There are faster photo printers but few as versatile as the HP Photosmart D7160. If you're looking for an all-purpose printer to product excellent text prints and great photos, this £80 model fits the bill nicely.
The HP Photosmart D7160's design closely resembles that of the Photosmart D7360, with some minor differences. The body, which is glossy white and matte grey, measures 462mm wide, 386mm deep and 173mm tall, and weighs 7.7kg.
The D7160's colour LCD measures 61mm (2.4 inches) on the diagonal. A handful of buttons make up the control panel, including buttons that let you navigate the on-screen menu, call up a print preview, zoom, rotate and make minor fixes to images.
Behind a clear plastic door is a panel of media card readers -- the printer accepts most major media card types, though a few require adaptors. The built-in USB port can be used as a PictBridge port for printing directly from cameras. You can also purchase a USB adaptor to print wirelessly from Bluetooth phones, cameras or PDAs. You can even connect an iPod to the USB port and print JPEG photos from it.
The D7160's paper-handling system is combined into a single tray that juts out from the front of the printer. The top tray serves as the output tray and includes an extension arm to keep long prints under control. The output tray lifts up to reveal two input trays, while the dedicated photo-paper tray sits on top of the tray for all other papers. The all-purpose tray can hold up to 100 sheets of plain paper and slides out for loading (convenient for loading extra paper in the middle of a big print job). The photo-paper tray can hold photo paper up to 100x150mm (4x6 inches).
As befitting a photo printer, the D7160 uses a six-colour ink system and individual cartridges. We like the individual cartridges because they mean less waste -- you don't need to throw away unused ink. The replacement colour cartridges (yellow, magenta, light magenta, cyan, light cyan) cost £7 each, and the larger black cartridge costs £11.
The HP Photosmart D7160 offers many of the same features as the D7360, though some of them are scaled down. For example, you still get six frame options on the D7160, but you don't get the colour options for the frames.
If you're printing from a memory card, there are a couple of ways you can go about printing photos. You can simply print all of the photos on a card individually, as 100x150mm, 127x178mm or 203x254mm (4x6-, 5x7-, or 8.5x11-inch) prints. When printing on 203x254mm paper, you can choose to print one photo per page, print several to a page or print an index. The index includes the file name and photo number, which makes it a handy reference (the video files are marked with a small video camera icon). Unfortunately, you can't sort the pictures by date range, you can only view them in the order taken.
You can also use the built-in wizard, which explains each step of the process and guides you through selecting photos, making adjustments (cropping, colour effects and so on) and choosing paper size and layout. If you're already familiar with the process, you can skip right to clicking through the contents of the card and selecting images as you go. If you have a lot of photos, you can zoom out to get a thumbnail view that shows nine images at once.
The only major drawback we found was that you can't make changes to the photo unless you're in the wizard mode. An experienced user who wants to jump right in will find that they need to take a detour through the wizard to make adjustments. The simple addition of an Edit button on the printer that took you to a photo-editing menu would go a long way towards making this printer even easier to use. The Canon Pixma iP6700D includes a Settings button that calls up a menu of editing options.
Another issue we have with this printer is the inability to produce bordered 100x150mm (4x6-inch) photos when printing from a memory card. (The D7360 also suffered from this strange shortcoming.) You can print bordered photos if you print from your PC, but that adds the extra step of transferring images from your card to your PC. It seems to be a feature that's easy enough to implement on the printer, which is why its omission is baffling.
One of the features we do like on this printer is the ability to print stills from videos. Simply play the video and pause it when you find the frame you want to print. The quality of the still images won't be as good as your regular still photos, of course, because video resolution is generally much lower than that of digital still shots.