Aimed at the SOHO (small office / home office) market, the $86 HP OfficeJet 4630 provides dedicated fax and numeric keypad buttons, along with solid print speeds and acceptable photo quality. However, this affordable all-in-one printer cuts a few key corners and faces stiff competition from devices that cost less and offer more features.
Editors Note 8/14/18: Security researchers have discovered a flaw in fax-enabled all-in-one printers (including this model) that can let an attacker take over your printer and other connected devices with a malicious fax. HP has issued a patch (opens in new tab) to protect against this flaw, so please visit HP’s support page for this printer and update your firmware.
With a classy rectangular, raven-black chassis that's emblazoned with the HP logo and accented by a translucent document feeder on top, the OfficeJet 4630 should look great on any desk. More important than its aesthetics are its high-capacity features. The document feeder can send a pile of up to 35 pages through for scanning or copying, while the input tray holds up to 100 pages of blank paper — more than many competitors in this price range.
The HP OfficeJet 4630 has a paper input tray that slides out like a drawer but can't be removed. Some may find this design choice stifling because they can't pull the tray out, but we appreciate how securely it holds the paper in place.
If you want an attractive interface, you may be disappointed. While none of the printers we've seen in the $100-and-below price range has a touch screen, instead requiring you to navigate with buttons, the OfficeJet 4630 is the only one we've tested that has a monochrome display. Competitors with lower prices, such as the $80 Canon Pixma MG5620, have full-color screens.
At 17.6 x 13.1 x 7.5 inches and 13.7 pounds, the OfficeJet is about on a par with the Canon Pixma MG5620 (18.0 x 14.6 x 5.9 and 13.6 pounds) but heavier than the Epson XP-410 (15.4 x 11.8 x 11 inches, 9 pounds).
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HP's package designers should be commended for creating a protective plastic bag for its printers with reinforced handles to make it easier to get the printer out of the box. We are constantly trying to carefully lift printers from packaging without ripping their fragile embryonic bags, so the pull handles were a welcome surprise.
It took just 3 minutes and 32 seconds to go from hitting the power button for the first time to printing, though the OfficeJet 4630 has an added step of placing the test page on the scanner bed to test the head alignment — something most other printers in this price range do not require.
The OfficeJet 4630's interface felt sluggish; in fact, it's the slowest we've tested. It felt like there was a lag between when I pressed the buttons on the control pad and when the changes appeared on the screen. Otherwise, it provided a fairly comprehensive list of options, including the ability to set up Direct Wi-Fi, which allows you to connect a device to your printer without going through a router.
The HP OfficeJet 4630 comes with the print and scan drivers and the HP Photo Creations application , which allows users to design things like photo books, calendars, greeting cards and more.
Print Speed Performance Tests
The HP OfficeJet 4630 provided some of the slowest color print speeds of any all-in-one we've tested. It finished our five-page mixed text and graphics print test in 5 minutes and 33 seconds, a full 50 seconds slower than the category average and more than 2 minutes behind the Brother MFC-J470DW.
HP's all-in-one took a glacial 8 minutes and 48 seconds to output a full-page color landscape photo — about twice as long as the category average (4:25) and nearly 7 minutes slower than the Canon Pixma MG5620 (1:57).
However, if you're just outputting gray-scale documents, the OfficeJet 4630 won't make you wait very long. It printed a single page of black text at the Normal setting in 12 seconds — 1 second faster than the category average, on a par with the Brother MFC-J470DW and well ahead of the Canon Pixma MG5620 and Epson Workforce WF-2540.
Copy and Scan Performance Tests
The OfficeJet 4630 provided weak scan and copy performance on most of our tests. But no matter how long it takes to complete a job, the device's 35-page document feeder allows you to shove in a wad of pages and walk away for an extended coffee break.
The OfficeJet 4630 copied a black-and-white page in a modest 24 seconds, 2 seconds slower than the category average and two to three times longer than competitors like the Canon Pixma MG5620 (7 seconds) and Epson XP-410 (13 seconds).
