Tools Of The Trade: The HP Officejet 7410 all-in-one printer

All-in-one printers are the Swiss army knives of office equipment. Combining a scanner, printer, copier and often a fax in one box cuts down on clutter and may well work out cheaper than buying separate devices.

All-in-one printers are the Swiss army knives of office equipment. Combining a scanner, printer, copier and often a fax in one box cuts down on clutter and may well work out cheaper than buying separate devices.

The problem with all-in-ones is that they have tended to be an assembly of compromises. Fax-based combinations were poor scanners and printers, and printer-based ones lacked flexibility in the other functions. But the latest machines have solved most of the quality problems.

HP's Officejet 7410 is at the top end of the small office or home office all- in-one market. It is based on HP's proven inkjet technology and claims a maximum print speed of 30 pages per minute. The machine comes with a flat- bed scanner, two paper trays, a double-sided printing option, fax, readers for digital camera memory cards and a wireless network connection.

But although the specifications are impressive, the 7410 will not suit everyone. The first issue is its bulk. HP, and others, sell attractive, compact all-in-ones that will fit neatly on an office shelf. The 7410, despite being an A4 machine, is almost as large as an A3 copier. Its sheet feeder and second tray add to the bulk, and the unit really needs to sit on a sturdy desk or cabinet.

The 7410 is also the first piece of equipment featured here to have injured the reviewer: do not try to put the unit on to its second paper tray on your own, as there is no easy way to grip the (heavier) upper part of the machine. The double-sided printing attachment clips on to the back of the unit, further adding to its bulk, and in tests it proved impossible to persuade the printer to use this feature.

One of the most interesting features of the 7410, its wireless connection, was also a struggle to set up. Building wireless into such a device gives it enormous flexibility, as it can be placed anywhere in the home or office and shared with several users. The 7410 also has wired networking and USB built in, and an option for Bluetooth, so it should cover all bases.

However, setting up a unit such as this on a secure wireless network means adding its internal identity to the system. HP puts this address on a sticker on the back of the unit, but unfortunately the one on the review machine was wrong. The correct number was buried in the internal menus, accessible through the LCD control panel.

Once the 7410 was set up properly, print speeds for general office documents were excellent. Speed and quality for photos were less good. HP does offer alternative photo cartridges, making the 7410 a six-colour machine, but these are not supplied as standard. Out of the box, the 7410 is outperformed in this respect even by older, non-photo HP printers.

The 7410 makes for a good networked printer for small offices, with convenience copying and fax thrown in. It is not, though, a top-quality printer for photos or artwork.

The Verdict

Rating: 3 out of 5
Pros: wireless networking, plenty of functions.
Cons: size, cost, photo print quality.
Price: £399 plus VAT.

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