HP's OfficeJet J4680 is a £119 inc VAT multifunction colour inkjet printer that gives small- and home-office users a reasonable helping of business features at a really low price.

Unfortunately, the HP OfficeJet J4680 falls short in speed and long-term economy.

The HP OfficeJet J4680's star attractions are its integrated 802.11b/g wireless and fax connectivity, and its 50-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) - rare features on such a low-priced machine.

Those features make up somewhat for the HP OfficeJet J4680's minimalist 100-sheet input tray, which doubles as a 20-sheet output tray - yes, printed pages drop right on top of any blank paper you have loaded.

We dislike this part of the HP OfficeJet J4680's design: there's too much going on in one place. Duplexing (two-sided printing) is not available.

The control panel of the HP OfficeJet J4680 consists of a one-line monochrome LCD and a second line of simple arrows that point to function labels beneath the display. You use the two navigation buttons to choose a major function and to drill through the menus. This system is easy to use - except that longer messages scroll across the display like ticker tape, making them hard to read.

In our tests, the HP OfficeJet J4680 delivered good-quality output at adequate speeds. It printed plain-text pages at a rate of 7 pages per minute and graphics pages at 2.1ppm or worse. On plain paper, text looked dark, crisp, and precise; colour images looked natural though somewhat grainy. On HP's own photo paper, colour images improved, acquiring a smooth and natural appearance. Scans and copies looked okay, but scans came out very slowly.

The OfficeJet J4680's ink costs are reasonably good--and far better than those of the Dell V305W. The machine ships with a standard 200-page black cartridge and a 360-page tricolour cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridge. A high-yield (700-page) black cartridge costs £18.


The HP OfficeJet J4680 might be slow, but it's a nice machine. A small office that doesn't do much printing would probably be happy to have the OfficeJet J4680's feature set in such a compact, low-cost package.