HP Photosmart C4380 review

Price when reviewed

HP’s Photosmart C4380 is a bit of a difficult one to call. Largely mediocre throughout our tests, it managed to pop up with a few examples of brilliance to suggest we shouldn’t write it off completely.

HP Photosmart C4380 review

The good bits all involve quality. The HP’s scanner is the most accomplished of the group, capturing our A4 photo with incredible detail and impressive colour accuracy – edges looked real in a way no other scanner quite managed, and the images had a real sense of depth to them.

The 6 x 4in photo was handled almost as well, and this superb capture capability led to the finest set of copies in the group. It was the only printer to really nail draft quality copies, and it reproduced the purples and greens of our colour document most accurately, too.

Its other strengths are the built-in Wi-Fi adapter, a card reader for all major memory card formats and a reasonable running cost of 5.6p per sheet thanks to some very high capacity cartridges – the high yield black lasts 1,000 pages so you won’t need to get your hands dirty very often.

But that’s where the good news ends, for in every other way the HP managed to disappoint. For a start, the design is about as bare as can be: a single-character LCD is very limiting, while all on-device adjustments are made via just three buttons – one for quality, one for size and one for the number of copies (up to just nine). It’s not the most flexible on-device control method we’ve seen, to say the least. The output tray is a bit flimsy and awkward too.

Then there’s the truly awful software. Not only does it come with a setup routine that takes 20 minutes to finish, the applications are dumbed down to the point where getting workable scans is far more fiddly than it needs to be.

When you do decide to print anything, don’t expect it to come quickly: at just 4.1ppm for mono text it’s slower than all but the Epsons and the Brothers, and it prints at half that speed in colour, too. The slow scanner we can forgive due to the high quality of the results, but once you’ve waited more than a minute and a half for just five mono A4 photocopies, you’ll wish you’d bought one of the superior Canons instead.

Basic Specifications

Resolution printer final1200 x 1200dpi
Integrated TFT screen?no
Rated/quoted print speed32PPM
Maximum paper sizeA4
Duplex functionno

Running costs

Cost per A4 colour page5.6p
Inkjet technologyThermal
Ink typeDye-based colour, pigment-based black

Power and noise

Dimensions440 x 259 x 170mm (WDH)
Peak power consumption25W

Copier Specification

Copier rated mono speed32cpm
Copier rated colour speed24cpm
Fax speedN/A
Fax page memoryN/A

Performance tests

6x4in photo print time3min 2s
Mono print speed (measured)4ppm
Colour print speed2ppm

Media Handling

Borderless printing?yes
CD/DVD printing?no
Input tray capacity125 sheets


USB connection?yes
Ethernet connection?no
Bluetooth connection?no
WiFi connection?yes

Flash media

SD card readeryes
Compact Flash readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
xD-card readeryes
Other memory media supportMMC

OS Support

Operating system Windows 7 supported?no
Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes
Operating system Windows 2000 supported?no
Operating system Windows 98SE supported?no
Software suppliedHP ImageZone Suite

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