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HP Deskjet D1660 review

Ben Pitt
19 Oct 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
30
inc VAT

Excellent text and colour graphics prints at a rock-bottom price, but it's worth spending more for lower running costs.

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Specifications

thermal inkjet, 20ppm print speed, USB 1.1, 127x432x305mm

Printers don't come much cheaper than this entry-level inkjet from HP.

However, such bargain prices can be a false economy if they're offset by high running costs. The D1660's aren't as eye-watering as some, coming to 8.4p for a combined mono and colour page when using HP's high-yield 300 XL cartridges. However, Canon's entry-level model, the iP2600, works out at 7.5p per page, and HP's pricier Officejet 6000 costs just 4.5p per mixed page.

The D1660's low price is further compromised by the low-capacity ink cartridges that are bundled with the printer. They're meant to last for 200 black and 150 colour pages, but in our tests the black cartridge only managed to print 70 pages of text before it started to streak. Anyone who buys this printer should also order 300 XL black and colour cartridges which will add £41 to the price.

It looks discreet, with its simple black plastic shell, and takes up minimal desk space. The pictorial installation guide is straightforward, and we were up and running in 10 minutes. However, the paper size defaulted to Legal rather than A4, which resulted in some documents being printed at a slightly reduced size or too high up the page. This was easy to fix via the control panel, but it might cause confusion for some. More frustrating was the fact that 6x4in borderless photos failed to print up to the right edge on standard 6x4in paper, leaving a 12mm border and cropping the picture. This printer also requires tabbed photo paper for borderless printing.

As usual for an HP inkjet, the D1660 excelled in the speed and quality of text prints. Its Fast Draft setting fired out pages at 12.7ppm, and text quality was easily good enough for everyday use. Switching to Normal mode produced even better results. Colour business graphics were impressive, with vivid block colours and no sign of banding in graduated fills. Photo quality was disappointing; while colours were well balanced, the darkest areas were washed out and a magenta tint was sometimes visible.

The D1660 stands up reasonably well compared to other inkjet printers at this price. Canon's iP2600 produces better photos and is a little cheaper to run, but the HP is quicker, particularly in its excellent Fast Draft mode. However, the tiny amount of ink that comes with this printer means, in reality, it must compete with printers costing nearer to £70. As such, there seems little point in choosing it over HP's faster, more economical Officejet 6000 or Canon's ageing, but more capable iP4600.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
Maximum native print resolution600x600dpi

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A420ppm
Quoted speed, colour A416ppm

Tested Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.010m 53s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.06m 52s

Print Quality

Number of ink colours4
Number of ink cartridges2
Maximum number of ink colours4
Maximum number of cartridges2

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB 1.1
Optional printer interfacesN/A
Size127x432x305mm
Weight2.3kg
Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption idle1W
Power consumption active8W

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
Standard paper inputs1
Standard paper input capacity80
Maximum paper inputs1
Maximum paper input capacity80
Duplex (code, cost if option)No

Photo Features

PictBridge supportNo
Borderless printing6x4in tabbed
Direct (PC-less) printingNo
Supported memory cardsnone
CD printingNo

General

Printer technologythermal inkjet
Supported operating systemsWindows XP/Vista, Mac OS X 10.4
Other inkjet featuresN/A
Other inkjet optionsN/A

Buying Information

Price£30
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge200 pages
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)150 pages
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s)N/A
Price per colour A4 page5.4p
Price per mono A4 page3.0p
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.comet.co.uk
Detailswww.hp.co.uk

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.010m 53s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.06m 52s