On paper, the Officejet 4630 offers a lot of functionality for the money. It can print, it can scan, it can copy, and it can fax. It can be a network printer, it can connect to a single computer, or you can use it to print directly from a variety of devices, including your smartphone. You can connect over 802.11b, g, or n wireless LAN, or via USB.
The 4630 makes a good first impression out of the box. It has a clean, modern design. The quick start instructions (all drawings, no text) make setting it up pretty easy. There are a few protective plastic films to remove and ink cartridges to install. Connecting the wireless LAN is done via the printer's numeric-keypad interface. Entering the SSID and password is slow, but you only have to do it once, so no big deal. There were no problems establishing the connection. Finally, the instructions direct you to download the 162MB (!) driver package from HP's website. Installation was basically as simple as running the downloaded software.
In some ways the 4630 was a disappointment. The printer will automatically download and install updates to its firmware, and after one such update the printer refused to make copies anymore. Printed images have noticeable lines, and are reminiscent of dot-matrix print quality. The printer's output "tray" is about 2 inches wide and does not always catch the paper.
If you need a low-cost printer and occasionally need to scan, fax, or copy, this could be the printer for you. But if you need print quality that is worthy of printing photos or documents for customers, the 4630 is probably not the best choice. As with anything on Amazon, read lots of reviews and make buying decisions accordingly; best of luck and thanks for reading my review (be sure to take your grain of salt!).
Overall impression is this is a great little printer. Setup was simple, wireless printing is simple, connected to network just fine. Here are some highlights:
* Output is terrific quality, on a variety of media types: Photo paper, regular paper, cardstock, and even legal sized paper
* Stand-alone copy functions work great.
* Wireless printing (Air Print function) super easy, works fine right out of the box
* Also works great with Google Cloud Print (my preference for phone or tablet printing)
* Duplexing (2-sided printing), high capacity auto sheet feeder for scanning/copying (35 sheets)
If you're an HP fan, this is a great pick for you. My grandfather prefers HP brand, and this is the printer I'm going to recommend to him. However, if you're open to exploring other brands, I would really recommend the Canon Pixma instead. Here's why:
* HP has a larger footprint, Canon is more compact with a smaller footprint and even more functions (the only exception I've noticed is, the formatting on HP 2-sided printing is a little easier). Canon has much better touch screen interface, 1-touch maintenance, etc.
* HP ink cost and consumption is much higher. More than 10x higher cost per page! That's because Canon and other brands (like Epson) have a variety of high quality generic options available. Ink for our Canon costs about $3 per cartridge, and if you're careful where you buy, it can be the same quality as the OEM cartridges (in some cases, higher quality).
* HP is pretty slow printing, actual print time of 2-3 pages per minute. Canon takes a loooong time to warm up and cool down, because it's doing a huge range of sophisticated self-maintenance checks and ink head cleaning (another perk over the HP). But once it gets going, it will print 4-5x faster.
* Canon has individual ink cartridges for easier and cheaper replacement (6 of them, actually - extra colors for better photo output).
* The HP ink cartridges (model 61) only has 2 cartridges - black and color. So when you run out of yellow, you have to replace the whole cartridge, making ink even more expensive. When you replace color inks individually, you notice that you really do NOT deplete them at the same rate. When you're throwing out the HP cartridge, you're really throwing out a lot of money.
I really don't have many "bad" things to say about the HP printer, works like a champ, and a terrific range of functions for under $100. But if you're open to exploring other brands, in my opinion you get more bang with your buck going with a Canon Pixma.
Update October 14, 2014
I've observed one minor problem with the printer; it has a limited capacity for paper in the paper tray. I loaded a little too much paper into the tray and it jammed; I removed some of the paper and it started working again. That is a minor disappointment as I must more frequently load a small amount of paper into the tray. Other than that, the printer is still doing an excellent job.
Update June 3, 2014
All is well with the 4630, I've had to install new ink cartridges but that went without a hitch. I'm still pleased and impressed with the job it's doing for me.
