Pros:Great photos, excellent features, reasonable cost!
Cons:Wireless can be touchy - HP software IS bloated!
The Bottom Line: Expect wireless issues, keep the software OFF. 95% a GREAT product!
First, let's address the #1 issue with HP printers - the software! Yes, it is HUGE. Yes, it is a pain. Yes, you need it for many things. Here's my recommendation - install the minimal you will need, set it to NOT start with Windows, and do NOT search for automatic updates! You do NOT need the software running to print or fax from your computer. Only open it up when you need to scan, which is probably fairly infrequent.
Second, the wireless issue. As more and more printers are coming with wireless, more and more people are having problems. You will find that sometimes the printer is "lost", or stated as "disconnected". The most annoying is when the HP Solution Center is running, and you see a message that it is now offline. Again, have it offline. If you need to, get someone who knows about networking come in and work on your entire system. I can almost guarantee you there are other issues with your network they can fix at the same time. Spend $200 if you need to to save hours of pain!
I have a small home business, and have a black laser directly connected to one computer (networked through Windows), a networked color laser through the router, and this wireless color laser. I've found it quicker and cheaper to print on the inkjet than the color laser, and usually much quicker for small quantities.
I bought this for the photo quality, document feeder, and fax. I didn't intend to print basic pages so often, but it's now the main printer in the house.
NO COMPUTER: The BEST thing I like about this printer is I can do so much without using the computer! Faxing is a cinch, and printing photos from a memory card is FAR easier than through the computer and software.
JUST PRINTING: Again (and again and again), you do NOT need the "Solution Center" running to print. The driver is installed, just click "Print", and all your options are there for documents. Double-sided is nice, although mine always tells me it can't...I ignore that message and does anyway.
FAX FROM COMPUTER: A "hidden" feature is the ability to print anything you see on your computer directly as a fax.
SCANNING: I use the scanner quite often, and setting in twenty pages to scan into one PDF file is AMAZING! You can also scan in as text. I have found on twenty pages with a lot of graphics, the memory gets a bit low. I've had to do it in chunks once in a while. You DO need the software running for this for the best results. The output is fairly customizable, but I also have the full version of Acrobat to fine tune it, and reduce file size and backgrounds.
SOFTWARE: Dare I say it again? The software is a behemoth. Bulky. Large. Whatever. Just load it, then configure it to NOT start with Windows, and NOT automatically update. You will be SO much happier!
WIRELESS: Yes, every few days the computer can't find it. I've learned rather than wait half an hour in frustration, just know if it doesn't print in ten seconds, do the following: Go to Control Panel in Windows. Select "Printers" and "Add a Printer". Search the network for it (be sure it is powered on of course), then select it. Delete the previous printer. It takes two minutes, and it is all set to go again. OR - get this - have someone with networking skills set up your home network. I suggest this anyway, as there are always issues. Does one computer slow way down when another is on the network? Can you see and share files? Problems communicating betweem XP and Vista computers? Is your network secure? All of this, plus the printer, can be solved with an expert.
SHAKEY: This is a bit loud, and it shakes when it prints. It is a fast printer for documents, and the print heads slide side to side quickly to produce the prints. A laser is a drum, basically a spinning wheel inside, so lasers are quieter and smooooth.
Go on HP's site and get the Vista gadget to print 4x6's from your computer. Simply drag and drop an image file onto the icon, and a nice 4x6 prints out. No muss, no fuss. If their full software was that quick and easy, we would all be happier!
I don't have a breakdown of the cost for ink, but after six months, I've replaced the yellow and black. At $10 each, it's not so bad. Certainly not as inexpensive as their L7000 printers, but less cost than an inexpensive color laser.
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