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HP Color Inkjet cp1160 review: HP Color Inkjet cp1160

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The Good Great graphics and photo print quality; lots of connectivity options; automatic duplexer.

The Bad Pricey; a little slow printing text; plain-paper text looks fuzzy; toll phone support.

The Bottom Line The cp1160 is designed for desktop SOHO/business use and offers the connectivity and the flexibility to match, but its capabilities aren't quite in line with its price.

7.0 Overall

Hewlett-Packard's color inkjet cp1160 fills a special niche in office printing. While most workers can share a network laser, those who print confidential documents need to have their own desktop printer. And if just one or two people need to add a splash of color to their documents, the cp1160 is an economical alternative to a color laser or LED printer in a small or home office. The color inkjet cp1160 comes ready for business with a host of connectivity options and an automatic duplexer, and it clearly shines as a graphics printer, with impressive speeds and output quality. But the cp1160's text-printing struggles don't jibe with its high price. Hewlett-Packard's color inkjet cp1160 fills a special niche in office printing. While most workers can share a network laser, those who print confidential documents need to have their own desktop printer. And if just one or two people need to add a splash of color to their documents, the cp1160 is an economical alternative to a color laser or LED printer in a small or home office. The color inkjet cp1160 comes ready for business with a host of connectivity options and an automatic duplexer, and it clearly shines as a graphics printer, with impressive speeds and output quality. But the cp1160's text-printing struggles don't jibe with its high price.

Easy out-of-box experience
It's very easy to get this printer up and running. After removing the packaging materials, snap the automatic duplexer (for two-sided printing) into the rear of the device and install the printer drivers from the CD. The setup program will typically launch automatically, so just follow the onscreen instructions. The cp1160 is compatible with Windows 95 and above and Mac OS 8.6 or higher. A setup poster walks you through basic assembly and setup, and a 28-page reference guide helps answer many of your setup questions (including those about support). However, you'll need to refer to the extensive documentation on the included CD for issues such as networking, IR setup, hardware and software compatibility, and LCD-panel messages.

The $370 cp1160's design departs somewhat from the HP norm. While it features the same silver and black styling of the Deskjet series, it's much boxier in shape. It measures 19.21 inches wide by 7.27 inches high by 7.06 inches deep, with an almost perfectly flat top. To expose the printer's guts and load the inks, a hinged arm swings out from the front of the printer like a barn door. The cp1160 uses a separate print-head/ink-cartridge configuration, so you'll need to install the four print heads first, then snap in the ink cartridges. The printer comes with one integrated color cartridge, even though there are three separate, color print heads. A roomy 150-sheet input tray comes tucked underneath the output tray on the front of the printer, and for $80, you can add an extra 250-sheet paper tray (as pictured above). Also on the front of the printer is a small LCD that shows the printing mode, the job status, the ink levels, and other information.

Keep your options open
The cp1160 also has a lot of connectivity options. It provides a USB interface for direct connection to a host PC, an IR interface for wireless printing, and a parallel-port option (through an extra-cost, plug-in module). If you'd prefer a network connection, the $600 cp1160tn includes an HP Jetdirect 200m Ethernet print server, which plugs into an opening on the rear of the printer. It also adds the aforementioned 250-sheet paper tray, increasing the total paper capacity to 400 pages.

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