Update March 9, 2014
The HP OJ 4630 is still working perfectly and produces very good copies. I'm mentioning this as sort of an on-going report since some other reviewers had problems with the machine after a few months. Should anything develop that is noteworthy I'll update this review again.
Update January 22, 2014
I'm still pleased with the HP OJ 4630, it has continued to do everything required of it without any problems whatsoever. I have really become excited about the duplex feature, it has always worked perfectly and produced great copies; I suppose I really didn't realize how many times I was working around the absence of this feature on my old HP OJ d135.
This all in one printer came in earlier this week and so far has worked exactly as it should. I have had an older model HP Officejet d135 for several years but now HP has stopped making the ink cartridges. Getting the HP 14 replacement cartridges is getting more and more difficult so I decided to try a newer model Officejet and have been pleased with the results so far.
One thing I appreciate about it is the smaller size, it does more in less space. I've set it up using our wireless network and really like the reduction in cables the new wireless hardware permits. My older HP d135 had an optional extra cost duplex assembly which I never spent the money to buy but the new HP Officejet 4630 came with one included.
I've tried it out and it worked perfectly which really will save time, paper and storage space for hard copies. Previously I had to print one page and then manually print the other side which took considerably more time.
Set up went smoothly with only one hitch and that was downloading the software on line as HP recommended. After trying unsuccessfully about 7 or 8 times I finally started all over and used the CD version which came with the printer and it installed perfectly with no problems. The window I had gotten when trying to download the software was the server may have been busy.
There is a hinged door in front which must be opened to print as the paper is discharged out the front. The first time I tried to print the alignment page I did not have the door opened downward and the paper wouldn't feed properly. Realizing my mistake I opend the door and printed the alignment page again and it came out perfect. The process called for the user to scan the page and it scanned correctly the first time and completed the alignment correctly.
Ink installation is exactly opposite from the d135 and that had me going for a minute or two. It is important that the cartridge be angled just as shown on the quick start sheet that comes with the printer; the part of the cartridge nearest the front of the printer should be angled down as it is inserted in the carrier. I was so used to doing it the opposite way with the d135 that I had to check the instructions and once I followed them exactly the cartridge went smoothly in and locked in place.
FAX setup went smoothly and tested out properly but I have yet to actually send or receive a FAX as most communication of that sort has moved over to email or texting.
The scanning quality and the print quality are both excellent on photos and text so I have encountered no problems there. As of this point I feel encouraged that I may have found an acceptable replacement for my faithful, but old, HP Officejet d135. Admittedly this is a brand new machine and only time will tell if it is as reliable as my d135 has been. I'll update this review if anything notable happens either good or bad.
Color accuracy and vividness are much better on the HP, no question about it (see Note 1).
Supply cost is much lower for the Brother MFC-J870DW.
- - - Ink Cost: It Adds Up - - -
This little $90 printer could cost you $500 to $1,500 over a 5 year period. Printer companies hope you won't do the supply-gouge math.
To get the party started ASAP, HP ships the printer with cartridges that are 50% and 40% full. (Or 50% and 60% empty if you prefer.)
The ink refills (HP 61 series) include a chip and the actual print heads. This discourages knock-offs, but refurbished 3rd party replacements are available for about 50% off.
If it starts to feel like an expensive drug habit, see "9 ways to lower your ink costs" below.
- - - Ink cost comparison - - -
Per . . . . . 5 years @ . . 5 years @
Page . . . . 500/yr . . . . 1500/yr
------ . . ----------- . ----------
19.4 . . . . . $485 . . . . . $1,455 . . HP supples (61XL) Appx $60/310 pages
8.8 . . . . . . $220 . . . . . . $660 . . . Brother supples (LC-103) Appx $53/600 pages
9.7 . . . . . . $242 . . . . . . $727 . . . HP compatible supples Appx $30/310 pages
3.3 . . . . . . $83 . . . . . . . $248 . . . Brother compatible supplies Appx $20/600 pages
These calculations are a rough guide. Based on approximate average amazon price in 2013 from merchants with 95% or greater satisfaction.
- - - Some Feature Comparisons - - -
* Beautiful photo colors...much better than Brother.
