This is definitely the era of the all-in-one printer, scanner and copier, with each model vying to offer more facilities and/or cheaper prices than their rivals without sacrificing too much in the way of quality or longevity.
Hewlett-Packard recently released a batch of nine such multifunction devices to cover modest to higher-end budgets ranging from £85 to £560. We reviewed one of the mid-range models (the Officejet 6310) very favourably. The Officejet 4355 is the 6310′s more modest younger brother, whilst still managing to pack in a range of features to appeal to small businesses and computer users with not much to spend.
It has the usual 4-in-1 components of printing, faxing, copying and scanning as well as a convenient built-in phone handset. Weighing a mere 3.9kg and with a comfortable rectangular size of 426 x 451 x 330mm, in classic HP white, this machine will sit comfortably on a hall table or beside a computer monitor and leave plenty of space for your keyboard.
The compact design has the in- and out-trays unfolding from the centre and, once the front panel is snapped in place and the two cartridges loaded, you’re immediately ready for action. The menus for each function are visible on the black and white LCD display and, even without the extremely thorough manual, it’s very easy to work out how to set up everything, from the time and date to print speed and fax answering preferences.
Taking each facility in turn, the best print and copying speed for black text is 20 pages per minute (Draft) and a mere 0.9ppm for Best, with 14ppm optimum for colour and 2.9 ppm for Normal. This compares with a maximum of 30ppm for black and white and 24ppm for colour with the Officejet 6310. In terms of quality, the resolution for black reaches 1,200 x 1,200dpi and 4,800 x 1,200 optimised dpi for colour.
Scan speed is 32 seconds for a 10 x 15cm (6 x 4-inch) colour photo and around the same time for a full page of A4 text using OCR. Maximum optical scanning resolution is 1,200 dpi, whereas the Officejet 6310 can handle 2,400 x 4,800 dpi. The fax utility, though, is similar on both machines, managing 3ppm, with a 100-page in-tray and a 20-sheet automatic document feeder.
In fact the fax is the most impressive aspect of the 4355, with a quick-dialling capacity of 100 numbers and enough memory to capture 200 pages, so you should never miss a fax even if you run out of ink or paper. By linking to your PC through the (not supplied) USB 2.0 lead and loading the provided HP Photosmart Essential software, you can network five computers to print through the one printer.
The print quality of photo reproduction was above average without being exceptional and, perhaps not surprisingly for an all-in-one at this end of the price spectrum, there are no memory card slots for digital camera copying – another USB port might have been an easy alternative, however.
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