Hewlett-Packard Australia PSC 1610

Hewlett-Packard Australia PSC 1610
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Very compact, clear text printing, good quality scans

Cons

  • A little banding across the images, slightly slow scanning

Bottom Line

The compact HP PSC 1610 is slower than average, but its extensive software and high-quality prints make it a great value.

Would you buy this?

With its low price, the compact HP PSC 1610 all-in-one would fit easily into cramped workspaces, yet still offers a number of useful features. It has a very small footprint, measuring about 44 by 28.5cm with the front paper tray closed. When flipped down, the tray can hold 100 sheets, and it does double-duty as the output tray.

Media card slots located to the left of the paper tray can read all the major formats, though uploading many images to a PC at once could be tiresome due to the slow USB 1.1 transfer speed. The monochrome backlit LCD screen displays two lines of text. To preview and print images when the PSC 1610 isn't connected to a PC, the user can make an index print, mark their selections, and then scan the print. Alternatively, they can print from compatible digital cameras via the PictBridge port.

The PSC 1610 comes with a three-colour cartridge and a pigment-based black ink cartridge (designed for better text quality). The latter can be replaced with an optional photo-colour cartridge containing light cyan, light magenta and black inks. A fresh set of print heads is built into each cartridge, which in theory reduces the likelihood of clogged nozzles.

In our test prints that used the pigment black ink, text looked very sharp, but fine italics were noticeably fuzzy and closely spaced boldface characters tended to bleed together. Our line art print looked quite grey, and finely spaced parallel lines merged. Colour graphics printed on plain paper showed good detail with plenty of contrast.

For our photo printing tests, we stowed the black cartridge in a special slot under the cover and swapped in the photo cartridge. Photos printed with vivid colours, smooth gradations and sharp details, but some slight narrow banding kept the PSC 1610 from being outstanding.

Installing all 780MB of the included HP Image Zone software can take a while, but the well-organised printer and scanner drivers are worth waiting for. The included IRIS OCR program turns scanned documents into editable text.

The PSC 1610 had above average scan quality, and its photocopy quality is up there with the best. The 1610 scanned our 4" x 5" colour image in 25 seconds, a little slower than average.

Its photocopy speed was very slow; it took 42 seconds to make a monochrome copy of our letter-size document. Print speeds were slow as well: 4.9ppm for text and 1.4ppm for graphics. As on many of the multifunction printers we have tested, the lid removes easily for scanning books or other bulky originals.

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