HP Deskjet 9800d
Until now, you've had to pay a premium for inkjet printers that handle large media sizes, such as tabloid or 13-by-19-inch paper. The $399 HP Deskjet 9800d brings large-format printing to small-size wallets. If you're frustrated by trying to shrink fit large documents onto letter or legal-size paper, this affordable machine makes it easy to create bigger-than-normal prints.
The black-and-silver 9800d needs ample work space, as it measures 22 inches wide by 19 inches deep when set up for letter-size paper and 10 inches deeper when you fill its protruding input tray with medium-format paper. We liked the sturdy construction of the Deskjet 9800d, which comes equipped with heavy paper supports and a steel base panel.
The Deskjet 9800d is a switch-hitter: it ships as a basic wide-format inkjet, but add color- and grayscale-photo ink cartridges for $25 each, and it becomes a digital photo lab. An articulating plunger shepherds postcard-size media into the paper path's grips for small photo prints. Unfortunately, with only two ink cradles for four ink cartridges, you'll have to swap the tank cartridges when you switch between printing different kinds of documents.
You can add the HP Deskjet 9800d to a small network by plugging a print server into the 9800d's USB port. Devices that will do the trick include HP's $299 JetDirect EN3700 print server or the $199 JetDirect EW2400 802.11 b/g wireless print server.
HP estimates that its Deskjet 9800d will print text at 8 pages per minute (ppm), but in CNET's tests, it performed just shy of 3ppm--ultraslow even by inkjet standards. Three other inkjets by the same maker--the HP Business Inkjet 1200d, and the --printed text more than twice as fast., the
The HP 9800d spent 3.75 minutes to print our 8x10-inch test photo on HP's Premium Plus glossy photo paper at default settings. This is slow, but not as achingly plodding as the 11.72 minutes per page taken by the HP Business Inkjet 2600. The HP 9800d's speed fits within the realm of low to midpriced photo printers, such as the $180.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Photo speed||Text speed|
The output quality of the HP Deskjet 9800d gets good marks. Unsurprisingly, text printed on common office paper looked grayish and choppy, but on HP's inkjet paper, text was black and crisp. Color graphics showed fine detail with bright, accurate colors and lifelike lighting, though slight banding was noticeable. High-resolution photos on glossy photo paper disappointed us; we liked the sharp focus and detail, but colors were too cool, and shadowy areas looked murky. You might want to spend a few minutes tweaking the driver's comprehensive color-correction settings, which feature sliders to let you enhance contrast, add a flash, and sharpen or soften an image.