HP Officejet J4680 review

by Reads (20,361)
  • Pros

  • Four useful devices
  • Great draft mode
  • Reasonably priced
  • Cons

  • Slow print speeds (normal mode)
  • Small display

We’ve got the popular HP Officejet J4680 All-in-One inkjet printer in for review.  Read on for a full review and find out if the J4680 might be right for your home or office.

OFFICEJET J4680 SPECIFICATIONS

  • 4-in-1 color inkjet device (print, copy, scan and fax)
  • Print/copy speeds: up to 28 ppm in black, 22 ppm in color
  • Print resolution: up to 4800 x 1200 dpi color (optimized), 600 x 600 dpi black
  • Scanner resolution: up to 1200 dpi
  • 20-page automatic document feeder
  • 100-sheet paper tray
  • Maximum duty cycle: up to 3000 pages
  • Network ready: Wi-Fi or Ethernet
  • Energy Star qualified

BUILD AND DESIGN

The navy and grey Officejet J4680 is small and light for an all-in-one device weighing in at approx. 13 lbs and taking up less than 18 inches in any direction when not in use (the extended output tray adds 5 ½ inches when in use).

The automatic document feeder (ADF) is attached to the top of the scanner lid and can hold up to 20 pages.  There are adjustable paper clasps for different sized media.

The 48-bit flatbed scans a maximum document size of 8.5 x 11.7 inches although the glass is actually 9 x 13 inches.

The control panel – on the left side of the J4680 – has a one line LCD, number pad, copy button, cancel button, back button, ok/enter button, two arrow keys and a settings button.

Access the inside of the machine to the right of the control panel.  The J4680 has two ink cartridges spots labeled with a purple sticker for the color cartridge and a black sticker for the black ink cartridge.

The 100-sheet paper tray is detachable and has one adjustable paper clasp for different size media.  The tray also has an extendable output flap that catches print jobs.

The USB and power ports are located on the back of the printer along with the two line phone jacks.

PERFORMANCE

Setup
The Officejet J4680 setup is pretty standard: attach the paper tray, connect the machine to power, install print cartridges and load paper.

The J4680 will then align the printheads; after users will need to install the drivers from the provided CD-ROM.  I always do a custom install so I can bypass installing useless software. HP’s custom install is nice because it gives a brief description of each program so it is easier for novices.

If you choose to use the J4680 over a wireless connection, you’ll setup the connection when installing drivers.  The wizard does most of the work; users only need to know the network name and passcode, if one exists.

If you plan on using the fax capability, that setup is done after the installation CD is finished.  It is relatively easy; the J4680 can be used with a dedicated phone line or a shared phone line thanks to two extension ports. 

There are two separate guides for wireless and fax setup so users should find the overall process painless.

Ease of use
The HP Solution Center is an easy to use one-stop shop for the Officejet J4680 software; access Photosmart Essential 2.5, Smart Web printing, Document Manager, etc. through the center and skip the desktop icons..  Also, get support, alter settings and buy supplies through the HP Solution Center.

I found the HP Photosmart Essential software as easy to use as I did in the Photosmart C4599 review.  I like the ability to import your entire library of pictures into the HP Photosmart Essential library.   You can save them or not – I did not since it was for a review – but either way you can browse through every picture on your hard drive using the software if you so choose.

The Smart Web software is helpful for users that frequently print directly from the internet.  It cuts out the all the spam; no advertising blocks, no side story column or huge headline messing with the print.

I found using the J4680 as a standalone device was fairly simple despite the small display/control panel.  I had no problems copying from the ADF and faxing was a breeze.  I did have a problem with scanning an image using the control panel; it kept telling me I had no settings saved but using the on-screen manual I managed to get it setup correctly.

I experienced a few paper jams in my testing usually the result of too much paper (finished prints land on blank paper) or crinkled paper.  Overall, not a huge problem but it did happen more than once so I felt I should mention it.

Officejet J4680 tests
The J4680 falls short of HP’s claims of 28 pages per minute (ppm) in black.  I tested it using my usual Microsoft Word document and found that the J4680 printed an average of 8 ppm in normal mode and 16 ppm in draft mode.   Luckily, the draft mode was good.  In fact, I believe some people would mistake the draft mode prints for a normal mode print.  The normal mode is a shade darker and crisper when laying side-by-side but – and I’ve said this before with other machines – I would always print in draft mode unless you’ll be presenting the documents in a formal capacity.

As you may have guessed, the J4680 fell short of the advertised color print speeds.  The J4680 printed a large color chart from Excel in normal mode in 35 seconds. The colors were good but not quite as crisp as a laser printer.

I also tested the J4680 with a black text word document with one medium sized color chart on each page.  It printed 14 ppm in draft mode and a measly 5 pages in normal mode.  Again, I want to point how good the draft mode is on the Officejet 4680, even with a color chart you could barely tell the difference between the two.  For everyday printing, it is most definitely the way to go.

Good copy times although when using the ADF it slows slighty.  I copied one image in less than 20 seconds using the scanner. It took about 4 minutes to copy a 10 page document from the ADF; that’s about 24 seconds a copy.  Of course you save time overall using an ADF over manually placing each document on the flatbed.

The fax device worked almost flawlessly.  I sent a fax from the J4680 without any problem but when I tried to receive one it wouldn’t connect.  On my second trial, I realized that there was an Auto Answer feature and it was turned off so I had to receive the fax manually.  Other than that small hiccup, faxing with the J4680 was a breeze.

I am partial to the scanner on the J4680, mostly because I used it more on this machine than any other AIO/MFP I’ve tested and never had any problems with the scans.  It worked quickly in my opinion; it scanned and saved a document to file – with a preview – in less than 35 seconds.  I tested it with detailed images and documents and got the same speed results. 

Since scanning isn’t the first priority on a machine like this, the resolution wasn’t the best I’ve seen but it was good.

PROS

  • Four useful devices
  • Great draft mode
  • Easy setup
  • Reasonably priced

CONS

  • Slow print speeds (normal mode)
  • Small display

CONCLUSION

After reviewing the HP Officejet J4680 All-in-One, I can see why it is such a popular device.  All four devices work well at a price that won’t break your budget and I would recommend this machine to people who are looking for a printer for their home/home office. 

Those of you shopping for a multifunction office printer might want to go in a different direction.

PRICING AND AVAILABILITY

The HP Officejet J4680 is available on the HP website for $119.99 after a $10 instant savings.

The J4680 only uses two HP 901 cartridges; a black for $14.99 and a tri-color for $28.99. Upgrade to the 901XL in black for $31.99 and get an extra 500 pages from the cartridge.

You can also buy photo, presentation, brochure, iron-on and everyday copy paper on HP’s website.


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