HP Deskjet 3820
Like the 2001 Deskjet generation, the 3820 is a general-purpose printer. In other words, it prints well-nigh perfect color or monochrome text and the quality of its photo prints is more than adequate. Some of you may notice that they are printed, but certainly not all of you.
As usual, the draft mode is useless except for checking page layout. It is pretty hard to read text or web pages in this resolution: blacks come out pale gray and the characters are slashed by horizontal blank lines reminiscent of the old dot-matrix printers. This remark is also true of the default Text resolution, which is not much use for regular requirements unless you just need to check a letter you wrote. So you always come back to Text & Photo mode, but even there the prints are not as good as those from Canon and HP. In black and white, the blocks are uneven and the characters lack sharpness. In color, text is poorly outlined, especially in the graphics, and swallowed up by the backgrounds. Our tests found that yellow characters on green were barely legible because the green runs into them so much.
The photo mode is better. The ink droplets are very noticeable, but the colors are good and the outlines clear. Viewed at a normal distance of 30 cm, 10x15 photos are quite satisfactory.
Amazingly, Epson has now had this crazy idea of inventing a new default resolution. This one, like the default one of the C70 and C80, is now called "Text & Photo" and the C82 works in a lower-quality mode called "Text." And boy, does it show: the characters have lost sharpness; they are practically illegible against a color or black background; blacks are gray and blocks uneven. Worse still, monochrome prints in this resolution are not as good as draft mode prints with a Canon or HP. So you do what Epson should have done in the first place: use Text & Photo as default. The results are lovely then, and perfect even in a business context, but half as fast and more expensive. To compensate for this, the characters are much sharper, the colors brighter and deeper. There remains one defect, which is the visibility of the droplets in the blocks, though, happily, you don't need to take much notice.
Regarding photo quality, the default resolution is called "Best Photo" and, there again, we advise you to hike it up a bit in the driver. Go into the advanced settings and select "RPM" for Resolution Performance Manager , i.e., the 5760x1440-dpi mode. Otherwise you will find your photos are hatched with fine light lines. In RPM, like on the Canon S330 and i550 or the HP Deskjet and PhotoSmart with standard cartridges (black + color), the dots can only be seen at less than 30 centimeters away. It has to be said that, as well as the dots, the colors are a bit short on brightness. But the prints are acceptable enough for a photo to pin on the wall or slot into an album. However. they do not compare with those of an i850, Deskjet or PhotoSmart fitted with a photo cartridge.