At $399, the DeskJet 995C is fairly expensive for an inkjet. But keep in mind that this price tag gets you cutting-edge wireless printing options that you won't find in other printers. Once you've installed the print drivers on your Bluetooth-equipped computer, you can print to the DeskJet 995C simply by dragging and dropping a document onto the printer icon in your Bluetooth Connection Manager (for more on this, see our review of the 3Com Wireless Bluetooth PC Card) or by selecting the DeskJet 995C through the print dialog box. If you have the PrintConnect Suite on your notebook or IRprint software on your Palm OS device, you can also print via the printer's infrared port. And with the optional HP JetDirect 175x print server ($199), you can even connect the DeskJet 995C to a network. Those of us with more primitive setups can connect the DeskJet 995C via a USB port and print either through a PC running Windows 98 and above or a Mac running OS 8.6 or later.
A cut above the rest
Like all HP personal printers, the DeskJet 995C has a simple install process, a comprehensive manual on CD-ROM, and drivers that are sophisticated yet intuitively designed and easy to use. We particularly like that the DeskJet 995C's driver lets you calibrate saturation, brightness, and color tone intuitively by moving a slide bar between Muted/Vibrant, Darker/Lighter, and Cooler/Warmer. You can also choose options such as banner or poster printing.
The DeskJet 995C's paper-handling capabilities are also above average. The input tray, located on the bottom front of the printer, holds a standard 150 sheets, and the output tray, nestled just above the input tray, holds a maximum of 50 sheets. But what's really cool is the included duplexer that snaps easily onto the back of the printer and allows automatic two-sided printing. All you do is click the two-sided option in the driver and voilà--you've saved a tree. The printer supports a wide array of paper types, including envelopes, labels, transparencies, greeting cards, and iron-on transfers.
Patience is a virtue
We were less impressed with the DeskJet 995C's speed. When printing text via the USB connection, the inkjet achieved a solidly average 4.2 pages per minute (ppm), while on graphics it managed 1.2ppm; when printing our 8x10-inch photo document, it took 4.3 minutes per page. These speeds were well within the mean of all inkjets we've tested, but let the buyer beware: The printer never gets close to its touted 17ppm for text or 13ppm for color (USB).
Those who are willing to wait, however, will be rewarded by the DeskJet 995C's above-average print quality. When it comes to printing plain text, the DeskJet 995C does well on both plain and HP Premium inkjet paper. The only reason our jury rated it good instead of excellent was because of some slight fuzziness to the type. On graphics, however, our jury found nothing to complain about. On both plain and premium paper, the DeskJet 995C does an excellent job of reproducing colors, photographic elements, and tricky shading and line drawings. The printer also did a fine job printing our 8x10-inch photo test document. While we did notice a slight redness in the skin tones, overall, the colors were accurate, and all elements were smooth, with no visible dithering.
The DeskJet 995C's costs per page were average compared with other printers we've tested. Text pages will cost you roughly 4.3 cents while color pages cost 29 cents. Unfortunately, the DeskJet 995C employs only two ink tanks: one for black and one for cyan, magenta, and yellow. This means you have to replace the whole cartridge whenever one color runs out.
Service and support for the DeskJet 995C is standard. The warranty is one year; free phone support is available for the length of the warranty via a toll number from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. MT, Saturdays. Toll-free, automated support is also available by phone, and the company's Web site provides software updates, printing tips, and manuals.
It's hard to completely overlook the HP DeskJet 995C's high price, especially when you consider how many great inkjets you can get for $200 or less, including the Canon S600. However, because the DeskJet 995C is a solid printer that is among the first products to embrace the emerging Bluetooth wireless technology, we can live with a bit of sticker shock.
|Inkjet printer text speed
Pages per minute (longer bars indicate better performance)
|Inkjet printer color photo speed
Minutes to print a color photograph (shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Inkjet printer quality
|The DeskJet 995C's speeds are merely average, but the printer rewards your patience with good-quality output.