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HP Officejet Pro 276dw - Controls
HP Officejet Pro 276dw

6 Pictures - HP Officejet Pro 276dw

  • HP Officejet Pro 276dw
  • HP Officejet Pro 276dw - Controls
  • HP Officejet Pro 276dw - Open
  • HP Officejet Pro 276dw - Cartridges
  • HP Officejet Pro 276dw - Feature Table
  • HP Officejet Pro 276dw - Print Speeds and Costs


December 20, 2013, 12:10 pm

I bought this to replace a HP OfficeJet Pro L7680, which is essentially a six year old ancestor of the same multifunction printer series. The old printer needed a new cyan and magenta printhead, and its software isn't 100% compatible with Windows 8, so I decided to upgrade to this HP OfficeJet Pro 276dw.

The first machine I received was dead on arrival. The print head was blocked and black print had white stripes through it which cleaning cycles did not resolve. I had excellent service from my supplier, which replaced it quickly.

The second machine worked fine, but I was initially disappointed by the print quality. Despite using pigment inks, the print wasn't sharp on the page, and black text was very noticeably grey rather than black. There was a clear contrast between this machine and the L7680 I was replacing: the L7680 could print black text sharper and with a much deeper black than the new device, despite being six years old! Over a couple of days experimenting, I found that the paper type made a big difference to the quality, which is unusual for pigment inks. It turns out that HP recommends using paper with (it's own!) ColorLok technology, and that did give much sharper results and black was truer black (still not as good as the old L7680, though). ColorLok paper is available from many manufacturers (not just HP) for only a couple of pounds a box more than the paper I usually use, so I accepted that I'd just buy different paper in future.

Later in the week, I tried to do some copying of a couple of pages from a book. It was a double-page spread, so the pages weren't perfectly flat on the glass across the spine. This had never been a problem on the old L7680, which produced some of the clearest, sharpest copies I've ever seen from any device. However, the new machine's copy was dreadful. Anywhere the book hadn't sat perfectly flat on the glass, the copy was blurred. I researched this online and discovered that HP now uses CIS scanner heads in place of the CCD heads in their older machines. The only reason for this is cost: high end standalone scanners still use CCD technology because it gives better quality. The problem with CIS is that it can only focus on the glass itself, and any object that's slightly above the glass -- like the book spine -- therefore comes out blurred. CCDs don't have this problem and can focus for some distance above the glass. I tried copying the same page with the old machine, and it was massively better quality (despite the fact that the printer needed a new head).

In the end, I concluded that despite being HPs top of the range OfficeJet Pro device, HP has done too much cost cutting. The ink in the older machine works better across different paper types and gives sharper results, and the CCD technology in the older scanner gives much better results on anything other than single loose sheet copying. So, I returned the new machine, and bought new printheads for my trusty L7680 for less than half the price I'd paid for the new machine! They arrived this morning, and the L7680 is now as good as new, and producing much better output than the new 276dw did.

Overall, I was very disappointed with the 276dw. I'd hoped it would be at least as good as the earlier HP device it was replacing, but this proved not to be the case. I hope that HP sorts this out before my L7680 finally has to be replaced, because otherwise, I'll have to look elsewhere.

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