No Workhorse, But Speedy and Sure
The HP Deskjet F340 All-in-One is an excellent and economical starter or backup machine for the home office. This printer-scanner-copier combination can adequately handle nearly any modest job. Space savers take note: this compact multi-functional unit is EXACTLY the size of a bread box. (It measures 16.76″ x 10.22″ x 6.7″ and weighs about ten pounds.)
As a color inkjet printer, the F340 is fast and user-friendly. This little machine spits out 20 draft-quality document pages per minute in black and white, or 14 pages in color. Best of all, it uses HP-21 black ($15) and HP-22 tricolor ($18) replacement printer cartridges, which are significantly more economical than most other options. (Replacing the ink cartridges for my HP PhotoSmart 7450 totals three times that cost, even with the recycling discount most office supply stores offer.)
Needing an extra printer and scanner, I picked this up at Walmart for less than $80. Grabbing a USB cord in the computer department, I was able to plug the product into my computer and begin using it in minutes. (The printer comes with an installation CD, although users may need to download driver software from the HP website as well.)
Of course, serious computer users will likely need a larger, higher-quality printer for photos, publications, and other higher-end projects. The F340 produces 1,200 dpi in black and white, or 4,800 x 1,200 dpi in color. If higher standards are required, a more advanced printer may be needed. Even so, this little box provides excellent backup.
The printer accepts copy paper, photo paper, labels, transparencies, iron-on media, and more in a variety of margins and trim sizes. The manufacturer claims the F340 can reliably produce 1,000 pages per month.
The flatbed scanner/copier (with 32 MB memory) produces adequate images for basic uses. Again, photography and publication purposes will not find these sufficient.
Incidentally, the technical services information in the box is worth keeping. If installation or software issues arise, the HP technical staff can be informative and helpful by phone. Amazingly, the wait time was a matter of minutes, unlike the hours-long delays of most hardware tech staffs or the estimated call-backs of the TV cable companies.
The HP phone support team patiently and politely walked me through troubleshooting when my computer stopped recognizing this printer unit, after I unplugged my laptop for a business trip. (When I returned, I found I had to uninstall and reinstall the HP340.) It’s a small hassle, but the steps are fairly simple to retrace.
Overall, the HP Deskjet F340 seems to be $80 well spent. For the price of a family night at the movies with popcorn and junior mints, we can print for months!