Printers might seem like some form of archaic technology with everything going digital, but actually ink printers are still pretty much in use throughout many households. While digital copies of precious images can be safely stored on a hard drive, there is nothing better to decorate a room with images of loved ones or of memorable occasions.
Hewlett-Packard recently launched a range of Ink Advantage printers which use less ink – meaning that users will be able to make more prints for less ink. With ink being a rather expensive consumable, squeezing every last drop is vital to reducing costs.
The Deskjet 4625 All-in-One Printer falls into the Ink Advantage stable, and while it might not have all the bells and whistles of some of the high-end printers, it does the job superbly – with some ink to spare.
In terms of design and form factor, printers are never really desk-friendly items, and unfortunately this printer is no different. Weighing in around 6kg, the simple design will occupy 448 x 550 x 207mm on any desk – it is a bit on the bulky side.
Being an All-In-One printer, it has the ability to copy, scan and fax (and naturally print images from a computer). With the paper tray facing towards the user, the scan and copy lid opens easily and the buttons are easily accessible on a control panel.
This is one area where HP skimped on the design, in the sense that the control panel is button-based (not a touch screen), and has pixelated black-and-white text. It makes the printer feel a little bit older than what it actually is, as colour touch screens have been around for a while.
Nevertheless, all the functions that users will need is accessible through the little control panel. As per almost every printer released ever, this model does not come with a printer cable. While the Deskjet 4625 is capable of connecting to a network via Wi-Fi, users have to go through the oxymoronic setup stages by connecting a printer cable to the device and a PC in order for it to be able to make use of the network in future.
Luckily this step is rather easy to perform and only needs to be done once, after which the unit will remain connected to the network and users will be free to access it for prints and copies. Speaking of connectivity, the printer is also capable of HP ePrint, where users can email their documents from anywhere in the world to the printer, and it will be printed. It has become somewhat of a standard feature on all HP printers.
But while connectivity and design are important factors, the most important thing when it comes to printers is the print quality – and the Deskjet 4625 All-in-One delivers.
Surprisingly the unit printed high resolution pictures rather well on normal matte paper, which is only an indication that it would have been much better on photo quality paper. We say surprisingly as the Deskjet is not a photo printer and is geared more towards printing documents, colour brochures and paper presentations.
Naturally the quality of the printed image also depends on the image it needs to print, but with a high enough resolution image users will only be able to tell the difference between a paper printed image and developed photo if they inspect the paper. (The test images were printed on matte paper, while photos professionally developed make use of gloss paper).
In terms of quality, design and overall usefulness, the HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 4625 e-All-in-One Printer performed at the top of its class. There are a number of small changes HP could have made in terms of design, but at the end of the day, the print quality is all that matters – and here it definitely cannot be faulted.
Our score: 8.9/10
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor