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HP's product design is both stylish and functional and this all-in-one, designed for home and enthusiast use, would fit in equally well with a PC or Apple Mac installation. Following the trend towards wireless connection for printers, the Photosmart C6380 includes what HP refers to as Easy WiFi.
Coloured in ice white, silver and light grey, this all-in-one looks smart and unfussy. The clean white scanner cover reveals a Contact Image Sensor (CIS) mechanism, which keeps the scanner section shallow. CIS scanner design has advanced considerably in the last couple of years, so a well put together CIS unit at this level can give similar results to more expensive and bulky CCD devices.
In front of the scanner, the curved front lip of the machine hosts elongated control panel. At the left-hand end is a 61mm LCD display, with navigation controls, including the ubiquitous four-way selection button. A strip of controls extends along to the right, to start scanning and copy jobs, to print photos from memory cards and even for automatic redeye removal.
The card slots are at the bottom of the front panel, next to the main paper tray, which can take 125 sheets of plain paper, as well as 20 photo blanks. As with previous Photosmart all-in-ones, the photo tray is powered and pulled into the printer when you select to print photos on small-format paper.
As well as the wireless connection, the machine can be connected via USB or Ethernet, if you prefer. The sockets, and a connector for the external power supply, are all at the rear.
A quick tip for setup is that the LCD display has not only a dummy photograph stuck over it, but also a transparent protective sheet; both need removing to get decent quality from the display.
HP has always worked closely with Canon on the design of laser print engines and cartridges, but looking at the five ink cartridges in this machine suggests there's pretty close collaboration on inkjet design, too. From the plug-in print head, to the twist-off, orange cartridge seals, to the retaining clips at the back of each cartridge, there are a lot of physical similarities between the consumables of the Photosmart C6380 and recent Canon PIXMA machines.
To show it means business, HP supplies the machine with the XL, high-yield versions of the cartridges, which should give between 750 and 800 pages before needing replacement.
Wireless setup is nearly as easy as HP suggests and, using the machine's LCD display it's easy to select a network for the machine to join.
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