* Prices may differ from that shown
In terms of their build quality, price and economy, HP printers are generally second to none - therefore, when my previous machine began to misbehave and start chewing up paper (the daft bugger), I opted for the 'Photosmart D7163', which can be purchased for around £120 from Amazon.
Look @ Me
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The D7160 is a fairly pleasant looking device, predominantly creamy white in colour with grey sides. The curved front section makes the printer appear quite modern, and the general built is of a high standard. Especially pleasing is the power button, illuminated via blue LED - very cool during a spot of night-time printing!
The overall measurements are 46.3 x 38.7 x 17.3 cm, which means the device is just about a standard size for an A4 printer.
Start Me Up
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Setting up the printer is very simple, and the basic connection to the computer is made via an included USB cable. There is also a disk featuring the correct drivers, allowing your PC to reconise the device - that said, the lucky Mac users amongst you won't need the disk, as clever Apple's should be able to detect the printer without it.
Don't mention the economy!
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This particular model prints pages up to A4 in size, and is quoted at having an output of up to 31 colour pages per minute. The printer uses five small individual colour inks and a larger black cartridge, belonging to the 'HP 363 Vivera' series.
In terms of its economy, the D7160 is currently one of the best on the market, and the black ink in particular seems to last for ages. When replacement inks are required, each official HP cartridge costs around £6, or you can get them a lot cheaper if you buy the third-party makes or opt for refills. Changing inks is a straightforward and non-messy process, and should be able to be done whether you're 8 or 80 (plus the ages in between of course!).
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The print quality is of a very high standard, with even the smallest of text being reproduced without any smudging or blurring. If you're using the genuine HP 'Viviera' cartridges, you should also notice the precise and vivid colour which is accurately reproduced when using HP coated photo paper; 'Advanced', 'Premium' or 'Premium Plus' all return excellent results. The Maximum resolution for black and white printing is 1200 x 1200 dpi, whilst colour mode tops out at 4800 dpi x 1200.
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The general print speed is fairly quick, although perhaps not quite as zippy as the 31ppm which I quoted earlier (unless you're using the 'fast-draft' mode). What I have noticed however, is that every so often, the printer will pause to perform what it calls a 'printer preparation' which takes around a minute to complete, and can get a bit frustrating when it decides to do it for the fifth time in a hour - it's definitely a printer which is very ponderous, and only shows its real speed every once in a while.
I've got the shakes
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I would recommend putting the printer on a solid surface when in use, as the machine will rock around a fair bit when printing. Although not adversely affecting the quality of the prints, it can be a bit distracting if it's making your desk wobble whilst you're working. That said, although shaky, the machine is generally quiet, and whilst audible, the volume isn't deafening.
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The printer features a small (2.4") colour screen which shows the current status of the device, and can be used to determine things like the ink-levels of each catridge, and be used to change various settings. The screen is bright and easy to see, and also has the ability to be tilted through ninety-degress of motion in a vertical line.
As well as the main tray for loading A4 paper, there is also a photo-tray which can be filled with 10 x 15cm paper. This gets rid of the hassle of having to print photos on A4, and then cut them down yourself - so well done HP for this handy feature.
Another cool asset of the D7160, is its ability to print without the need of a computer - this is because it features a card reader on the front which allows printing straight from an SD, XD, Compact Flash Card or Memory Stick - just stick the camera card in the correctly sized slot and away you go - woop!
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All in all, I would highly recommend the D7163 for its high quality photo printing, and great value for money. Combined with the fact that it's nice looking and friendly, you can't really go wrong with this device. Yes, its occasionally ponderous nature lets it down slightly, but for the price it isn't something to really complain about.
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Dimensions (WxDxH): 46.3 cm x 38.7 cm x 17.3 cm
Weight: 7.7 kg
Inkjet Technology: HP Thermal Inkjet
Max Media Size: A4
Print Speed: Up to 32 ppm - black draft - A4 (210 x 297 mm)
Max Resolution B&W: 1200 dpi x 1200 dpi
Max Resolution Colour: 4800 dpi x 1200 dpi
Preview Screen Size: 2.4"
Media Type: Envelopes, transparencies, greeting cards, labels, plain paper, iron-on transfers, photo paper, index cards, cards
Total Media Capacity: 100 sheets
Power: AC 120/230 V
System Requirements: Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows 2000 SP3 or later, Microsoft Windows Vista, Apple MacOS X 10.3+
Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year warranty
The HP Photosmart D7160 Photo Printer, based on HP's scalable printing technology, prints lab-quality photos and outstanding documents that last for generations. Six individual high-capacity ink cartridges enable high-volume printing of 4x6-inch photos in as fast as 12 seconds. Ease-of-use and timesaving features include an automated 4x6-inch photo tray and automatic photo enhancements using HP Real Life technologies.