HP Deskjet F380 in depth review

Published: 31st March 2011
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The HP Deskjet F380 is an all in one inkjet printer that is one of the most inexpensive you will find. If low cost is your number one priority, and you need a device that will print, scan, and copy, the HP Deskjet F380 is worth considering. However, the quality of its printing and scanning is definitely sub-par and the feature set is limited. There are other all in one printers that are almost as cheap which have equivalent output quality but better performance with more features.

The HP Deskjet F380 is intended for light duty use in homes. Those considering using it for a home office should be aware that it has neither faxing capability nor an automatic document feeder. It is also quite slow even for its price range.

On the plus side, setting up the HP Deskjet F380 is simple, it's relatively light at about 10 pounds, and the ink cost (always a major consideration with inkjet printers,) is reasonable. It's also very easy to install and replace the ink tanks. You use one black ink tank, $14.99, and one tricolor tank, $17.99, for document printing. For photo printing, you replace the black ink with a photo tricolor ink that costs $24.99, but I would not recommend printing photos with this printer.

To tell the truth, photo printing is not a good idea with even the highest quality ink jet printers, for two reasons. First, even the so-called archival inks fade with time unless you store your photos in the dark under optimal conditions, while lab-printed photos are much more fade resistant. Second, when you factor in the cost of ink, printing your photos at a store like Walmart is cheaper.

You should print photos at home only if you need them very fast and don't need them to last a long time. However, in addition to producing prints of mediocre quality, the HP Deskjet F380 does not allow you to print directly from a camera or media card, so there is really no good reason to buy this particular printer if you plan to print photos very frequently.

The HP Deskjet F380 is best for printing text documents. It will also scan documents at a high resolution of 1,200 ppi, which is a plus if you wish to scan photos and then enlarge them. However, the scanner cover will not lift up at the hinge to allow scanning of pages from thick books.

If you have a very tight budget for printers, the F380 could be for you. But if you can afford even just $20 more, look into alternatives such as the Lexmark X3350 or the Epson Stylus CX4800.

This article was written by the Webmaster of Printershaven.com

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