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The OfficeJet 6310's small form factor is a perfect fit for space-challenged homes and small offices. It measures just 18 inches wide, 15.3 inches deep, and 9.3 inches tall, and it weighs a mere 12 pounds. The flatbed scanner is big enough for originals up to A4 in size, but the built-in automatic document feeder lets you scan legal-size originals. The ADF can hold up to 35 pages, great for batch scanning, copying, or faxing.
Despite the office-oriented nature of this printer, it comes with media card slots and a USB port for PictBridge cameras, camera phones, or USB flash drives for PC-free photo printing. You can even transfer pictures between a media card and a flash drive without touching your computer. Accepted media cards include xD, CompactFlash, Memory Stick, and Secure Digital, among others. Some may require an adapter, which HP does not provide. You can also use the USB port with a Bluetooth adapter for printing wireless from a PDA or a cell phone, but you'll have to buy a separate adapter offered by HP.
The OfficeJet 6310's paper-handling options are limited. The input/output tray juts out of the front of the machine's body, with the output tray sitting atop the input tray. The input tray can hold up to 100 sheets of regular paper, and although there's no reason you can't use legal-size paper, the input tray lacks a paper support. Long sheets of paper will hang over the edge of the tray. On the other hand, the output tray has an extension flap and an extra flap that folds out to corral long prints. We'd like to see a second input tray for the occasional one-off print.
The control panel is very similar to other HP control panels we've looked at recently. Each function--scan, copy, fax, photo--has its own set of buttons, including start and menu. The fax section includes an alphanumeric keypad, five one-touch dial buttons, a speed-dial button, a junk-fax blocker, and an auto-answer button. The copy area includes a reduce/enlarge button and another that lets you toggle copy quality (best, normal, fast). Although HP's site says that the reduce/enlarge feature gives you a range of 25 to 400 percent, we found only a range of preset resizings, such as full page, legal to letter, actual size, fit to page, and fill entire page. The photo section has only a print photos button and a proof sheet button (in addition to the menu button), and the scan area, likewise, has only a scan-to button. In addition to all the task areas, the control panel includes a two-line, backlit text LCD and forward, back, OK, and cancel buttons. One oddity that we found is that in order to scroll through the main options in each menu, you have to press the menu button repeatedly, then use the forward and back keys to see the options for each submenu. It's more intuitive to press the menu button once to access the menu and use the forward and back keys to scroll through each menu and submenu. It's not a difficult thing to figure out, but it's not entirely intuitive either.
The OfficeJet 6310 employs a two-ink-tank design: one is a tricolor tank and the other is a black only. For printing six-color photographs, you can swap out the black tank for an additional tricolor photo ink tank. Changing ink tanks is simple: just lift up on the control panel and the printhead will slide into view. Pop out each tank and insert the replacement tanks into the labeled slots. The regular-capacity black tank (5mL) costs $15, while the high-capacity black tank (11mL) costs $20 to replace; the tricolor tank costs $25 and comes in only one size. (The high-capacity tanks are usually a better deal than the regular capacity ones.)
The HP OfficeJet 6310 can be used as a stand-alone printer via USB or a networked printer via Ethernet, and it works with both Macs and PCs. Installing the printer is a straightforward, if time-consuming, task. (HP printers tend to take a long time to set up because they install a huge amount of software.) This model lacks a duplexer, so double-sided printing is a manual operation.
Like most office all-in-ones, the OfficeJet 6310 includes a fax function. The faxes are scanned on the flatbed scanner or via the ADF. The included hard-copy user guide walks you through all the setup variations, depending on what type of line you have, what components (answering machine, for example), and how you want to handle incoming calls and faxes. The fax options are limited for an office-oriented device; while you can fax multipage documents using the ADF, you don't have the option of setting up a delayed fax or doing a fax blast on the fly. You can, using HP's Solution Center, program individual or group speed-dial numbers, but if you want to do a one-off blast, you can't just key in multiple numbers on the printer; you'll have to set up a speed dial group. When receiving faxes, you have the option of holding incoming faxes in memory and printing them later, but you can't password-protect this task, thereby negating any security you might gain from holding the faxes. If you subscribe to caller ID, you can add phone numbers to a junk-fax list stored in the OfficeJet 6310. Incoming faxes from those numbers won't be printed. Finally, you can forward faxes coming into your machine to another fax machine, convenient if you're away from your office for a while. The Brother MFC-440cn offers better fax options, including delayed fax and broadcast fax.
