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Quality printing for text and photos
Fast print speeds
Intuitive mobile print, scan, and fax
Small touch screen control panel
Printing streaks on one setting
With quality, speedy printing and easy mobile control, the HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 is an excellent choice for the home office.
Top quality printing on large format paper used to be out of reach for most offices and home users, but a class of wide-format, all-in-one printers, like the HP OfficeJet Pro 7740, promise to change that. We tested the OfficeJet Pro 7740 to see if it could live up to the promise at a price range that makes sense for the home office.
Let’s start with the obvious—the HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 is big. At 23” wide and 15” tall it takes up a lot of space for a printer, especially when you extend the output tray to make it a whopping 28” deep. It’s mostly white, except for the front where there is a dark grey panel for the touch screen and a dark grey output tray. That panel also folds down to reveal the printer heads and ink tray, and the section with the screen folds up to give the user a better angle at the controls.
Surprisingly, there are no physical control buttons on the device, so you have to use the touch screen to control the printer. The screen is too small to be an effective control panel without other buttons around it, but the lack of buttons does make the printer more stylish. Under the output tray, there are two paper trays, one on top of the other. Both trays can house paper up to 11” x 17”, but the top tray is the only one that can hold specialty paper. To hold 11” x 17” paper, both trays extend a few inches, revealing a white, plastic cover. It actually looks like the paper tray hasn’t been pushed in all the way, and when we first set it up we thought it was stuck. When printing, the user needs to pull out the output tray, making the difference between being 18.38” deep and 28.06” deep. The scanner is located on the top alongside an automatic document feeder for scanning and copying, though the largest size it holds is 8.5” x 11”. The rear of the printer has several ports: USB B, Ethernet, and two phone jacks. There is a back panel, too, that you can detach in case of a paper jam.
Like any all-in-one printer, the setup process for the HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 was long. We started by downloading the installation software. It took several minutes to download everything the installer needed, so we turned on the printer and connected it to the WiFi while we waited. The small screen made it difficult to navigate the menus and buttons and we fat fingered the WiFi password a few times before we finally got it right.
Once the printer was on the WiFi network, we installed the ink from the front panel at an awkward angle. While most printers let you install the ink from above, the 7740 made us duck down to push the ink cartridge into place. Cartridge installed, the 7740 printed out a test page. By that time, the software was installed, and we started the setup phase. The software ran us through the standard information and registered us with HP. It guided us through the whole process, making it really easy to set everything up. When it was all done, the HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 printed out a summary page that included the email address for email printing.
The HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 is a speedy printer at 22 ppm for B/W and 17 ppm for color, but it’s much slower for photos. It almost four and a half minutes to print a high quality photo at 11” x 17”.
Whether the fonts were a banal sans serif or super fancy, the edges were crisp and spacing was just right.
To test the print quality, we printed several pieces of text and numerous photos. We printed different text sizes and fonts on different sized paper to check for clarity, spacing, and any quality problems. For most of the text, everything was great. Whether the fonts were a banal sans serif or super fancy, the edges were crisp and spacing was just right. Every once in a while, we saw a tiny white line run through the text, like the printer just skipped one pixel’s worth of printing. It only happened a couple times, and there didn’t seem to be a pattern.
The color photographs were beautiful. We tested printing photos on plain paper in different sizes and on high quality glossy photo paper with different subjects. The color matching was much better when we moved to higher quality photos. In our photo with people, the skin tone looked just right, and you could see the layers of light through the skin. When we printed out a gigantic RAW file (45 MB!) on quality photo paper, the photos were stunning, showing off the printer’s resolution. Everything came out clear and sharp, especially on glossy paper, but we did notice that it was slightly warmer or yellower than the original.
We saw occasional streaks when we printed borderless on plain paper, but no evidence of them when we didn’t print borderless or on glossy paper. Whether this is a big problem depends on how you plan to use the printer, but it is disappointing. The cost per page is about average at $0.02 per page in black/white and about $0.10 per page in color.
The HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 has a number of scanner functions. From the printer, you can scan to email, scan to a network folder, scan to a computer, or scan to a flash drive. Each option comes up with only a press of a few buttons on the touch screen control panel.
We also used the scanner tool on our computer and HP’s mobile app, too. First, we scanned the cover of a children’s book, to test how the scanner performs when we place a thick object on the bed. Using the standard settings it took a great looking scan, but the edges around the book cover had some distortion, albeit nothing a quick photo crop couldn’t fix. We also used the automatic document feeder to run both text and photos using 8.5” x 11” paper. As the paper passed through the ADF, they all shifted just a little, so the text and photos didn’t quite line up the way they were supposed to. It was disappointing, however, that the ADF didn’t work with anything larger than 8.5” x 11”.
While most people won’t use paper any larger than letter, it doesn’t really make sense to keep it that small when the scanner bed can do 11” x 17”. The scanner can produce several files: Bitmap, JPEG, PDF, PNG, Rich Text, Searchable PDF, Text, TIFF. It has a maximum resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi, which is more than enough for most office and home use.
To test the fax quality, we used the HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 to fax both graphics and text from both the automatic document feeder and the scanner bed. When we ran docs through the ADF the pages shifted slightly, but that’s not unusual for a fax machine. The text was very legible, and nearly the same quality as the original, and we were impressed with the quality of the B/W graphic we sent. The hardest part of the fax process was using the tiny touch screen to type in the number—the tiny buttons made accuracy difficult. We had to type and delete our way through the fax number a couple times before we sent it. We liked the print-to-fax feature, because we could fax directly from our computer and avoid the control panel altogether.
HP really excels in its software integration. The mobile app is well-designed, with easy-to-use buttons arranged in an intuitive menu. We easily scanned, printed, and faxed right from our phone, and even tried scanning through the ADF while the HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 was printing. Everything worked flawlessly.
We were also impressed with how easy it was to use the included scanner software on our computer, because HP included several presets that allow you to adjust the scanner without fiddling with all the details.
The app also has an option to print photos directly from a phone, making it easy to print our iPhone shots without sending them to a computer first. It also facilitates printing from cloud accounts like Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, Facebook, Instagram, and others. We were impressed with how easy it was to use the included scanner software on our computer, because HP included several presets that allow you to adjust the scanner without fiddling with all the details (though you can also set everything manually). WiFi direct printing was easy to use, too, once you got past the touch screen controls:
The HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 has a MSRP of $280, but you can often find it for closer to $200. That puts the price about the middle of the road for a wide-format mass market home/office printer. Since most similar printers will run about this price range, the cost isn’t the biggest distinguishing feature.
Canon Pixma TS9520: The Canon Pixma TS9520 is a lot like the HP OfficeJet Pro 7740, except it’s a little smaller, which has both positives and negatives. At 18.5” wide, 14.5” deep, and 7.6” tall, it will take up a lot less desk space than the 7740. But it also holds less paper, only 100 sheets per tray compared to 250 per tray on the 7740. More importantly, it’s a lot slower with 15 ipm black and only 10 ipm for color. With an MSRP of $250, the TS9520 in the same price range. Though it is a little slower and has less capacity, this printer could work better for people who are cramped for space in a small home office.
Brother Business Smart Pro Color Inkjet All-in-One: The Brother Business Smart Pro Color Inkjet All-in-One is comparable in most ways to the HP OfficeJet Pro 7740. They’re about the same size with the Brother model at 22.6" x 18.8" x 14.7", and they print at about the same speed. The HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 costs a little less, though, $270 compared to Brother’s $300 MSRP. The control panel is the only obvious advantage. Physical buttons make it easier to copy and fax, and the touch screen is larger, too. In the end, though, that probably isn’t worth the extra price.
An affordable wide-format printer for home and office use.
The HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 is a quality printer. It did well in nearly all our tests, particularly borderless printing on photo paper. The biggest flaw was the small touch screen that made it difficult to navigate the controls, especially for users with large fingers. The quality mobile app and computer software makes up for the control panel, though, making the HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 easy to use and a good printer at a decent price.
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