Printers have come a long way and less is more now as the HP Deskjet 3630 shows.
It is quite a common thing these days to say something like "I will buy a printer, it is cheaper than buying replacement ink cartridges" and while this is not always true, it's incredible how much office equipment you can get these days for under $50.
The HP Deskjet 3630 is such an example. Here it is a very simple to use deskjet printer that can connect to your PC via USB or to your network via WiFi, print wirelessly from tablets and smartphones, print from email attachments, scan and copy documents and all this for less then $50 from some suppliers.
You can see how this price is possible. The printer is basically plastic now - and not that rigid, heavy plastic but a lighter version, no less resistant though. The maximum duty cycle is 1,000 pages per month but HP recommends 100 - 250 printed pages over the same period. And long gone are the touchscreen colour displays - the HP Deskjet 3630 sports a very minimalist 7 segment plus icons black and white display.
But it works, and really well. Even though it comes with software on a CD you can just unpack it, plug to your Windows PC and wait for the driver to be automatically downloaded and installed. Or you can use a smartphone app to connect to the printer via its WiFi direct capability and configure it to connect to your wireless network, making it available to all PC and smart devices in the house.
The printer is not as a fast as high end laser models that cost a lot more, but you can expect speeds from 16 pages per minute (draft, colour) to 20 pages per minute (draft, black and white), or 6 ppm to 8 ppm in high quality mode. The HP Deskjet 3630 can also produce borderless prints on photographic paper.
This printer uses two ink cartridges - one black and the other tri-colour one) which is something I dislike in general, with my preference being one ink cartridge for each colour. But I can see how this approach would make the printer more costly.
The specifications say you can expect up 190 pages from the black cartridge and 165 pages from the colour one. This means you would be spending around $54 a month if you printed around the suggested monthly page cycle - yes, you could just buy a new printer but in reality going through having to configure the new one wouldn't help justifying the trouble.
If you have the printer connected to your network you can just point your Internet browser to its local address to change its configuration settings, including power saving features and connection to Internet services that allows it to receive print jobs via email you can send from authorised addresses.
You can also use the browser for scanning - it basically just opens a new tab and loads the scan image which can be in a variety of formats (images or PDF) and resolutions up to 1200 DPI, 24 bit. You can create copies without the use of a computer too, by simply placing the document on its flatbed and pushing the copy button below the LCD panel. These copies are up to 600 x 300 dpi and you can reduce or enlarge the print.
The printer is actually really quiet during print jobs and at just over 4 kgs and 438 x 553 x 256 mm it fits nicely in small offices or home offices.