HP Deskjet 1280
Like the Deskjet 9800, the 1280 is an A3+ inkjet, but that’s about all they have in common, physically at least. The Deskjet 1280 is big. It may not take up much more desk space than the 9800, but it looks bulky and clumsy. That said it’s a solid, robust printer.
The differences between the two become even more evident once you start printing. The 1280 is noisy and slow, and print quality, while good, is not quite as sharp as that of the 9800. An A4 page of text took 30.2 seconds and it could only manage 3.2ppm in normal mode. It did provide relatively good quality and moving to draft upped the speed to 7.8ppm, while retaining adequate output. To test A3 printing we chose a simple PDF, but even so, it took 1 minute 30 seconds to print the first page. Quality was good, though.
There’s no option to swap the black cartridge for a photo-quality cartridge, although the 1280 claims to be capable of photo-quality output. We tested an A3 page on glossy photo paper (note that the 1280 can’t produce borderless prints) and the results were average. Good colour accuracy and clarity, but the printer struggled in areas of shadow. The output also suffered from a peculiar textured effect – something we’ve seen onother HP printers. Worst of all, it was painfully slow, at almost 15 minutes.
All in all, we can’t really see the point of this printer. It is cheap for an A3 printer, but the 9800 isn’t that much more expensive (particularly if you do without the duplex unit) and it’s better in every respect. HP doesn’t really seem to have thought that hard about who this printer is aimed at, and having tested it, we’re none the wiser.