HP Deskjet 5850 review: HP Deskjet 5850

The Deskjet 5850, for all its networking convenience, is a still middling printer, both in terms of print speed and print quality. In CNET Labs' tests, the 5850 produced 1.37 pages of plain-paper text per minute (ppm). While this is faster than the comparably priced Canon i900D's 1.6ppm speed, print speed for photos was not as good. The 5850 took 3.71 minutes to create an 8x10 photograph, 1 minute slower than the i900D's 2.71 minutes.

The 5850's text quality on plain paper was also only fair, showing up dark gray, rather than black and well saturated. The letters, however, showed clean, sharp edges. Text on coated inkjet paper, on the other hand, was overly saturated; letters were plenty black, but they bled a bit around the edges. Color graphics documents printed by the 5850 on plain paper appeared pale and wan, much like the text did. On coated paper, color documents looked darker, but some blacks contained the color green. Our test photo also showed a small amount of horizontal banding.

On a positive note, the 5850 excelled at printing photographs on photo paper. Color reproduction was perfectly balanced, with beautifully executed details and a nice, clear tone overall.

Inkjet printer text speed  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Canon i900D
HP Deskjet 5850
Note: Pages per minute.

Inkjet color-photo speed test  (Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Canon i900D
HP Deskjet 5850
Note: Minutes per page.

The HP Deskjet 5850 is covered by an industry-standard, one-year, limited hardware warranty. Free technical phone support is available toll-free from HP for one year, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday though Friday, MT.

HP's Web site provides copious technical assistance, including e-mail support, software and driver downloads, FAQs, links to online technicians via a chat application, and a support page dedicated exclusively to the 5850.

HP also includes a complete user guide on disc with the Deskjet 5850. The user guide contains an excellent getting-started section and a 16-item troubleshooting guide.

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