However, when we ran our color copy test, the OfficeJet 4630 shined, finishing in 42 seconds, more than 30 seconds faster than the category average (1:18). Competitors like the Canon Pixma MG5620 and the Brother JFC-J470DW were far slower.
Unfortunately, HP's all-in-one finished our black-and-white scanning test in 1:07, which is 27 seconds slower than the category average. The Canon Pixma MG5620 (22 seconds) and Brother MFC-J470 (25 seconds) were more than twice as fast.
The OfficeJet 4630 completed our color scanning test in 1:05, 12 seconds slower than the category average. The Brother MFC-J470DW was a full 25 seconds faster, but Epson's XP-410 and WF2540 were both significantly slower.
The HP OfficeJet 4630 produces sharp, detailed output on photo paper. However, plain-paper color prints looked completely washed out and undersaturated. A mixed text and graphics page that contained a photo of two women seated on a couch looked extremely undersaturated, like a TV with poor viewing angles and the sun shining on it. By comparison, the same page printed on the Canon Pixma MG5620 with plain paper had vibrant color.
Under the hood, HP falls short by not providing a dedicated photo black cartridge that provides better dark areas, which you do find on the less-expensive Canon Pixma MG5620. The company also cut corners by using just two cartridges: a single black cartridge for text and a tri-color cartridge for graphics. Most competitors provide separate slots for cyan, magenta and yellow so users can replace only what's depleted.
If you use HP's photo paper with the OfficeJet 4630, you will get reasonably good results. When we printed a landscape photo of a flower stand in front of a farm, the image was a little oversaturated , particularly the green of the flower stand, but more accurate than the same photo printed on the Epson XP-410. The detail was excellent, albeit a tad soft, with good sharpness in the flowers and in the grain of the cabinet. However, some grain was lost in the fence railings, mostly because of the lack of a true rich black to help define the contrast there. We could easily distinguish blades of grass in the background, but not as well as on the output from the Canon Pixma MG5620.
A portrait of a boy on a bicycle from the OfficeJet 4630 offered plenty of detail, with sharpness in the child's eyes, his helmet strap and the folds in his shirt. HP's printer did a much better job of maintaining a natural tone on the face and skin than competitors like the Brother MFC-J470DW. However, when compared against the same picture printed on the Pixma MG5620, the red bicycle trailer seat looked oversaturated and not quite as sharp.
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Ink Cost and Yield
Because HP uses a tricolor cartridge rather than dedicated units for cyan, yellow and magenta, the OfficeJet 4630 will require more frequent and expensive ink changes than competitors. Since photographs never have an evenly distributed range of colors, one color is going to run out before the others and require you to replace the entire $17 cartridge.
The HP OfficeJet 4630 has mediocre print yields of 190 pages of black and 165 pages of color, with standard ink cartridges costing around $14 for the black and $17 for the color. That's a rate of 7 cents per page for black-and-white documents and 10 cents per page for color. That's much higher than the Canon Pixma MG-5620, which costs less than a penny per gray-scale print and 8 cents for color.
With high-capacity ink cartridges, the printer has a claimed yield of 480 pages of black and 330 pages of color. At present, the high-yield cartridges sell for around $29 and $38, respectively, which comes out to a rate of 6 cents per page for black and 12 cents per page for color. The Canon MG5620's extended cartridges not only cost much less per page ($0.4 cents, 8 cents, respectively), but also yield a lot more pages — 5,500 black-and-white and 700 color images. If you plan to print in high volume, you'll probably want to look elsewhere.
The HP OfficeJet 4630 offers solid print times and above-average photo quality, but also suffers from poor plain-paper color output, slow scan times and a high cost per page. Business users looking for a sub-$100 printer can get better quality and more affordable prints from the Canon Pixma MG5620. However, if you plan to do a lot of scans, copies or faxes, the HP OfficeJet's document feeder, dedicated fax buttons and business-friendly design make it worth considering.