The printer industry is making a calculated shift towards all-in-one printers that feature a copier, scanner and fax machine. It's a win-win transition: consumers benefit from lower prices for more capable machines, and manufacturers can sell more ink cartridges and paper for all the new features. Still, a large proportion of home users and offices just need a simple device, like the £40 single-function HP Deskjet D2660 inkjet printer, for printing airline tickets, maps, documents and the occasional snapshot photo.
The D2660's design departs from HP's standard grey finish, opting instead for black. You won't have a problem fitting the D2660 into your desk space, thanks to its tiny footprint. With few bells and whistles inside the machine, HP has managed to whittle the footprint down to 45.3 by 20.7 by 17.2cm. It only weighs around 2.7kg, 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. You get power, paper-feed and cancel buttons on the left of the paper trays, though. The back of the printer houses the USB 2.0 connection port, as well as a small power plug.
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 fold it up out of the way while the printer is dormant.
Inside the cartridge bay, you'll see two separate ink cartridges: one black and another tri-colour. You can save money by purchasing HP's XL cartridge capacities on the company's Web site.
Comparing it to several other single-function inkjets and one multi-function printer (see the table below), the D2660 offers snappy output speeds. While it can't quite surpass the text, photo and graphics speeds of the pricier Officejet 6000 or the Lexmark Z2420, it did jump ahead of the older, bulkier Canon Pixma iP2600. It even beat the favourably received Canon Pixma MX330 by a slight margin in terms of text and colour-graphics speeds. Overall, the differences in the table below are less than one or two pages per minute, so, unless you regularly print large documents, you won't notice a big difference in output speed.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Photo speed (one sheet)||Colour graphics speed (ppm)||Text speed (ppm)|
We weren't surprised to see that the D2660 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 cloudy white speckles tarnish the thicker letters. Nevertheless, most users tend not to be overly concerned about text quality as long as it's adequate.
We don't recommend you print too many full-colour photos on the D2660. The colours in our sample 3-by-5-inch photos were all grossly under-saturated at a low contrast, with choppy gradients and grainy lines running throughout the image. In addition, the skin in the portrait samples displayed overly cold, pink tones. If you're looking to print plenty of photos from your digital camera, look elsewhere.
The HP Deskjet D2660 doesn't have wireless connectivity, and it can't fax, copy, scan or print perfect-quality images, but it's fast and prints decent-quality text. We recommend the D2660 if you're looking for a simple, fuss-free printer for your home or office.
Additional editing by Charles Kloet