capsule review

HP Photosmart C6380

At a Glance
  • HP Photosmart C6380

    PCWorld Rating

    This home/school model prints good-looking text and photos quickly, and the inks are well priced.

HP's Photosmart C6380 All-In-One color inkjet multifunction may target home photo enthusiasts, but it does a good job at nearly everything. Still, a few of its features are a bit skimpy for the price.

The Photosmart C6380 performed pretty well in our tests. It printed plain-text pages at a rate of 11.3 pages per minute (ppm), and color graphics as fast as 3.2 ppm--above average compared with the competition, though far slower than HP's claims (33 ppm text, 31 ppm graphics). On plain paper, text is just slightly fuzzy, and photos a little dark but smooth. Everything improved on HP's own paper, except flesh tones, which were orangey.

The silver-and-white box offers many useful features. Connections include USB, ethernet, and Wi-Fi. HP sells a Bluetooth adapter for $40. The control panel stretches along the upper front. Words and images on the 2.4-inch LCD can get awfully small, but accessing menus is otherwise easy using the adjacent navigational buttons. Function buttons (for copying, scanning, and photo-editing) are clearly labeled. Interesting copy features include on-screen previewing and cropping. Below you'll find slots for MS, SD, xD, CF, and PictBridge-compatible media.

The paper handling is basic. The main input takes a wide variety of media, up to 125 sheets of plain paper. It has a sliding width guide, but no length guide or extension; legal-size paper hangs out the front a bit. A piggybacked tray takes up to 20 sheets of 5-by-7-inch or smaller photo media. The lid for both components also functions as the 50-sheet output tray, which has an impressively sturdy pull-out extension.

The Photosmart C6380 ships with five standard-size ink tanks that fit into a permanent printhead: a 250-page pigment black (K), and 300-page cyan (C), magenta (M), and yellow (Y). The replacements are reasonably priced, but the high-yield ones are an even better deal: $27 for an 800-page black tank (3.4 cents per page), and $18 each for 750-page cyan, magenta, and yellow tanks (2.4 cents per color, per page). A page with all four colors would cost 11 cents. The fifth color is HP's "photo black"; according to HP, its $10, standard-size tank lasts for up to 130 4-by-6 photos (7.7 cents per photo); its $18 high-yield tank, for up to 290 (6.2 cents per photo).

A few things about the Photosmart C6380 seem not to fit with its midrange price. In most ways, however, it handles a multifunction's many tasks with aplomb, making it one of the better-designed competitors on the market.

--Melissa Riofrio

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This home/school model prints good-looking text and photos quickly, and the inks are well priced.

    Pros

    • Simple control panel
    • Very good print quality

    Cons

    • Small color LCD
    • Orangey fleshtones on photo paper
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