Good things may come in small packages, but for a large-format printer, size definitely matters. HP's brawny DeskJet 1220C can handle a broad range of print sizes, from a 4-by-6-inch postcard to a 13-by-50-inch banner, but makes its biggest impression by producing first-rate photographic prints. Good things may come in small packages, but for a large-format printer, size definitely matters. HP's brawny DeskJet 1220C can handle a broad range of print sizes, from a 4-by-6-inch postcard to a 13-by-50-inch banner, but makes its biggest impression by producing first-rate photographic prints.
Sleek and Fast
The smoothly rounded curves and smoky, purple-gray plastic on the $499 DeskJet 1220C may remind you of a boom box, but unlike a radio, it operates almost noiselessly. The DeskJet is easy to set up and use, and HP packs it with useful features, such as a duplexer for double-sided printing and a Stop Print command that immediately cancels a print job. If you want to use thicker paper, the HP includes an alternate, straight paper path that can accommodate paper weights up to 67 pounds.
The 1220C's print speed is sure to please, too. When printing text, the HP churns out 3.9 pages per minute, making it more than 2.5 times as fast as the Epson Stylus Photo 1200, another large-format printer.
Unfortunately, text isn't this printer's forte. The HP's text output on plain paper was rated only fair by CNET Labs' printer jury and good (but not excellent) on coated ink jet paper. As a photo printer, however, the HP's quality improved, especially in the case of graphics on plain paper, which earned a rating of excellent. Surprisingly, the rating dropped to good again for the graphics on coated paper, due to rough color gradients and loss of detail.
Try Photo Paper
When you print photos, pay extra for HP's Glossy Premium Plus photo paper (90 cents per sheet). You will be rewarded with the best photos you can get without a professional lab. At its highest resolution (2,400 by 1,200 dots per inch), the HP's pinpoint color accuracy, fully saturated colors, and detailed shading made the output the best we've seen from any photo-quality ink jet. But sticking to plain paper will still yield high quality and will cost you only about 3.8 cents per black-and-white page and 19 cents for color.
The HP's broad skill set, speed, and precision make it a useful addition to any office that wants to make a statement in print. Photographers, small-business professionals, and home users will all appreciate the advantage of the 1220C's ability to print excellent photos on any size of media in its range.