Using the HP C309g
We loved using the touch screen on the C309g. It eliminates the use of nested menus and makes using this printer a snap. The main screen displays the main functionality for printing, copying, and scanning. Figure 7 shows that the sub-screens are also very simple. This screen has three main choices: Quick Forms, Ink, and Setup. To the left of the screen you will also see several lighted touch areas that let you navigate the functions. To the right is a question mark, which can be pressed to get instant help.
The “Quick Forms” is a unique function that allows you to print things like calendars, graph paper, and music paper. We found it to be quite useful.
Plain text quality was excellent with letters being clear and crisp. Although the printer took about 30 seconds to wake up and print the first page, successive pages printed quite quickly. It is rated for 10 pages per minute.
Photo printing was a bit disappointing when compared to the HP Office Jet Pro 8000. Although color accuracy seemed adequate, the photos had a slightly faded appearance. As usual, photos looked best when printed on HP photo paper.
Unfortunately, the black ink cartridges in the C309 were a bit problematic. When the smaller black cartridge ran dry, the printer refused to print a text page even though the larger black cartridge was full. A call to HP clarified the situation. If we understood the foreign HP representative correctly, it seems that the larger black cartridge is used only for photos. So you cannot use it to print text unless you tell the printer that your text is a photo, which will work in a pinch, but is not a real solution. We felt that most average users would be happier to have the larger cartridge dedicated to text printing, or better yet, to let the printer use both cartridges for text and photos.
The problem is that if you print a lot of web pages, email, and Word documents, you will find yourself changing the black ink cartridge quite often. According to HP, the standard plain black cartridge will yield 250 pages and the photo black will yield 130 3×5” (8 x 13 cm) prints. A standard cartridge retails for about USD 12 in the USA and XL (higher yield) cartridges are available.
We, however, were able to print less than 200 pages from the cartridge that came with the printer. No documentation indicated that this was a “starter” cartridge. So we must assume that our demo printer did not live up to HP’s claims.
Figure 8 shows the back of the printer with the USB, Ethernet, and power ports. The bump in the back is the duplexer. This automatic duplexer works quite well and can be used to save on paper. It does, however, slow down the printing since the printer pauses briefly to let the ink dry on the first side before printing the second side of the paper.
Copying and scanning on the C309 worked seamlessly. We only had a few minor issues with the scan functionality. On the hardware side, the scanner cover is not hinged, which would provide for scanning from books and thicker documents. On the software side, you must click several times to actually give the file a name other than “scan001,” “scan002,” etc. It would seem that a much needed function like that should be easier to access.
We tried several different connections for this printer including 802.11n, Bluetooth, and Ethernet. All worked seamlessly.
The C309g also supports HP ePrint which allows you to print from anywhere by sending to your printer’s email address. No special software is required, but the printer needs to be connected to the Internet. Our experience with ePrint is that while it usually works, we have encountered some problems that did not have solutions.