Scanning also offers the usual options but includes a compelling extra we've not seen elsewhere. If you've set up the L7680 (or L7780) on a network, you can scan to network folders without having to go through the PC. HP calls this feature "Digital Filing," and it's very useful in a multiple-user environment. The Getting Started guide walks you through the setup, but basically you'll need to have network privileges and know the printer's IP address. Simply set up a shared folder on a PC on the network, then use an approved Web browser to set up the shortcut between the target folder and the networked printer. After all this is done, you can simply press the Digital Filing button on the control panel and choose which folder you want the scan to be filed to. You can even set up a PIN in case you don't want just anyone to scan to the network folders. Aside from scanning to a network folder, you can scan into a number of preset programs including Microsoft Word, your e-mail program, Paint, Photoshop, or a number of bundled HP utilities that let you share and edit your scans. You can also save it to a folder on a PC, to a memory card that you've inserted into the media card reader, or to a storage device you've attached to the USB port.
Surprisingly, you get more options when printing photos using the built-in card readers than you do with some of HP's consumer-focused photo printers, such as the Photosmart C6180. For example, you can print a scannable photo proof sheet that lets you bubble in which photos you want printed, decide how many copies of each, and choose a layout. Once you've made your choices, simply scan the sheet, and the printer will fulfill your print job. We find it odd that an office-oriented printer offers this feature, but not a photo-oriented printer. Aside from that feature, the photo-printing options are roughly the same as those offered by other HP printers with built-in media card readers. You can choose to print all or select individual images. If you have a lot of photos on a card, you can zoom out to a nine-image view that lets you get through the contents of the card quickly. Some features are a bit buried, though; for example, the print-all option can only be accessed once you've chosen a photo. It makes more sense to offer that feature at the top level of the photo menu.
In CNET Labs' tests, the HP Officejet Pro L7680 turned in reasonably fast performances. It printed black text at a rate of 10.22 pages per minute (ppm) and a mixed page of text and color graphics at 5.45ppm. It printed a single 4x6 photo at a rate of 1.44ppm, but improved its print times when printing a batch of 10 photos, to 1.82ppm. If your office or work group needs faster prints, or prints a lot more than 7,500 pages each month, you should consider a multifunction laser printer. For about the same as you'd pay for the L7680, you can get a monochrome laser multifunction such as the Lexmark X342n, which prints text at a rate of 17.13ppm. If you're willing to pay more for color and all the bells and whistles, the Epson AcuLaser CX11NF can produce black text pages at a rate of 18.44ppm.
Using the ADF, it photocopied at a rate of 6.60ppm. Color pages were scanned at a rate of 4.04ppm and grayscale pages at a rate of 3.93ppm. The less-expensive Canon Pixma MP830 was slightly slower with text prints and slightly faster with 4x6 photos, but it blew the L7680 out of the water with its superfast scan speeds.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Copy speed||Color scan speed||Grayscale scan speed||Photo speed||Text speed|
When printed on coated inkjet paper at best quality, text had a near-laser quality; it was sharp, clean, and consistent, and the black was rich. The color-graphics print also displayed excellent print quality, with smooth gradients, pleasing color saturation, and excellent color reproduction in the photo elements. We did see some minor jaggedness in curved black lines, but that was our only complaint. The 4x6 photo prints pleased us, too; they showed sharp details and good color reproduction (even in skin tones). We did see a bit of graininess in color blocks, but the prints are more than sufficient for snapshots.
The Pro L7680 did a better job with color scans than with grayscale scans. The colors were true, and the details were sharp. In the grayscale scan, we saw a lot of compression in the dark end of the grayscale. The result was lost details in the shadows of a black-and-white photo. Overall, the speeds and quality of the L7680's prints are more than sufficient for a small- to medium-size office with standard print needs.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Color scan||Grayscale scan||Photo||Graphics on inkjet paper||Text on inkjet paper|
Service and support
HP backs the Officejet Pro L7680 All-in-One with a standard one-year warranty, which is on par with the competition, though you can also pay to extend the warranty. While under warranty, you can get toll-free phone support 24-7 for free. HP's Web site has downloadable drivers, software, and manuals; e-mail and online chat tech support; FAQs; and a troubleshooting guide.