7650 Officejet Pro is a large, fast, color inkjet capable of Printing, Flat Bed or feeder Scanning, Copying and Faxing through your Small Office/Home Office computer network.
At 10-15 pages per minute in monochrome and color, it is a speed demon that rivals low-end laser printers. It also boasts Cost Efficiency at around 2 cents a page for monochrome and 6 cents a page for color.
This is NOT a "silent" printer. Far from it, this printer is noisy by comparison to almost all other HP's we have owned. Not as bad as some reviews would make it out, but still very noticeable.
A major consideration with this printer has to be its size. It is LARGE. At 35 lbs. and a 20.91 x 18.35 x 14.02 inch footprint, this printer demands its own space. It is not going to easily share a desktop with your computer.
PC's and Mac's can connect to this printer. We tested with Windows XP, Vista and Mac OSX.
For networking, the HP L7650 Officejet Pro must be connected to your router or switch using an ethernet cable. As it ships, this printer is NOT wireless. Of course, all of your computers can be wireless and still connect.
Purchased for $350 from Costco, the HP L7650 Officejet Pro promises lower per page print costs, network connectivity and HP's reputation. We like the flatbed scanner, document feeder, LCD Menu screen and front panel design.
Having said that, our use of this printer is for a family workgroup which may be less demanding than your small office environment. We find the build quality to be acceptable for our setup, but are disappointed in the thin plastic construction in moderate use areas such as the door that covers the inkjet cartridges.
NOTE: This is a printer you turn on and never switch off, even if your computers have been switched off. Cycling the printer will cause it to go through its setup, which is time consuming. Left on, it will quickly go into a low-power "sleep" mode so you're not burning up a lot of energy by leaving it powered up.
It may look like a Laser Printer but we find the build quality to be noticeably less than an HP Laser printer.
IS THIS PRINTER A GOOD CHOICE FOR PHOTOS?
Is any inkjet? If it's anything more than snapshots for friends, we just send them via internet and let a professional with a $250,000 printer do the job.
If we would rather use our own printer, ink and photo paper, the HP L7650 Officejet Pro will do it.
This Officejet Pro includes an interface for all the usual camera memory cards and has a specific menu that will display on its built-in screen for printing photos. It works as well as other HP printers to produce snapshots or color enlargements up to 8.5 X 14.
╔▓░ WHAT COMES IN THE BOX? ░▓╗
There is a significant amount of assembly required. Plan on spending an hour following the step by step guide as you unpack and assemble all of the trays, install 4 ink cartridges, the driver software and run the HP L7650 Officejet Pro through its setup.
If you plan to set up digital filing, fax numbers, etc., plan on spending more than an hour.
The drivers and software consume more than 250MB of disk space and include automatic troubleshooting tools. Vista users would be well advised to just download the latest offerings from HP's Support site.
The printer comes in a typical HP packing box that provides good protection.
The L7650 Printer Body
4 (small) Ink Cartridges
AC Cable and Adaptor
2 CD's for Windows/Mac Drivers and User Guide
1 Printed User Guide (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese)
1 Quick Start Assembly Brochure
╔▓░ FEATURES ░▓╗
30 Draft pages per minute Mono/Color
15 Normal pages
10 Laser Quality
5 Best Quality
Monochrome or Color Copying (same speeds)
Dual-sided (duplex) printing
250 sheet Paper tray (normal weight)
3 x 5 to 8.5 x 14 (also used for envelopes)
150 sheet Output tray
Network Ready - Plug in your Ethernet cable
Color Menu Screen on front panel (2.4 inch)
2400 X 4800 dpi Scanning
Scan directly to shared folders on your network computers as JPEG image files or PDF files. (PDF consumers MUCH LESS memory and hard disk space for documents.)
Scan "speed dials" to send to different computers/folders
Scan up to 8.5 X 14 with feeder or flatbed
FAX 3 pages in less than 10 secs. 33.6 kbps (HP's numbers)
Stores up to 99 Fax numbers
Photo Memory Card Slots on Front of Printer
Compact Flash Types I and II
SD (Secure Digital)
Secure Multi-Media Card
x-D Picture Card
In addition, there is a USB port below the flash card ports so you can bring photos etc. directly to the printer.
╔▓░ PERFORMANCE AND OVERALL EXPERIENCE ░▓╗
As a printer, the HP L7650 Officejet Pro has performed admirably, producing very nice output. It's Normal setting for print quality is what we were accustomed to getting on our other Multi-Function printer (K80xi) and we are very pleased with the Laser Quality output for higher-quality reports.
The document sheet feeder is a feature that makes faxing, copying and scanning possible without standing over the machine.
Well, most of the time. Some attention has to be paid to giving this printer a neat stack of sheets to copy or scan. In fact, we've noticed more trouble with a single sheet hastily pushed into the feeder. We can't argue that it's worse than other sheet feeders in this regard but it's part of our experience.
We wish there were an envelope feeder, but you can insert envelopes into the paper tray, being careful to align them to the right side. The rollers effectively hold them in place.
You can purchase an additional paper tray that will hold more sheets and different sized sheets.
The ability to collate scanned copy jobs is useful, though hardly unique.
PRINT CONTROLS - FRONT PANEL
The front panel buttons are well arranged from 5 fax speed dials to scanning into digital files, fax dialing, copying and handling your photos.
These buttons are nicely sized for fingertip control and we LOVE the little light embedded in the "Auto-Answer" button for the FAX. It is the best junk fax blocker there is.
The Menu navigation "Wheel" is actually square but it, too, is large enough to avoid frustrating errors.
