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Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Photosmart C7280: my new printer

So, I finally found my new printer. I needed a device including fax, scanner, copier, printer, with wireless capabilities. It also neede to be working flawlessly with a Linux system, which explains why I chose an HP as they actively develop linux drivers for their devices. The Photosmart C7280 has it all, and some more too! It also prints double-sided, and it lets you print pics from several memory card formats. And did I say it has an Automatic Document Feeder?

I'm using a wifi network with WPA authentication, and the configuration of the printer to connect was so easy there's not a lot to say: choose the network to connect to from the list displayed on the printer screen, and then enter the passphrase.

I tried the access the IP of printer with a browser, and I got the good surprise to have access to a lot of functionalities: lots of settings, current ink levels and even the possibility to scan through the web interface.

The printer is only supported by very recent versions of hplip, so I had to install it manually. I tried hplip's binary installer, but it kept complaining libcupsys2 was missing, although the last version was well installed (this is on Ubuntu 7.04).
I finally installed it manually in /usr/local and running hp-setup as root configured the printer correctly in cups. The only problem encountered is that it didn't find the needed PPD file. This was corrected after installing Ubuntu's foomatic and hpijs packages.

From the first test, I'm happy of the printer. I've discovered it's possible to scan document to a memory card, without using a computer. This could be quite handy too.

Just one reserve: inks come in a strange, small, format. As the price of the printer is very reasonable (about 300€ only for all these features!), I hope the inks won't be too expensive, or that refills will be available.

I'm also wondering what OS is running in the printer, as a reasonably advance OS is needed to manage all these features, including simple photo manipulations, such as rotation and red eye corrections. It's really impressive how printers have evolved! There's no comparison between this printer and my previous, 9 years old, Officejet 1170C, which cost nearly 3 times at much at the time!

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