It's no surprise that the printer industry is making a calculated shift toward all-in-one printers featuring copiers, scanner, and fax machines all built into one device, and the transition is win-win: consumers benefit from lowered prices for more capable machines, and manufacturers can sell us more ink cartridges and paper for all the new features. Even still, a large portion of home users and offices just need a simple device for random prints: airline tickets, maps, documents, and the occasional snapshot photo. The HP Deskjet D2660 single-function inkjet printer doesn't have wireless, and it can't fax, copy, scan, or print perfect quality images, but it's fast and prints decent quality text. For only $50, we can't ask for much more in terms of snazzy features. We recommend the D2660 if you're looking for a simple, headache-free printer for the home or office.
Design and features
The Deskjet D2660 departs from HP's standard gray overtones, opting instead for a black finish that you won't have a problem fitting into your desk space, thanks to its tiny footprint. With few bells and whistles inside the machine, HP managed to whittle the footprint down to 17.83 inches long, 8.15 inches wide, and 6.77 inches deep. In addition, the whole printer only weighs 6 pounds, which makes it easy to move around a room. Like the HP Officejet 6000, another simple inkjet printer, the D2660 doesn't have an LCD screen to update you on the status of a job. Instead, you get three separate power, paper feed, and cancel buttons all available to the left of the paper trays. The back of the printer houses the USB 2.0 connection port as well as a small plug for power.
A dual 80-sheet paper input and output tray on the bottom of the D2660 is responsible for corralling all outbound prints, and you can also fold it up out of the way while the printer is dormant. We especially appreciate HP's innovative corral arm that actually extends from the side of the fold-up tray to reduce the amount of bulky plastic protruding from the housing. Inside the cartridge bay, you'll see two separate ink tank cartridges: one for standard black ink and another for HP's tri-color tank. At the $50 price point, we didn't expect separate cartridge bays for each color, but you can also save money by purchasing HP's XL cartridge capacities available for both black and tri-color on the HP Web site. Using HP's XL page yield and cartridge costs, we calculate a page using black ink alone to cost 5.8 cents and a page of color to cost 9.3 cents. Both prices are higher than the average printer, which we suspect is a trade-off for the low initial retail cost. That said, if you do plan on printing a large volume on a single function, we recommend the HP Officejet 6000. It's double the price of the D2660, but the cheaper cost per page (2.7 cents per black, 2.1 cents per color) will definitely save you more money over time.
The Deskjet D2660 offers snappy output speeds compared with several other single function inkjets and one multifunction printer. While it couldn't quite surpass the text, photo, or graphics speeds of the pricier HP Officejet 6000 or the Lexmark Z2420, it did jump ahead of the older, bulkier Canon Pixma iP2600 even beat out the favorably reviewed Canon Pixma MX330 by a slight margin in text and color graphics speeds. Overall, the differences in the chart below are less than one or two pages per minute apart, so unless you regularly print large documents, you won't notice a big difference in output speed.
|Photo speed (One sheet)||Color graphics speed (PPM)||Text speed (PPM)|
We aren't surprised to see that the D2660's dual-cartridge ink bay can't really handle more than simple text and light graphics documents. Black-and-white text output looks fairly pleasing, but the imperfections are obvious to the naked eye: thin lines result in slight bleeding, and blurred characters and cloudy white speckles tarnish the thicker letters, but for all the criticism we can provide, most people tend to care less about text quality as long as it's at least decent.
We don't recommend you print too many full-color photos on the D2660. The colors in our sample 3-inch-by-5-inch photos are all grossly undersaturated at a low contrast, with choppy gradients and grainy lines running throughout the image. In addition, the skin in the portrait samples falls flat with overly cold, pink tones. If you're looking to print a lot of photos from your digital camera, look elsewhere for a more true-to-image solution.
Service and support
While most printers come with a one-year warranty, HP only gives you 90 days due to the lower price tag. In return, HP continues to offer the full year of standard tech support by phone (8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. weekdays and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday) as well as access to the online learning center, FAQ, and a comprehensive support forum on the HP Web site.
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