My current color printer, a PhotoSmart C6280, is as good a printer as I expect from HP. I have quibbles with it, the most serious being its use of six ink cartridges. Black, cyan (light blue), light cyan, magenta (pink), light magenta, and yellow.
HP's promise: you use all the ink in a single color-cartridge, instead throwing away 3-color cartridges that probably still have plenty of ink remaining in two of their reservoirs. In practice, the promise is a broken one.
The Grim Reality
The reality is that multi-cartridge printers are a disaster. Here are ten reasons why:
1. The 02 cartridges used by the C6200-series printers are tiny, holding a mere 10-11ml of ink. Contrast that with my previous HP printer, whose 78XL cartridge held 4x the amount.
2. There is a huge amount of packaging surrounding something that's got 400 times less volume than a gallon of milk.
3. On print jobs even of medium length (say 20-40 pages worth of pictures), the tiny-volume cartridges need constant changing. This means that printing can't be done overnight unattended. I'm printing out photos for Christmas letters, and had to change three cartridges so far. In contrast, I tended to change that old 78 cartridge about once every 9 months.
4. When a cartridge needs changing, the printer LCD helpfully displays which one. Upon opening the printer's lid, the LCD unhelpfully changes the display to report that the lid is open. Distracted, I don't remember which of the 6 need replacing. It's especially difficult to remember whether it was the magenta or light magenta cartridge.
5. After I change a cartridge, the printer prints a 1mm strip of the next waiting page, spits out the sheet...
6. ..and then forgets about the remaining pages. I need to manually restart the print job, often counting the number of completed sheets to determine where to restart.
7. Long print jobs tend to emphasize the same colors, and so I need to buy an extra of one color cartridge. And then another. And another. Frequent trips to the stationary store that I consider unnecessary.
8. Buying them individually costs twice as much as buying all 6 colors in a package. Buying the package gets me 150 free sheets of 4x6 photo paper, but then I have excess cartridges of less-used colors. And stacks and stacks of unused 4x6 photo paper.
9. The capacity of those 02 bundles is not stated by HP, so I wonder if I am getting less ink by paying less money. The box merely reports that the six cartridges contain sufficient ink to print 150 4x6 sheets. (HP's Web site refuses to state ml-capacities for the "technical" specs of its lines of cartridges.)
10. And then there is the dubious claim by HP's software as to just how empty cartridges are. This 6280 printer won't let me override the Change Cartridge Now alert. But I can in my HP 1320 laser printer, and it is able to print another several hundreds pages after issuing the false warning.
Individual color cartridges are a disaster for the environment, for the office budget, for professional productivity, and for user sanity.