HP Deskjet F4280 All-in-One Printer

The cheapest ($29.99) all-in-one printer replaces it

The Bottom Line

After nearly eight years, the Deskjet F4280 is long gone. The nearest thing to it these days is the $29.99 (street) Deskjet 1010, quite possibly the cheapest inkjet printer on the market. In either case, be it yesteryear's model and this year's 1010, both all-in-one's are very low volume--talk about your occasional-use printers!

This is the type of printer that computer dealers typically give away with new computer purchases.

Dell and HP both used to give these little guys away, after paying around $10 (or less) wholesale. 

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For the money (about 50 bucks), it's hard to raise a complaint about this HP Deskjet printer. The Deskjet F4280 is an all-in-one that did an excellent job on black-and-white as well as color graphics, and photos look great as well. While it lacks a fax and is made for casual use only, it still performs as requested. For heavier use, though, the consumables (replacement inkjet tanks) might eliminate any initial cost savings.

Pros

  • Very inexpensive
  • Sharp printing, even at large sizes

Cons

  • Some muted colors in photo prints
  • Slow scanning

Description

  • 80-sheet paper input tray
  • Color printer, copier, scanner
  • Ink level lights on the machine, showing how much color/black ink remains

Guide Review - HP Deskjet F4280 All-in-One Printer

For casual home use, the HP Deskjet F4280 printer comes recommended.

It also comes cheap, or even free, if you happen to find a deal when you buy an HP desktop system. That's how I ended up with the F4280, and I've no regrets.

Remarkably few complaints as well. This little printer (it weighs just over 10 pounds) does a fine job, as long as you don't ask too much from it.

HP claims as many as 26 pages per minute, but of course that depends on whether you print at draft quality. At normal quality printing a black-and-white document, the first page was out in about 28 seconds, with subsequent pages out about eight seconds each. Large (72 point) fonts looked excellent under a magnifying class, with crisp, sharp lines and edges and very little bleed.

Three very colorful graphics pages at normal quality took 1:39 at normal quality. Considering the F4280 uses only two ink tanks, colors were remarkably nuanced on the graphics. A 4x6 color photo at normal quality took 28 seconds to print. The greens were perfectly true to the original, and while there was no obvious problem with the other colors, I found them less vivid than the original, so it may pay to use the printer's photo optimizer when printing photos.

Scans took a long time (1:10 for a single color graphic page). Like most scanners it expects to use the software suite that was shipped with the printer (in this case, Photosmart), but if you don't use that, changing options (such as scanning to a PDF) become tricky.

The printer lacks some items that are familiar on more expensive all-in-ones: an LCD screen, a fax, an automatic document feeder, and a large paper tray.

But its onboard ink lights are a handy feature, showing you how much ink is left in the two tanks.

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