HP Officejet v40

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  • Editors' rating
    7.5 Very good

Pros

  • Compact, well-featured and inexpensive.

Cons

  • Build quality could be more robust.

Hewlett-Packard's Officejet v40 is an affordable and compact multifunction printer aimed at small businesses and teleworkers. The v40 is based around a 600dpi colour inkjet engine and 600dpi, 36-bit colour scanner. Although it can work in standalone mode, the Officejet v40 also a USB device and is easiest to configure and use when connected to a PC.

The Officejet v40 can print, scan, fax and copy monochrome and colour A4 documents. At 45.2cm by 32.8cm by 20.8cm, it's no larger than a standalone fax machine or printer, and should be able to fit into all but the tiniest office spaces. The control panel features a two-line LCD panel, a numeric keypad for fax numbers and other function buttons. There are separate mono and colour start buttons, so when you're copying or faxing you can choose which mode you want without delving into options.

The Officejet v40 prints at up to 8ppm in monochrome and 7ppm in colour. The quality of the 600dpi print engine is well above that needed for a fax machine, producing good-quality images -- especially when used with glossy photo paper where an enhanced 2,400 by 1,200 resolution can be achieved. The engine uses separate black and three-colour ink cartridges, black replacements costing £23.42 (inc. VAT) and colour replacements costing £27.76 (inc. VAT). The paper input tray holds up to 150 sheets. There's no separate manual feed slot, though, so when you want to print an envelope you'll have to remove all the paper in the tray and adjust the guides.

The Officejet v40's scanner has a 20-page document feeder, which should be sufficient for most faxes. In addition to image capture and faxing, you can use the scanner to copy existing paper documents. You can resize your copies between 50 and 200 per cent of the original.

By contrast to its impressive functionality, the build quality of the Officejet v40 is slightly disappointing. The paper tray has a decidedly flimsy feel, and doesn't inspire confidence that paper will be correctly aligned. The fax document feeder is poorly held in place, and the fax output tray -- for want of a better word -- is just a single, easily detached wire held in place by spring tension. Fortunately, this folds over the unit when not in use, which reduces the chances of you accidentally removing it. Also, given that USB is the only way of connecting the v40 to a PC, it's irritating that a USB cable isn't supplied.

The Officejet v40 comes with Director, a launcher application that provides access to all the device's functions. You can even set the v40 to scan or copy from here, duplicating the functions of the front panel buttons. The advantage of using the PC-based controls is that navigation through the various options is easier. There's also a Toolbox application that allows you to see estimated ink levels in the cartridges.

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The HP Image Editor is used to view scans and, if you're performing OCR on them, highlight the areas of text you require. The OCR functionality is quite limited, with no word processor integration or support for complex page formats. However, since the scanner is a TWAIN-compliant device, you can use it with a more sophisticated third-party OCR package.

For more conventional operations, the v40 is installed as a printer, and a printer device for the fax machine. These have their own options, of course, allowing you to have different quality settings for prints and faxes.

Reservations about build quality aside, HP's Officejet v40 is both well specified and well priced at £169.36 (ex. VAT, or £199 inc. VAT). Obviously better printing and scanning functions are available on dedicated devices, but this is offset by the v40's compactness. Overall, it's a great product for the small businesses and teleworkers.

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