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HP Officejet 6600 review

Simon Handby
18 Jan 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
90
inc VAT

A reasonable MFP with exceptionally low running costs, but it's overpriced and hamstrung by its awful driver interfaces

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HP's Officejet 6600 is aimed at light home office use. The MFP is topped with a serious-looking 35-page ADF, while the single paper input tray has a useful 250-sheet capacity. There's also a fax modem, but neither the ADF nor the printer support duplex (double-sided) operation. At this price, the latter omission is surprising, and immediately puts this MFP at a disadvantage against some of the competition.

HP Officejet 6600

Office devices aren't always that attractive, but a few subtle curves help make the 6600 quite likeable. At the front is a touchscreen set into a large control panel that pivots through a range of angles for comfortable viewing.

While it's responsive and the menu system is clear, the screen's top surface appears quite flexible, denting around the finger when tapped. We couldn't get this device to join our network using a passkey, even though we triple-checked all the settings. In the end we had to enable push-button WPS security on our router.

When it comes to ink pricing, HP seems to have picked up where Kodak - sadly departed from the inkjet market - left off, with flashes on this printer's box promising the lowest in-class print costs. Our maths suggests it's no idle claim; the Officejet 6600 supports the XL versions of HPs 932 black and 933 colour cartridges, and with these large-capacity cartridges its running costs are a class-leading 4.1p per page of mixed text and graphics. The black component of this is just 1.2p per page, and those printing mostly text documents are likely to pay even less; great-value printing all round.

HP Officejet 6600

As you'd expect from an office-oriented device, on plain paper the Officejet 6600 performs very well, delivering strong colour documents and particularly impressive black text. It's extremely rapid, throwing out 14 pages of high-quality text a minute and almost 18 with the quality dropped to Draft. Colour prints are quick, too, with complex graphics arriving at 4ppm and each 6x4in photo taking just over a minute. We're not keen on HP's over-simplified print driver, however, using which you have to select options such as borderless printing from a drop-down box in an unfriendly list. It doesn't even offer any guidance for manual duplex printing.

Basic print driver

HP's print driver interface is too stark for our tastes...

Print borderless

...you need to wade through the advanced options to select borderless prints

Worse, HP supplies this MFP with one of the least useful TWAIN scanning interfaces we've encountered. On the surface it looks simple, offering four preset modes or the ability to create custom ones, but in practice it's very limiting. You can choose only paper size, colour mode and from preset resolutions that don't include 150dpi, and the Advanced Settings page offers the same three controls, with the addition of brightness and contrast sliders that are near-useless as there's no preview to show what effect they will have.

Advanced Scan

The advanced scan options add only brightness and contrast sliders, which are near-useless without a preview

No auto crop or levels

The preview window has no options for sharpness or descreening, and no automatic level adjustment or cropping

The preview screen is barely more useful, with no autocrop or exposure options. Not only does it forget the preview image between TWAIN sessions, but also the last crop and orientation used; anyone trying to scan a stack of photos is likely to be incandescent after just a handful. It wouldn't be so bad if it was possible to switch off the image sharpening; it's of dubious benefit on document scans, but it leaves high-resolution photos looking artificial.

HP's poor driver interfaces take the shine off what would otherwise be a strong MFP, but even so it's a fair choice if you plan to print in moderate volumes on plain paper. Remember, however, that if you want to print on both sides of each page you'll have to do it manually.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
Maximum native print resolution4,800x1,200dpi
Max optical resolution1,200x1,200dpi
Output bit depth24-bit

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.06m 29s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.09m 34s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB, 802.11b/g/n wireless
Optional printer interfacesnone
Size240x464x448mm
Weight7.8kg
Duty cycle12,000 pages max

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
Maximum paper weight300gsm
Standard paper inputs1
Standard paper input capacity250
Maximum paper inputs1
Maximum paper input capacity250
Duplex (code, cost if option)No

General

Printer technologythermal inkjet
Supported operating systemsWindows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.5 or later
Other inkjet features6.7cm colour touchscreen
Other inkjet optionsUG189E upgrade to three-year care pack with product exchange, UG064E upgrade to three-year care pack with next-day product exchange

Buying Information

Price£90
Consumable parts and prices£8 each
Price per colour A4 page3.0p
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s)N/A
WarrantyOne year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.printerland.co.uk
Detailswww.hp.co.uk

Print Quality

Number of ink colours4
Number of ink cartridges4
Maximum number of ink colours4
Maximum number of cartridges4

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview0s
A4 document at 150dpiFail
A4 document at 300dpi1m 7s
6x4in photo at 600dpi52s
6x4in photo at 1200dpi2m 49s

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.015s
Time for single A4 colour copy 1.024s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.03m 50s

Photo Features

PictBridge supportNo
Borderless printingA4
Direct (PC-less) printingNo
Supported memory cardsnone
CD printingNo

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies99
Max mono copy resolution600x600dpi
Max colour copy resolution600x600dpi

Fax Features

Max mono fax resolution200x100dpi