* Prices may differ from that shown
With a bewildering array of printers in the shops I bought the HP 5940 simply on the basis of a well-known name and a reasonable price. Of course what the actual running costs of a printer are is almost impossible to work out - but I've used cheaper generic ink cartridges when I can get them rather than the expensive HP branded ones, and never had problems with them.
Setup is simplicity itself - plug in the USB and up-to-date Windows PCs should find the drivers straight away. I never use the HP installation CD - it seems designed to pop up marketing messages rather than add anything useful.
Print quality is very good, for everyday purposes I use fast draft with a huge increase in speed and no noticeable deterioration in printing.
Reliability is mostly good but paper feeding is a weak point - it may be worse with cheaper paper but feeding several sheets at a time and paper jams happen much too often. I don't want to buy premium grade paper for everyday use (assuming that solves the problem) and I can't store it in humidity-free conditions, a home printer shouldn't need that.
On the same point it claims to be photo-capable, but I've never managed to get it to feed the thicker special photographic paper successfully.
All in all a reasonable printer. but with weak points.
HP Deskjet 5940 Inkjet Printer
I bought this printer safe in the knowledge that Hewlett-Packard produce quality printers - initially I was very happy with my purchase but after a few months became rather disappointed. For less than £60 you can have a printer that is capable of printing good quality edge to edge photos and can print up to 30 pages of text a minute (If it decides it wants to)!
This printer was immensely easy to install. You didn't have to print a test page and check alignment then tell it what to do... It just got on with it. Plug it in, stick in the CD and voila! Printer! Annoyingly it didn't come with a usb lead so you have to buy one separately, but I think that this is fairly common practice these days (a cable should cost no more than a tenner).
-- Print Quality--
Impressive! I was quite shocked at the quality of the prints on all modes (fast draft through to best quality). The quality of print on draft mode is fantastic, I print 90% of my stuff on fast draft as it is usually text and you can't see any real loss in quality. The photo prints are excellent, with or without special photo ink. The photos are not grainy and the printer picks out the colours brilliantly.
If you adjust your print settings, and put it onto fast draft mode, it prints up to 30 pages a minute. Which is silly! There isn't much loss in quality, provided all you are printing is pages of black and white text. It takes a wee while to print the full page colour photographs but that is more than acceptable
I'm not a particularly big fan of the HP software that is bundled in with the drivers as I find it overly intrusive. It offers all sorts of services from online photo storage to new cartridges and cartridge recycling which is fine, but I like my software to do what it's designed to do and nothing else. The software package includes image editing software which is reasonably good for simple tasks such as red eye removal and cropping. It's very user friendly and regularly updates itself if you have an internet connection. The installation of the software, much like the printer itself, is a doddle. Just don't expect an all singing all dancing image editing package.
--Ink and Ink Usage--
I have had my printer a good three years and have only changed the cartridges once (one of each). I think that this is perfectly reasonable considering moderate usage (I'm a student so type and print plenty of courseworks). A black cartridge for this printer typically costs around £14, a colour cartridge is around £16 (for the larger cartridge) and there are special photo cartridges which are also around £14. Although there are photo cartridges it doesn't mean that you have to buy one to print your photos. The normal colour cartridge does a perfectly good job of it anyway. The photo cartridge is designed to enhance skin tones, vibrant colours and contrast for more lifelike photos.
If you like you can plug your camera into the PictBridge port on the front of the printer for direct printing from your camera. It is a USB port so you will not have to buy any new leads or adapters, you just use the one that came with your camera. I can't comment on it's effectiveness as I'd rather look at my pictures properly before printing them but I'm sure it works! The printer comes with full cartridges (Black, tri colour and I got a photo one too) and a sample media pack which has a few sheets of HP photo paper.
This printer is just over a year old now and the feed mechanism is touch and go at best. The problem started around six months in and has worsened since. Basically the printer does not grip the paper and therefore does not feed properly. I contacted HP and they asked me all the usual questions (have I used the software cleaning, feeding problem shooters etc) then suggested I contact a different department and ask for a kit that has been designed for this printer to effectively remedy this problem. The kit did help reduce the problem but by no means fixed it. Further reading has led me to believe that this is a very common problem. The only way I could get it to print eventually was to hand feed every page or to stick it on its fastest mode and keep playing with it till it started to feed. It works fine when it's working fast.
Terrible feed mechanism aside, the design is fairly sleek though I'm no expert in 'Printer Haute Couture'. It's not a great chunk of a beast so sits perfectly fine within the confines of my desk. The only piece of under-engineering I have noticed is the part you pull out for the printed pages to rest on, it's a bit flimsy and it wouldn't take much to break it.
Long gone is the racket of noise that was the Dot Matrix printer. It's as quiet as necessary so wouldn't be disruptive in an office environment but it is a little noisier when on fast draft mode as it chucks the paper in and out considerably faster.
- Excellent print quality
- Edge to edge prints
- Fast, economical print settings
- Reasonably priced
- Very dodgy feed mechanism
- No printer lead
- Overly intrusive software bundle
- Flimsy paper tray
- Fairly average solution to the very dodgy feed mechanism
-- Overall Opinion--
All in all it is an excellent printer and I would recommend it to everyone. Unfortunately however, the problems with the feed mechanism become unbearable. My parents (who I recommended this printer to shortly after my purchase) really can't stand their printer and my girlfriend got so annoyed she bought a new one. Which, incidentally, is excellent... Touch wood...
So, don't buy one unless you are remarkably patient and have little else to do, or if you happen to have an excellent solution to the feed problem!
I have owned this printer for nearly two years now, when I originally purchased at £60, it did seem pricey for fairly light usage on a student budget, but it has definately turned out to be the right choice!
It looks pretty reasonable on the desk (well as far as a printer can). The lid is finished on the top in what feels like brushed metal, feeling of a higher quality than the flimsy plastic many printers are made from. The hinges also close slowly, rather than slamming straight down.
As you would expect it was simple to set up, the usual case of plug in and working straight off. The only issue was when I changed from Windows XP to Vista, and the originally software on the CD would not longer work, in the end I managed to find a version of Vista that could be downloaded fairly easily.
The best part of this printer in my experience however, is how efficient/economical it has been in printing. I regularly printed off pages of powerpoint slides, notes and essays, and one large black cartridge lasted me nearly a year. Unless printing photos, you can get away with setting the quality to 'fast draft' and it's hard to tell the difference from the 'normal' quality level on other inkjet printers. Although it wasn't something I was bothered about, printing black and white documents on draft quality, the speed of printing really is impressive compared to cheaper printers I previously used.
Although not the primary function of the printer it also does a good job of printing off large images or photographs on occasion, although this can become more heavy on the ink usage.
Not much to say here, but clearly it's a bit pricey if it's only being purchased for average home use, although looking back now many of the cheaper inkjet printers almost seem a false economy, all having developed problems with the paper feeder or having small expensive ink cartridges.
The only other thing to say is the tray that the paper drops onto once it has been pretty feels a bit flimsy when you pull it right out, but as long as it isn't tread on etc then it shouldn't be a problem.