In many ways, HP’s new DeskJet 3630 is an absolute bargain. This compact multi-function device offers a printer, scanner and copier, complete with Wi-Fi connectivity and even support for Apple’s AirPrint for iOS devices.
HP DeskJet 3630 review: Price
That low cost will certainly appeal to home users on a budget but, inevitably, HP has had to make a few compromises to shave the price down so low.
HP DeskJet 3630 review: Features and design
The plastic casing is rather flimsy and rattles a bit while printing, but HP’s Printer Assistant software does offer a Quiet Mode that slows the print mechanism down a little and reduces the noise level quite noticeably.
The Printer Assistant also helps to make up for the tiny LCD display, which is just one inch wide and does little more than display the number of pages that have been printed. Fortunately, the Printer Assistant provides a straightforward graphical interface that provides easy access to diagnostic features, Wi-Fi set up, and the scanner controls.
HP DeskJet 3630 review: Performance
Text quality is reasonable for such an inexpensive printer, but does leave room for improvement. The speed of 8.5 pages per minute is perfectly respectable, although text output is a little heavy. It will be fine for printing routine letters or an essay for the kids’ homework, but it lacks the smooth text outlines that you can get from some of the best inkjet printers. If you work from home then you might prefer a more expensive printer for your business documents and letters.
Text printing is expensive too. The standard size black ink cartridge (HP 302) lasts for a mere 190 pages, and at £10.99 from Amazon that works out at almost 6p per page. The XL cartridge (£22 from HP) is only slightly better, bringing the price down to 4.5p per page, which is still well above average for an inkjet printer.
Fortunately, colour printing is a more attractive option all round. The DeskJet’s colour graphics work well for graphs and charts for school reports and presentations, although they do slow the printer down to around 4ppm. Our postcard photo prints turned out to be a pleasant surprise, too. The contrast on our glossy postcard test prints could, perhaps, have been a little crisper, but that’s nit-picking at this price and the DeskJet 3630 can certainly handle the occasional selfie print for your friends.
And, oddly, colour printing turns out to be more affordable too. The standard size tri-colour cartridge – which holds all three cyan, magenta and yellow inks – costs £13 and lasts for about 165 pages. That’s a little under 8p per page, which isn’t bad at all, and if you opt for the HP 302 XL tri-colour cartridge (£18.15 from Amazon) that price drops to about 6.5p, which is actually quite competitive for inkjet printing. The only disadvantage with the tri-colour cartridge is that you have to replace the entire cartridge even if just one of the three inks runs out.
The DeskJet 3630 can also be used with HP’s Instant Ink subscription service, which can save you a bit more money. You can find out more in our HP Instant ink vs Epson Ecotank comparison. However, a low-cost printer such as this is clearly only intended for occasional use at home, so a monthly subscription that assumes a certain level of regular use might not be the best way of managing your printing costs.