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The C7280 includes an ink-drying delay on double-sided prints, which is common to many inkjet machines and we've commented on this in previous reviews. The drying delay here is 14 seconds, which is quite long and increases the test time for a 20-side text document to 6mins 24s. This sits between mid-range Canon (longer) and Lexmark (shorter) machines.
The photos were printed using the all-in-one's default, auto settings and you can set the machine for higher quality output, as we did for the PC print. This showed the usual clarity of detail and colour fidelity HP printers are known for. Colour variations are smooth and the scene in our test image looks natural and vibrant.
Text output on single-sided prints is densely black, though it does show some feathering of ink into the paper fibres, giving some spikiness. Double-sided print, though, suffers from a different problem where text looks greyed out, almost as if it has been printed in draft mode. When compared directly with the same document, printed single-sided, the lower ink coverage on the duplex print is obvious.
Scanning a page from the flatbed or the ADF takes around half a minute and the copy quality is good, with copies coming out with very similar colours and tones to the originals.
There are six inks in the Photosmart C7280, confusingly all with the number 363. The cheapest way of buying them for colour printing is in a multipack, which we found for just over £27. If you're just buying black, though, you'd be better off going for the 363XL Black cartridge, which has a higher capacity and better economy than the black in the multipack.
Using the best prices we could find gives a black cost per page of 2.92p and a colour one of 10p. The cost of black print is pretty consistent with other all-in-ones in the same price band, but the colour cost is high, close to twice as much as the page cost of some of its rivals. We calculated the Lexmark X9575 to cost 5.71p for an equivalent page, for example.
The Photosmart C7280 looks good, prints quite fast and has many useful features - though no direct CD/DVD print. It costs a bit to run, though, and print quality is variable, depending on the document type. There was a false alarm on the pricing, where Laskys appeared to be offering the device for £130. At that price, it would be very good value. At the ‘real' price of around £200, it's a bit expensive compared with its rivals.