Each function of the printer has it's own set of Menu keys that will directly affect the output or bring you into a screen where you can make selections from a numbered list.
Speed Dial button brings up the Menu onscreen
Digital Filing Button brings up your custom list of computers/directories
5 Speed Dials have a Guide for Fax or Digital Filing
Junk Fax Blocker button
Auto Answer - Embedded Light to show when ON (Nice!)
Buttons to choose BLACK/COLOR
12 key Keypad for entering numbers, symbols, spaces
2-sided Printing (lots easier than finding through Menus)
Theres a "Multi-Selector" for navigating through the Menus displayed in the screen as well as a handy "Go Back" button next to it.
Menu button to bring up choices on the built-in screen
Number of Copies
Buttons to select BLACK/COLOR for the Copy job
Menu for screen selection
Zoom keys for selecting only areas of a photo for printing
This is being used in a family environment with High School and Middle School students producing quite a bit of output on a daily basis. The printer duty cycle is 7,500 pages per month and we don't come anywhere close to that.
We based our decision on this model primarily because it's network capabilities mean family members can be printing anywhere in the house with our motley mix of our PC's and Mac's and all get "instant" printing.
We also needed a fax machine and it has performed very reliably on that front. We have read other reviews that note that its 4MB of flash memory isn't enough to store more than 5 pages. We haven't found that problem, but we've only sent a handful of faxes more than a few pages.
While the smallish color menu screen is nice, we found it much easier to access the printer, its speed dials and other features (including checking ink levels) by simply connecting to the web interface with a browser. (Just enter the printer's assigned network name or IP in the browser address field.)
This is the best way to quickly add speed dials for faxes and absolutely essential for setting up scan directories so output can be sent directly to various computers and folders on the network.
HP insists this is a real money saver, but you should know that unless you use the large ink cartridges (88XL) you won't realize much economy.
Figure on a bit more than the predicted 1.5 cents per page for black and white and 6-8 cents a page for color. There are no hard and fast guarantees here, depending on what it is you are printing.
By now, all of us know that it is the printing ink that generates lots of profit for HP and other manufacturers. We like the fact the print heads themselves are easily replaced, separately from the ink cartridges.
Thus far, we haven't tried to inject any third-party ink into any of the cartridges to slash the costs. That has been very effective for us in the past, but whether these cartridges can be "re-charged" using hypodermic needles and a supply of third-party ink remains to be seen.
Dual-Sided Printing works well (and it's fun to watch!) but you can anticipate that it is going to slow down your print jobs. Typically, you'll get a message displayed on the LCD screen that says the printer is waiting for the ink on the first side to dry before it will proceed.
As noted above, this printer makes more noise as it goes about its job than others we've had in the past. It sits right next to my desk. In a busy office environment, it would be better placed away from anyone's workspace.
The networking was very easy to set up. The installation software worked on our home network to identify the printer and give it a dynamic address. But we went through a manual process to give it a static address, simply because that's the way we've always done it. Because the system uses a unique identifier or "hostname" for the printer (like HP2FF81C) we're not sure that was even necessary.
Users of other HP printers that have the small color screen on the front panel will see a familiar set of menus for printing color photos right off the camera memory cards.
The HP L7650 Officejet Pro will print proof sheets, then allow us to select photos on the proof sheet by marking the circles beneath them (up to 3 for 3 copies.) The proof sheet can then be scanned to print those photos you have selected on the proof sheet.
This is not a method for those who shoot hundreds of photos on some days...but it is very handy for other family members who want a record of what they have stored on their computers in a "book format." Handy, too, in an office where product photos need to be categorized.
USER GUIDE AND HELP FILES
You get a hard copy that is really more of a setup guide for this printer as well as the 7500/7600/7700 range. Nowhere does it specifically link YOUR printer to functions, so users are expected to know the answer when the Guide says "for printers capable of..."
This is a bit of disappointing manual. For example, there is very little about how to print photos in the printed guide.
The Menus are straightforward but don't always lead you to where you want to go easily. Even the more complete guide that is stored on your computer falls short when trying to find some specific functions, or how to do a specific task. Once you find it, there is a good rundown of how to access and use a specific feature. Finding it is the frustrating part at times.
╔▓░ CONCLUSION ░▓╗
The HP L7650 Officejet Pro is an impressive printer for the home network that delivers full networking capabilities and the essential features we've come to expect from an "All in One" from Hewlett-Packard.
The print quality is outstanding.
The price point around $350 seems very reasonable to us for the feature set this printer delivers.
However, we see somewhat less economy than outlined by HP as it tries to predict per page printing costs. What? A printer that seems to use more ink than promised? We won't feign surprise.
If HP's software seems bloated in size, it delivers a full range of features, including tracking our usage so we can analyze the costs of operation.
We can say that it is comfortably up to the task of printing in SOHO environments. If you are trying to decide whether to step up to a Laser printer, this inkjet might just change your mind. Its combination of quality, reliability and speed may be just what you need.
For home users who don't have a dedicated "computer room" for all the routers, switches, servers etc., it might be advisable to check out the size of this printer before purchase and know that its placement could draw complaints for the amount of noise it can stir.
As a final note, HP dropped the dull beige color that has seemed like a "requirement" for the last decade or more. The HP L7650 Officejet Pro is an eye-catching two-tone black and grey with silver buttons and trim.
Overall, we're very pleased with this printer and expect it to give us many years of service. We're giving it four stars because of the User Manual, Noise and Build Quality. None of these warrant a full star being deducted, but together, they are dragging down the user rating for this printer.