Hewlett-Packard Deskjet 9650

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Hewlett-Packard Deskjet 9650

Pros

  • High print quality

Cons

  • Low speed, above average running costs

Bottom Line

The wide-format Deskjet 9650 delivers consistently good print quality on many kinds of documents. This printer is no speed demon, however, and its costs per page are quite high.

Would you buy this?

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The HP Deskjet 9650 has a wide carriage that can handle paper 33 centimetres across and up to 10 centimetres long--and its paper-feeding smarts don't stop there.

The input tray holds 150 sheets of paper, so you won't have to refill it constantly, and the printer has a 10-sheet bypass feeder for envelopes and letterhead paper. Inside the main paper tray, an odd but effective plunger mechanism pushes a stack of snapshot-size media up to the paper path. A slot in the back draws in heavy stock and feeds it through the printer without bending it. As with many HP printers, exiting print jobs stack over the paper input tray. But instead of having an output tray that gets in the way when you want to add paper, the 9650's sturdy output support flips up and stays open, providing free access to the input tray.

If you want to make double-sided prints, buy the HP Deskjet 9670; it's the same printer but with a duplexer, for just a little more. If you're undecided, you could later buy a duplexer for the 9650 separately.

The 9650 shares one inconvenient trait with some other HP inkjets: you have to swap the printer's black and photo cartridges, depending on what you're printing; and the first time you do this, the printer runs an alignment routine. At least HP provides all three cartridges with this printer.

If you print a lot of photos, you may be disappointed that the 9650 has neither a PictBridge port nor memory card slots. In our page yield tests, printing plain black on the Deskjet 9650 cost roughly 15% more than the average. For colour plus black (not photos), this printer was among the most expensive models we have tested.

The 9650 doesn't break any speed records: it printed text at a below-average 4.1 pages per minute, and it generated graphics (not photos) at 0.9 ppm--a bit below the average. On plain paper, text looked black and clean in headlines but a bit choppy in smaller type sizes, and better-quality inkjet paper didn't improve the output significantly. Colour prints on plain paper showed sharp detail and relatively good colour. With photo inks on glossy paper, the 9650's prints of greyscale photos exhibited uncanny depth despite having a somewhat scratchy texture, and colour photos came out in sharp focus with smooth textures and realistic colours, though some detail disappeared in shadow areas.

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