Printing quality and speed could be better, but the DeskJet 3630 comes with enough special features - from full wireless connectivity to a unique ink replacement service - to make it a worthy budget MFP. Anyone who can spend more probably should, but entry-level users will find plenty to make up for its shortcomings.
Cheap, supports WiFi and WiFi Direct, eligible for money-saving HP Instant Ink, LCD screen, includes Quiet Mode
Flimsy plastics, mixed printing quality, slow operation, ink cartridges are expensive by themselves
Function: Print, copy, scan
Maximum resolution: 1,200dpi
Paper capacity: 60 sheets
Display: 1.1in LCD
Connectivity: WiFi, WiFi Direct, USB-B
Printing area: 208mmx348mm
Supported operating systems: Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Mac OS X v10.8 Mountain Lion, OS X v10.9 Mavericks, OS X v10.10 Yosemite
Not everyone needs an enormous, auto-duplexing printer/scanner/copier combo like the Dell Colour Cloud Multifunction Printer H825cdw we reviewed late last year. Individuals and even small businesses will often find their requirements can be just as easily be servedby something much less costly, such as the HP DeskJet 3630.
It looks like a fairly unremarkable budget MFP, but the DeskJet 3630 aims to distinguish itself though enhanced wireless functionality and compatibility with the HP Instant Ink service. We'll take a look at both soon enough, but first let's consider how easy this machine is to get up and running.
The DeskJet 3630 is a wireless-focused device, and the drivers and set-up software are easy enough to find and download from the web. After a 125MB download, we were given the choice to also install help software, HP Smart Print, HP Update and HP Photo Creations. It's possible to add some, all or none of these, depending on how clean an installation you want.
Set-up also covers connecting the printer over WiFi. We had problems with our heavily managed office network, and the process involves resetting the printer with a slightly arcane series of button presses, but otherwise it's not too complex. It's even simpler to use WiFi Direct which just requires connecting on a peer-to-peer basis to the DeskJet 3630 itself using a password that it prints off, enabling the easy use of PCs and mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
Ultimately, we had the DeskJet 3630 ready to print in a matter of minutes, which is a suitable success for an entry-level MFP like this.
We weren't expecting premium quality, but the DeskJet 3630's general lack of robustness leaves much to be desired. The whole case is made from cheap, thin plastic and, while it's quite neat how the paper intake and output trays pull or fold outwards from inside the chassis, they feel extremely flimsy as do the scanner tray lid and front panel cover.
On the bright side, it's very reasonably proportioned at 454x310x157.5mm, and it weighs a modest 4.2kg, so it's not a pain to move around. Changing the ink, meanwhile, is a familiar no-brainer of a task: simply select the option in the software, pull down the front cover, pull out the old cartridge and slide in the new one.
Unlike most budget MFPs, the DeskJet 3630 also includes an LCD display. It's small at 1.13in and operates with a series of symbols that can be confusing prior to reading the manual, but otherwise it's a helpful inclusion, providing constant access to information about remaining ink capacity, active print jobs and wireless connection status.
Rounding out the interface are nine physical buttons, including the power button. The others perform basic but key tasks like copying - in colour and greyscale - as well as activating WiFi and WiFi Direct connectivity. There's no scanning button as scans can be initialised from the software, but it would be more convenient to be able to start a job immediately after loading the tray.
As for ports, there's no USB Type A or SD card slots for printing from removable storage, but there is a rear-mounted USB Type B port for good old-fashioned wired connectivity direct from a PC.
Next: Software and performance