- Print heads are built into each cartridge. Clogged head is solved with a new cartridge.
- AirPrint (for printing from Apple devices) works fine on both printers with zero effort.
- HP's install seems way more oppressive, but maybe it has more features (see Note 2).
- Ink is less than half the cost per page
- Separate color cartridges (less waste)
- Includes wired Ethernet connection (HP is USB or WiFi only)
- HP makes you remove large paper when loading 4" x 6" paper, and vice versa.
(This is not a complete review. It's just some things I noticed.)
- - - Nine ways to lower your ink costs - - -
1. Discover a planet where printer companies charge their ink customers less than 800% of manufacturing cost. OK, that might be impractical.
2. Own a laser printer and use it most of the time. The Brother MFC7860DW,Brother HL-2270DW, and their siblings have the lowest supply cost around. About 1-2 cents per page vs 10-20 cents per (non-photo) page for most inkjets.
3. Inconvenience is your friend. On the off chance that your kids, spouse, or office staff don't know or care about what things cost, put your color printer off the beaten path. Upstairs...powered off...barbed wire...you get the idea. It's a silent reminder that the color printer is not for random everyday use.
4. Buy the larger 61XL cartridges. The partly-filled 61 cartridges are about 20% more expensive per milliliter of ink.
5. Watch for price dips. There's an "Online Price Alert" that will email you whenever inks or any amazon product dips below your target price. Google it. Or try camelcamelcamel, which also shows price history.
6. Preview each print job and reduce the page range when possible. Especially when printing Web pages.
7. Shrink your printing...2 pages-to 1, 4-to-1 etc. when it make sense. Make sure everybody knows how easy this is to do.
8. Holiday letters: 20% to 50% of your loved ones would be happier with an emailed holiday letter. Print your letter to a pdf file.
9. 3rd Party ink cartridges: Quality varies. Choose a highly rated *merchant*. Product reviews are sometimes bogus, because merchants with their own inferior inks list themselves under another company's brand.
- - - Notes - - -
Note 1: Photo Color - I used 3 test photos with lots of naturally vivid colors. The HP output was beautiful, vivid and quite accurate (vividness slightly overdone). The Brother output was less vivid and less accurate. Royal blue was rendered as dark navy blue, and other colors were a notch "muddier" than in real life...Even though Brother output was set to "Vivid" (I did not try manual adjustments). My test used Staples brand Photo Plus paper. With the Brother, I also tried "Innobella Premium Plus Glossy Photo Paper" (sample included with printer). Results were the same as with Staples paper.
Both printers had crisp, high res photo output.
Note 2: Software Install - HP tries very hard to make it smooth and bulletproof, but apparently you are installing an vast and clever ecosystem. My minor complaints include: 1.) Unclear whether you want to "Enable Web Services." "See printed guide for more info" but the answer is not there. Another option called "HP connected" is also not explained very well, but involves a 13 digit "claim code" that expires after 24 hours. 2.) You must install the latest version of Microsoft .NET Framework. 3.) You are then told that "Activation is required for web connected services," and after that comes "registration" which is a whole different thing. You then have a ONE-TIME chance to claim a reward for having installed genuine HP ink (I didn't go down that rabbit hole). 4.) HP then kindly sets this printer as your default printer (without asking) and puts a "Shop for Supplies" icon on your desktop, which helps you buy inks from HP at full list price.
~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~
The first thing to know about this HP OfficeJet is that the monthly duty cycle (maximum number of pages output) is only 1,000, while the recommended page volume is only 150 to 600 print and 20 to 100 scan. Therefore, if you’re operating a home business with lots of printing, this machine may not be suitable for you. I think it’s more suited to a student who has to print homework, or a family with a mix of fax/scan/copy/print but less volume in general. The name OfficeJet is for a line of machines, but in this case it’s a bit misleading. I’m not knocking it, by the way. I have this machine through the Vine program, but I already had an OfficeJet Pro which I bought, and I’m quite happy with both machines. My sister, who does have a home business, also has the OfficeJet Pro and does heavy printing. So my recommendation for home business owners is to spend up and go with the HP OfficeJet Pro 8600. If you’re a single person or have a family and are not running a home business, this is an affordable and competent machine.