When making copies, you can make up to 100 copies at once, reduce/enlarge the originals, adjust print quality, select paper size and type, and enhance the copy by indicating the type of original (text, photo, mixed). Unlike the aforementioned Canon models and the Brother MFC-440cn, this model doesn't have advanced options, such as 4-on-1 or 2-on-1 copies, poster copies, or image restore. The scan function has a few more options. When initiating a scan from the printer, you can scan to a number of programs, such as Word, PowerPoint, and Paint; scan to e-mail; or scan and view the document in a number of HP programs, such as Photosmart Share or Document Viewer. You can also save the scan as a file, but it always defaults to JPEG format. If you initiate the scan from HP's Solution Center, you have more options, such as changing settings, such as resolution; scanning to a number of different formats (TIFF, PDF, bitmap); and turning on optical character recognition, which will scan your original as an editable document.
When printing photos directly from a media card, you can opt to print one or multiple copies of all your photos. Alternately, you can key in the number of just a single photo, though you'll have to print a photo index first to figure out the photo number, as the OfficeJet 6310 doesn't have a preview LCD. If you're printing a photo index anyway, the other option is to bubble in the photos you want printed, choose your layout (4x6 or multiple photos on a single page--up to six), and scan the index sheet. One drawback to HP's implementation of the index sheet (as opposed to Canon's) is that you can't print multiple copies of a photo via the index sheet. Using the photo print menu, you can designate the type and size of your paper, add a date stamp, and print multiple photos (up to 9) on a single page.
The HP OfficeJet 6310 was a middle-of-the-road performer in CNET Labs' tests. It printed text at a sluggish 2.86 pages per minute, on a par with the Brother MFC-440cn but far behind the Canon MP530 and MP830 office all-in-ones. On the graphics print test, it did better, scoring 2.16ppm, just behind both Canons and ahead of the Brother unit. Photo printing was its forte: it printed a 4x6 photo at a rate of 0.85ppm; only the Canon MP830 was faster. Unfortunately, the OfficeJet really stumbled when it came to the scan and copy speed tests. It scanned grayscale and color documents at 3.86ppm and 1.61ppm, respectively, and made only 1.43 copies per minute.
|Copy speed||Color scan speed||Grayscale scan speed||Photo speed||Text speed|
The OfficeJet 6310 also displayed middling quality. The text, though nicely dark, suffered from rough edges and some inconsistencies in letter formation. We saw similar problems in the color graphics print: fuzzy edges and slightly blurry quality. It did a pretty good job with color reproduction, and color blocks were nicely saturated but showed some graininess we didn't like. It handled grayscale and color gradients pretty well, too. The photo elements showed noticeable graininess, though the color, again, was fairly accurate. The printer ran into its worst problem with white text on a colored background; the text quickly became blurry and unreadable at small type sizes. The 4x6 photo print again showed noticeable graininess and slightly washed-out colors. We'd prefer better quality, even for simple snapshots, but the photo quality should be fine for casual business use for fields such as insurance or real estate.
The OfficeJet 6310 fared a bit better in scans, especially the color scan. Colors were true and details were sharply rendered. In the grayscale scans, it handled patterns well but showed some compression at both ends of the grayscale, especially the dark end. This resulted in lost details in shadow areas. The Canon Pixma MP530 demonstrated better quality across the board.
|Color scan||Grayscale scan||Photo||Graphics on inkjet paper||Text on inkjet paper|
Service and support
HP backs the OfficeJet 6310 All-in-One with an industry-standard one-year warranty. While it's under warranty, you can get free, toll-free phone support 24/7, which is generous. HP's Web site has downloadable drivers, software, and manuals; e-mail tech support; online chat with tech support; FAQs; and a troubleshooting guide.