HP DeskJet 970Cxi

URL: http://www.pandi.hp.com/pandi-db/prodinfo.main?product=deskjet970c

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Rating: Excellent!

Review:

If you’re in the market for a new color inkjet printer for home or small office use, you should give the HP DeskJet 970Cxi a serious look. This fast inkjet printer delivers great value for the money and includes a plethora of great features.

 

 

Installation

Installation was a breeze. Everything in the box was securely packaged, but easy to unpack. Included were three illustrated, easy-to-follow QuickStart guides, one for USB setup with Windows, one for parallel port setup with Windows, and one for setup with MacOS. Also included were one manual for Windows and Mac users each. A nice extra was a separate manual for using the printer in a networked environment, covering different scenarios like locally shared, peer-to-peer and client-server networks.

The setup itself was uneventful. Unpack it, remove packaging material, plug in the power and data cable (not included!), install the color cartridges, load some paper (samples of high-quality papers are included) install the drivers, and you’re ready to go. As with all devices, I recommend downloading the most recent drivers from the manufacturer’s web site instead of using the included driver disk – chances are it’s outdated the moment you open the box.

I hooked the DeskJet to a Windows 98 machine, then shared it for the network, and installed the drivers on a Windows 2000 and a Windows ME machine. Printing a few test pages from each machine worked flawlessly the first time.

Use

Using the deskjet has been a pleasure so far. Its great performance manifests itself in several areas:

  • Speed – The 970Cxi is very speedy. According to the spec sheet it produces the following output: 
    Print Speed Black:
    Draft Quality 12 ppm
    Normal Quality 6.5 ppm
    Best Quality 4.7 ppm
    Print Speed Color:
    Draft Quality 10 ppm
    Normal Quality 5 ppm
    Best Quality 3.1 ppm

    My previous printer was a Epson Stylus Color 740. After printing the first few pages with the DeskJet I was pleasantly surprised at the noticeable speed increase.

     

  • Noise level – The DeskJet is very quiet, especially compared to the Epson. The printer is located 15 feet walking distance away in an adjacent room, and before I’d just have to listen for it to know when the print job was finished. Now I have already repeatedly forgot that I printed something because I can’t hear the printer anymore, even with the doors open. 
  • Features – Opening the printer properties you’ll find a bunch of nice features. For example, the DeskJet offers two-sided printing via a special module (included) that you install in the back of the printer, it can print mirror images, it prints posters and banners, you can run maintenance such as calibration and cleaning on the printer from your computer via the HP Toolbox. 
  • Print Quality – I frequently print directions and maps from Mapquest and have quite an assortment of these printouts. I printed a map I needed with the DeskJet and compared it to a printout from the Epson. The difference was noticeable, the DeskJet printout looked sharper and overall better. A few photos printed on glossy paper looked very good as well. 

One issue that I had with the Epson and that really irked me was that it had to be turned off if you didn’t plan to use it, otherwise the print heads would dry up after a few hours and require a cleaning cycle to get the going again. A call to their tech support resulted in an indifferent “Well, that’s just the way it is – live with it.” answer. Thankfully the DeskJet doesn’t have this problem, it automatically parks and covers the printheads to prevent them from drying up.

Overall Impression

The 970Cxi is a great printer and delivers impressive performance for a reasonable price. Sure, there are lesser priced printers out there, but I’m a firm believer of the “You get what you pay for” theory, which has proven itself to me time and again. I like the printer’s speed, features, print quality, and the fact that it’s quiet.

There are a few small things that could have made this a perfect package. It would have been a nice touch to include a USB and a parallel cable in the box. It has happened to more than one person that bought a printer and didn’t realize until they got home and unpacked it that they had to return to the store for a cable. Instead of stuffing the box with AOL and Compuserve CDs, a copy of Adobe Photoshop LE would have been nice. And a large capacity color ink cartridge instead of the regular size one would have been cool, too.

But none of these items distract from the fact that this is a great printer for home and small office use. It certainly gets my recommendation.

Submitted by: Alex “crazygerman” Byron

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