There are several other factors to consider, though. Ink is pricey (that’s true with all manufacturers). There are two print cartridges, one black and one tri-color. I’m not really a fan of tri-color because if a single color runs out, you have to buy the whole thing, rather than replace one color. Also, if you want to print photos, the tri-color of cyan, magenta and yellow is less nuanced than, say, the Epson Expression Home XP-850 which has an additional two cartridges of Light Cyan and Light Magenta, or the Epson Expression Premium XP-810 which has an interesting Photo Black in addition to the regular print black, or the Canon PIXMA MX922 which has pigment-based black and dye-based colors and the ability to replace only the tank that runs out. I have all these machines and more, thanks mostly to a cat which jumps on them and breaks them almost faster than I can set them up.
Back to the HP and its ink: they offer regular cartridges that print about 190 pages (black) and 165 (tri-color), and they have larger tanks that print 480 (black) and 330 (tri-color). Naturally, this varies with things like continuous printing and the content of the data being printed. Duplex printing is automatic, which saves paper. Borderless photos can be printed from 4 x 6 up to 8 ½ x 11 inches. The print speed is the slowest of the five printers I currently own (about 9 ppm black and 5 ppm color), another reason not to think of it for home businesses. The input tray is decent, holding 100 sheets (though I don’t recommend stuffing it to capacity), but the output tray is only 30 sheets, so you need to keep that in mind – I can envision filling the input tray, setting something to print 50 copies (the maximum), and wandering off to do another task without realizing that it will overflow and jam.
The automatic document feeder can handle 35 sheets. It can take 10 envelopes (size #10). There are a couple of custom paper sizes supported, but I haven’t tried them. And the HP can supposedly handle transparencies and iron-on transfers, but I haven’t tried those, either. The maximum scan size on the flatbed is 8 ½ x 11.7 inches. As for copying, you can reduce or enlarge (25% to 400%). I haven’t used the fax function. Nowadays, just about everything can be scanned and attached to an email.
One thing I particularly like about this machine (compared to my monster HP OfficeJet Pro) is that it has a smaller footprint. It weighs in at less than 14 pounds and the dimensions are about 17 ½” wide, 13 to 21 ½” deep (depending on the extra feeder tray for outsized paper) and 4 ¾” to 7 ½” high (depending on the scanner and ADF). Unfortunately, one of the reasons it’s so light is because it’s mostly plastic and therefore fragile (as I can attest from the depredations of my cat). Setup is quick and easy, but HP doesn’t include a USB cable, so if you plan to use a wired connection you’ll need to provide your own. This supports Mac and PC, from Vista through Office 8 (I have Office 7). Overall, I think this is a very decent printer.
on February 24, 2014
I did not purchase this printer from Amazon, but wanted to take a moment to warn those that consider purchasing this all in one. Before you purchase this all in one, take a moment and Google "HP 4630 offline," take a look at a few (or a few thousand) comments regarding this particular issue with the HP 4630. Unfortunately after installing the printer and having a great initial first experience I attempted to print a document using the same laptop that I typically use. To my surprise the document did not print because the printer was offline. I followed all of the actions recommended to troubleshoot the problem, to no avail. I tried many of the recommendations provided in the lengthy blog posts. Please note the number of individuals that have experienced the same issue, hence the readily available blog recommendations.The printer is now boxed up and will be returned.
on March 13, 2014
I've only had my printer for about 5 or 6 months and I have had trouble the whole time. When it prints it looks good, but it's hard to get it to print everything you want. If I send more than one page at a time to print it will stop in the middle of one of the pages and kill the rest of the print jobs. When I was printing pictures it printed 3 or 4 out of 20 right, the others it stopped mid print. I don't like the options for scanning, Well there actually isn't options it just scans and there you go.
