I have an HP Photosmart C4680 printer that was given to me by a third party. It is missing the 2 print cartridges. Is there a way I can determine if the printer actually works before I go out and buy 2 printer cartridges?
You could buy a couple of cheap third party cartridges to try it but why bother? The price of a new printer with ink cartidges is often the same or less than you'll pay for a couple of replacement cartridges.
It may seem cheaper to buy a new printer, but the ink that comes with the printer is usuall a "starter" pack. These "starter" packs usually contain 1/4 of the ink that is included in the "XL" packs.
@bastrop52, unforutnately, if the cartidges are missing, the printer wont allow you to print. If they were in the printer, even if they are empty, you could at least test to make sure the printer responds to the OS and attempts to print the page.
What does the third-party say? Does he/she know if it works?
With HP Printers the print-head is built into the ink cartridge. So, your biggest concern is the mechanics of the rest of the printer. Do the rollers still pull in the paper, etc, etc... (that isn't a question) Three people who had bought them through Amazon (their comments are at the bottom of that page) said the printer was cheap to purchase, but had a veracious appetite for ink, and an unreliable paper-feed system. There is another review at PC Mag.
If you need a printer, I would suggest getting a new one, put your money into something certain and avoiding HP's and other like printers. You would get more value for money if you had a printer were the print-head isn't built into the cartridge. For example, for donkey's years I've only ever had Epson Printers. I like to use refillable cartridges and buy bottles of ink on ebay for a few £'s. But I do a lot of printing.
Buy some empty used cartridges from Ebay, see if the printer comes to life, and if so, refill the carts.
Empties can be had for as little as $5.00 delivered.
If the printer does not work, sell off the parts on ebay to recoup your investment.