HP's range of small, ice-white and grey all-in-ones has carved a very respectable niche in the entry-level market. Today's specimen, the Photosmart C4480, is just about the cheapest machine the company makes which has a colour LCD to show menus and photo thumbnails and is intended very much as a home machine for general-purpose, low-duty printing, copying and scanning, as well as basic photo upload and print.
This machine follows many of HP's recent design norms, such as having a single tray, which folds down from the front of the printer, to serve as both its input and output trays. It does this by having a practical, though slightly Heath Robinson, paper support, which swivels out from the front lip of the tray, once it's folded down.
Paper is loaded onto the tray and feeds out directly on top of the input stack. Intuitively, you feel the weight of the output sheets might affect the feed mechanism, but in practice the system works fine, though the machine does have quite a large footprint when set up for printing. Since there's no cover for the input tray, you'll want to remove the paper and shut the printer up, when it's not in use.
The simple, A4 flatbed scanner is a Contact Image Sensor (CIS) device, but still gives a remarkably good scan for a machine in this price bracket. To the left of the scanner lid is the compact, neat control panel, which comprises a 38mm colour LCD - small but usable - together with three colour-coded selection buttons, which follow the scalloped lines of the printer's edge, and three further buttons for Menu, OK and Cancel.
The power button sits behind these and just over the front edge, at the top of the printer's front panel, are twin sockets for the three main memory card formats: SD, MemoryStick and xD. At the back are just a single USB socket for data connection and a low-voltage socket for power from the supplied black block.
The Photosmart C4480 uses two ink and head cartridges, one black and the other tri-colour. These clip into place in a slightly awkward way, as you slide them back and clip them up into place, once you've folded down the front panel of the printer, behind the paper tray.
HP's usual bundle of support software is provided on CD and installs without problem, so you have Solution Center, Photosmart Essential and OCR software for scanning text documents.