HP 7130 all-in-one
Editor's note: On June 27, 2003, this review was updated to reflect that HP does, in fact, offer toll-free technical support within the United States.
The full-featured HP OfficeJet 7130 all-in-one offers photo printing, double-sided printing, an automatic document feeder (ADF), a fax, a scanner, a copier, and inputs for all of the current breeds of photo memory cards on the market today. At first blush, the machine's large footprint may seem overbearing--until you take into account just how much space you're saving by putting all of your technological eggs into one basket. Unfortunately, the 7130 isn't a true money saver. Considering its $500 list price and the fact that its average cost per page runs higher than that of its competitors, we expected top-notch quality. We found that the 7130 has merely decent print quality and slow print speed compared to others in its price range; it's good enough for home use but subpar for an office environment. Setting up the various features of the HP OfficeJet 7130 all-in-one can be a little intimidating. Fortunately, the instructions that come with the 7130--particularly the step-by-step movies located on the installation CD--are easy to follow. The entire setup took us about 45 minutesÂ–not bad, considering that we also installed the ADF accessory and the add-on for two-sided printing, then set up the fax machine. We were impressed with the fax wizard on our PC, though it didn't come up on cue (HP acknowledged this problem in a call to its tech support). After we rebooted the PC, the fax wizard materialized.
The boxlike design of the HP OfficeJet 7130 all-in-one can be imposing. Requiring a total footprint of 17 by 20 by 13 inches, the 7130 takes more desk space than most inkjets but less space overall than a separate fax, scanner, copier, and printer would require. Everything you need sits on the top or the front of the unit, with the exception of the USB, network, and telephone ports, which you shouldn't need to touch after installation. The ADF sits atop the unit itself, above the flip-top cover of the flatbed scanner. Sadly, this cover doesn't come off, making scanning or copying oversized books or documents unwieldy, if not impossible.
|The easy-to-read LED display sits dead center, surrounded by various buttons and keypads.|
|Scanning or copying oversized books or documents can be unwieldy, if not impossible.|
The 7130's main control panel resides on the beveled front of the unit. The easy-to-read LED display sits dead center, surrounded by a numeric keypad; the Menu, Enter, Cancel, Tray Select buttons; and the contrast controls. On the left side sit fax-function buttons, while buttons for copying and scanning and the On/Off switch are on the right. The arrangement is clear and easy to use, but you can also control these functions from your PC using the supplied software rather than the control panel.
The paper tray lives on the bottom of the unit, and the 7130 spits out paper to the top of the paper tray. As is the case with many printers, we found that paper often ends up overshooting the intended output tray.
On the front, to the left of center, the machine features built-in slots for digital-camera memory cards. To the right, a large handle props the unit open so that you can replace ink cartridges or fix a paper jam.
The HP OfficeJet 7130 excels in versatility. For example, most multifunctions don't offer the luxury of both an ADF and duplex, or two-sided, printing. Plus, the 7130 can read memory cards such as CompactFlash, SmartMedia, and Memory Stick straight from digital cameras.
The 7130 can also connect to two PCs at once, using both the USB and the parallel ports on the printer. While Macintosh computers are supported, you cannot have the printer connected to both a PC and Mac at the same time. Alternatively, you can network the machine through a separate print server, though this machine won't run in a Novell environment.
|Up to two PCs can share the HP OfficeJet 7130 without requiring a separately purchased printer server.|
|As with most modern inkjets, the 7130 requires two ink cartridges: one for monochrome printing and one for color.|
The fax machine can handle color, delayed fax sending, and phone-book fax broadcasting (for sending a lot of faxes quickly). It can store up to 100 received faxes in memory, with a maximum image resolution of 300x300dpi. The scanner can accept input from the front panel or interface with HP photo and imaging software.
Previously, we have found HP's accompanying driver software to be poor, but we see a marked improvement with this printer. For example, the HP Director, a wizard that pops up on your PC whenever you begin a job, now steps you through the process of scanning an image, running the optical character reader (OCR), sending or receiving a fax, or sending the HP OfficeJet 7130's output to a particular software package, such as Photoshop or Word. The included ReadIris OCR software has been improved and is more accurate, making it unnecessary to buy a third-party OCR package. In addition, HP bundles an image editor, a photo album, and a share-to-Web app, as well as a utility for high-quality 48-bit scans.
Feature laden as it is, the HP OfficeJet 7130 all-in-one didn't perform well in CNET Labs' tests. Our jury rated its image quality between fair and good--acceptable, but not stunning, results. Users may discover that a little tweaking with the supplied software will make up for any deficiencies.
Also, the 7130Ã‚'s laboratory print speeds were slow compared to those of other mutlifunction printers. In our tests, text clocked 4.2 pages per minute and color photos lagged at 4.5 minutes per page. This pace suffices for home situations, but impatient small-business owners should consider alternatives.
Scan speeds, on the other hand, fared better and were never far from those of other scanners. Grayscale scans ran a bit slowly, while plain copy scanned quickly. Color scans ran right on target.
As with most modern inkjets, the 7130 requires two ink cartridges: one for monochrome printing, which runs about $22, and a tricolor cartridge, which retails for about $30. This brings the raw cost of printing to 4.9 cents per black page and 26 cents for color--not the lowest weÃ‚'ve seen, not by a long shot.
We appreciated the quietness of the 7130, particularly while in idle mode.
Printer speed (Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Inkjet printer quality|
The HP OfficeJet 7130 all-in-one comes with the standard HP one-year warranty--about average for what you get from printer vendors these days. HP's online printer support is easy to navigate and offers the usual FAQs, downloadable manuals, driver and software updates, and problem-solving wizards. An e-mail notification service will also inform you of any software updates.
Fortunately, HP provides toll-free, 24/7 phone support within the United States. After spending only five minutes climbing through the voicemail menus and on-hold routines, we connected with an informed, courteous tech-support representative who dealt with our support issues in a competent and unhurried manner.