HP Officejet 5610 All-in-One review: HP Officejet 5610 All-in-One

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HP Officejet 5610 All-in-One

(Part #: Q7311A) Released: Aug 25, 2005
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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars 1 user review

The Good The HP 5610 is inexpensive and small, and it prints well.

The Bad The HP 5610 uses expensive ink; has poor scan quality; prints slowly; has no PictBridge port or memory-card readers.

The Bottom Line The HP OfficeJet 5610 is affordable and provides most of the home-office basics, but it doesn't stand out from the crowd of better-equipped multifunctions.

6.1 Overall
  • Design 6.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 6.0
  • Service and support 7.0

HP OfficeJet 5610

The HP OfficeJet 5610 multifunction fits the bill for a home office, although you'll have to compromise on performance and convenience. This $150, do-everything device can scan, copy, print photos and other documents, and send and receive faxes. Unfortunately, it prints slowly and delivers mixed output quality. Digital photo enthusiasts should consider a multifunction printer with memory-card slots and better output quality, such as the Canon Pixma MP130 or the pricier Canon MP760. If your home office demands business-class features but doesn't need color, consider a grayscale laser multifunction printer instead, such as the Samsung SCX-4720F . The tan and brown HP OfficeJet 5610 looks serious and fits a bundle of features into its 18-by-16-by-9-inch (WDH) shell. However, this model gives short shrift to some basic features. For instance, the output tray sits on top of the input tray, so you'll have to remove completed prints and lift the tray out before adding or changing paper. With some HP printers, you can tilt up the output tray and lock it into place but not so with the 5610. Also, the scanner lid doesn't detach to make room for scanning or copying large documents. This printer can work with black, ordinary color and photo inks, but because it holds only two of them at a time, you'll have to swap the black and photo ink tanks when you switch between printing photos and text documents. The cartridge slot is narrow and deep, a tough reach for short or fat fingers.

The control panel of the HP OfficeJet 5610 conveniently divides fax and copy functions into separate areas, although the 16-by-2-character LCD lacks backlighting. Still, it's a breeze to use the menus, and each mode has its own button for making selections related to printing, scanning, and copying. At the end of each function's menu, you can lock in the current settings as defaults. A general Preferences menu lets you configure some basics that most multifunction printers do not allow, such as the speed that text scrolls across the LCD and how long the system waits for you to respond to prompts. Next to a numeric keypad are five buttons for one-touch speed-dial numbers and a label space for writing and saving commonly faxed numbers. The copy function has separate buttons for black and color, so the simplest copy requires only one button push. The HP OfficeJet 5610 prints, scans, photocopies, and faxes, but the lack of memory-card slots prevents you from using it as a stand-alone printer. Much of this machine's capabilities rely on HP's included software (for Windows 98 or later and Mac OS 10.2.8 and up). HP's scanning utility can autocorrect color on faded originals and remove scratches and dust specks. You can manually apply settings to lighten or darken the scan and to control the color saturation. The HP Image Zone utility, a combination photo archiver and photo-album designer, offers tools for editing and applying special effects. However, we recommend that you not clutter your hard drive by installing this large app if you already have photo-editing software. Using a free software download, you can scan pages and convert them to text via optical character recognition (OCR). HP also provides software for faxing documents from your computer, though the 5610 can't receive digital faxes and park them on the computer.

Although it won't print photos without your computer, the 5610 can accomplish a number of other stand-alone tasks. You can send faxes immediately or delay them; you can enter a forwarding number for incoming faxes; and the 5610 can do poll faxing--that is, call another fax machine to request a waiting document. The HP OfficeJet 5610 prints reports so that you'll know if your faxes are going astray, and it has caller ID, a junk-fax barrier, and distinctive-ring-detection features.

HP ships the OfficeJet 5610 with a standard-size black-ink cartridge and a tricolor cartridge. The $25 photo ink doesn't come in the box. The standard-size black cartridge costs $18, and HP says that it will last 220 pages, or a steep 8.2 cents per page. A high-capacity black cartridge, good for an estimated 450 pages, costs $20, or a more palatable 4.4 cents per page. Speed

The HP OfficeJet 5610 delivered slow performance on most tasks in our tests. It printed text at a poky 4.08ppm (pages per minute), lagging behind the Lexmark X3350's 7.43ppm. The HP OfficeJet 5610 took some three minutes to print a photo, average for a device in its class. But the 5610 won the race on grayscale scanning, as it completed a black-and-white scan at the rate of 7.59ppm, more than 2 pages ahead of the Lexmark X3350.


(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Color scanning  
Grayscale scanning  
Photo prints  
Text prints  
Lexmark X3350
5.31 
3.98 
0.21 
7.43 
Dell 942
2.99 
4.15 
0.21 
6.90 
HP OfficeJet 5610
3.24 
7.59 
0.26 
4.08 
Brother MFC-420
3.1 
1.95 
0.15 
3.19 
Quality

We gave the HP OfficeJet 5610 high marks for its print quality, as it turned out text that was sharp, clean, black, and legible at small point sizes. Color graphics showed good detail, shapes and geometry were free of distortion, and colors looked accurate and saturated. The glossy photo prints had such fine texture that we couldn't discern the ink dots under magnification. The 5610 produced sharp details in photos, but the colors seemed flat. The big disappointment was the scan quality: color scans were among the worst we've seen recently--they looked gritty and blotchy, with noticeable banding and muted colors. Grayscale scans were better and displayed adequate detail with a good range of grays and no artifacting.


(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Color scanning  
Grayscale scanning  
Photo prints  
Text prints  
Brother MFC-420cn
Fair 
Fair 
Good 
Good 
Dell 942
Fair 
Fair 
Good 
Good 
HP OfficeJet 5610
Poor 
Fair 
Good 
Good 
Lexmark X3350
Poor 
Fair 
Good 
Good 
The HP OfficeJet 5610 includes support that straddles home-office and business-level policies. You get a one-year depot warranty; HP pays shipping both ways for repairs but doesn't provide a temporary replacement unit. Free, toll-free phone support is available 24/7 while the unit is under warranty; postwarranty call pricing depends on the support issue. HP sells supplemental policies for mission-critical support, with a two-year, next-day exchange warranty for $55 and three years for $65. HP ships the 5610 with a well-illustrated setup booklet, and a full-size manual covers copying, scanning, faxing, and troubleshooting. The ImageZone utility on the 5610's CD provides onscreen help for software features, and HP's Web site has downloadable documentation, driver updates, and so on.

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