Now I can't print at all. I turned it on and it came up with an error code that can't be cleared and won't allow it to print and searching the problem it looks like this same problem has happened with at least a couple other people with their printers only being a couple months old to. All it said was call support. I've had a hard time getting a hold of them too. "High call volume" so you wait on hold forever. Guess everyone else is having problems with their hp stuff too. I use to think that HP had a good name, I had my previous HP for 8 years and got tired of the high cost of the ink so I tried a new one. I wouldn't waste my time or money again on one.
on March 4, 2014
Worked for 3 months, then it has errors every time I print.
It'll stop printing in the middle of the document. Extremely frustrating.
I updated the drivers, and all it did was give me lots of HP ads.
on February 2, 2015
At first blush, this printer seems to be an unbeatable deal, and the current 400 some odd reviews when taken as a whole seem to clearly indicate as much. After having used this A-iO ext.....uhh, after having TRIED to use this A-i-O extensively, the good I could say about it (quite limited and almost solely a commentary at cost), is very far outstripped by the bad. After further "use" and closer examination, however, the cost issue reverses and stands at the forefront of the bad. In a nutshell, if you can afford OEM ink cartridges, and a $hI^load OF THEM, you could see satisfactory use of this machine, but believe me when I say this, if you can afford that, buy yourself a better printer, or maybe ten of them, because you will pay DEARLY in ink. Obviously, if you print a couple pages a year, you may benefit by getting this machine, but if you print any significant amount of material, my advice would be to save yourself some real aggravation and anger...pass on this one.
The ink market is fraught with overpricing, and way more than meets the eye. The disturbing trend of pushing the customer as far as possible toward the rapid replacement of expensive liquid consumables has finally pushed this consumer against the wall. Having been so downright mad about this purchase, I very recently popped open an OEM black cartridge - it was actually worth it to me to see just what was going on with this thing - and then, I was REALLY mad. Inside was a tiny sponge that was at least one third white! Brand new OEM cartridges with a sponges the size of crap dice, and they are not even saturated!? The extremely high price only inflames that!
No, don't consider that you'll refill or use non-OEM cartridges, unless of course you like to really, REALLY fight with your printer, and lose a fair amount of the time where the only "reset" is, you guessed it - when you crack open the old wallet again. And don't think to yourself, "Well, at least I can utilize the FAX and scan features wholly dependent of ink", unless you have "good", non-empty OEM cartridges therein, because when you don't, you aren't going to do ANYTHING with this machine but poke at it in anger and frustration. I may be the oddball complainant here, but fact is fact.
If I had reviewed this very early on after purchase, I would be commenting vastly otherwise. But I didn't, and I post this now only upon quite a bit of careful consideration and admittedly in deep disgruntled frustration. I realize that this issue regarding ink prices (the whole 'ink scam') is widespread, and that maybe the fault I find here is partially or even largely a product of that. Personally, I don't really care too much WHY the print function of this A-i-O is horrendously expensive, I just know that for any practical purposes, I can describe this A-i-O in two words: it sucks.
If you print all black and white, get something like the Brother HL540DN - 40 pages/min, hi-cap toner cartridges that can print up to 8000 pages,and if you do the math, the cost per page is nowhere even remotely near that of this A-i-O.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
on July 6, 2014
This printer deserves 5 stars on the merits...it's fast, cheap, its scanner comes with an ADF, and supposedly it's wireless (though I have no use for this myself). However, one of its strongest features, automatic duplex printing, also comes with a fatal flaw: while you are printing double-sided, you will receive a pop-up message with EVERY SINGLE PAGE telling you that the printer has paused to let the first side of the page dry before it pulls the paper back in to print the second side. This pop-up message steals the focus from whatever window you're working in, preventing you from multitasking while anything is printing--in other words, whatever time you save with automatic duplex, you lose by being forced to watch it every step of the way. What makes this truly inexcusable is that there is no way to disable this or any other sort of pop-up notifications from this printer. The settings that govern these messages are bundled into the driver itself, and are not changeable by administrators, let alone regular users.
I will be very happy to upgrade this review significantly if and when HP releases an updated driver that grants users control over non-critical pop-ups like this.