Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
HP Deskjet D2560
Bearing its flaws on its sleeve
- Decent speed for its price, adequate quality, good running costs
- Cheap build quality, some colour inconsistency issues, no proper paper output tray
Although budget printers are never completely satisfactory to use, the Deskjet D2560 makes a decent attempt. It feels delicate, but its speed, quality and running costs make it tempting.
Price$ 59.00 (AUD)
The point in the market that the HP’s Deskjet D2560 sits at is full of printers that usually end up in the bin once their ink runs out. The D2560 is small and cheap, but units at this price typically have inks more expensive than the printer and quality is generally poor. The D2560 isn't revolutionary in this regard, but it does a better job than its competitors.
The D2560 looks similar to its predecessors, with a two-tone white and grey design. The ink cover and paper input tray are of shoddy quality, and the ink cartridge holders aren’t as sturdy as we would have liked.
There’s no proper output tray, but this isn’t too much of surprise — they aren’t found in most low-end desktop printers. However, with the D2560 this is particularly troublesome, as the printer ejects the paper with enough ferocity to send it flying from a desk. A small piece of plastic would do the trick, but it’s clear that even this would have blown HP’s budget.
For all its faults, the D2560 is certainly an affordable printer. A key problem with many budget printers is their running costs — a problem we saw in the Lexmark X2650 and HP’s own Deskjet F2280. The D2560 is bundled with highly inadequate introductory cartridges that will run out almost before you even turn the printer on for the first time; we fell just short of being able to perform all our usual tests. However, it will run at an average of 18.91c per page provided you purchase high-yield cartridges. This should help entice users to keep the printer after its first cartridges run dry.
Speed is also a strong suit of the D2560, at least for its price. Draft quality text documents will print at roughly 15 pages per minute, slowing to 7.6ppm at normal quality. Draft documents with graphical elements print slightly slower at 10.5ppm; however, you’ll want to use normal quality for anything half-decent, which slows the printer to 3ppm. Standard 4x6in photos, a staple of any family printer, print in a decent 47sec, and an A4 photo will print in 2min 30secs. These speeds are easily beaten by Epson’s low-end model, the Stylus C110. However, the Epson is almost double the price of the D2560.
The D2560 delivers decent print quality without excelling. Text is largely clear, but 'best' quality documents suffer from an overuse of ink, creating overly bold text that is often blurry and harder to read than text printed at normal quality. Colours are consistent in graphical elements, although highlighted text is often blurred in draft and normal quality documents.
As expected from a budget printer, photo printing won’t match your local photo kiosk, but it’s certainly cheaper. There’s banding evident in the photos when using both normal and best quality settings. Yellows are vibrant, while blacks are dark enough to be defined against greys and blues. Reds are perhaps under-represented, proving slightly lighter than we would prefer. Printing at best quality is a must for photos — using normal quality introduces a large amount of background noise that ultimately ruins images.
Although the printer suffers obvious flaws, the D2560’s initial price point and subsequent running costs are almost too good to pass up; its output isn't too shocking either. If you’re not looking to set up a home office or a professional photo studio, the D2560 will get the job done.
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