HP Officejet 4630 review

HP’s Officejet printers are, as the name implies, generally high-end inkjet printers aimed at business users who need a fast and versatile office printer. The new Officejet 4630 includes all the features that office users are likely to need, but is very much designed for smaller home offices instead.

The £89 price tag will certainly appeal to home users, and the compact design ensures that the Officejet 4630 can sit comfortably on your desk or on any convenient shelf. And, despite the low price, HP has still managed to squeeze a lot of useful features in as well.

The Officejet 4630 is a four-in-one multifunction device that includes a fax and 1200dpi scanner and copier in addition to its 1200x600dpi printing. There’s a 35-page document feeder, and it’s also one of the cheapest printers we’ve seen that includes automatic two-sided printing as a standard feature. The main paper tray only holds 100 sheets of A4 paper, but that should be adequate for most home users. There’s no ethernet interface for connecting to a wired network, and no SD card slot either, but the Officejet 4630 does support AirPrint for printing from iOS devices.

Performance is quite respectable for such a low-cost printer, with HP claiming up to 8.8 pages per minute for mono and 5.2ppm for colour. Our test results were roughly in line with those figures – 8ppm and 5ppm respectively for mono and colour. The Officejet 4630 also managed to print an attractive 4x6 photo in 54 seconds, so it can handle the occasional photo print when it needs to.

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Print quality was consistently good for mono, colour and photographic printing. Text characters were a little heavy, and lacked the smooth, precise outlines of a laser printer or some of the more expensive Officejet models but the Officejet 4630 will certainly be perfectly adequate for most day-to-day printing tasks.

But, as always with low-cost printers, the sting in the tail comes with the price of replacement ink cartridges. The standard black ink cartridge costs £11.00 and last for just 190 pages, while the three-colour cartridge containing cyan, magenta and yellow inks costs £15.00 and last for 165 pages. That works out at a hefty 5.8p per page for mono printing and 9.1p for colour – both above average, but particularly expensive for mono printing.

Using HP’s XL ink cartridges does reduce those prices a bit – colour isn’t too bad at 7.5p, but the black ink cartridge is still above average at 4.1p per page. Incidentally, the price of a two-pack of black ink cartridges (£41) listed on HP’s web site is actually higher than the cost of two individual cartridges (£20 each)– so HP should perhaps go back and have a think about those prices.

OUR VERDICT

The initial purchase price of the Officejet is hard to beat, especially as it includes two-sided printing, document feeder and AirPrint for well under £100. Print quality and speeds are also quite respectable for such an affordable printer. However, printing costs are higher than we’d like – especially for mono printing – so the Officejet 4630 can only be recommended to home users who need a versatile printer but only have very light printing requirements.

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