We saw a really inexpensive printer when we looked at the HP Deskjet 1000, an inkjet for £30. And here's another, the Deskjet 1050 all-in-one for £29.99. Can you really get a workable printer/scanner combo for this kind of money?
As you might expect, this printer has a very conventional design, with nothing unusual apart from an overhang at the front and a thin cosmetic inset around the join between the scanner cover and the body of the machine.
The support for the stand-up paper feed tray at the back lays flat on the printer's top when not in use. The output tray folds down from the front and an unusually chunky page support extends forwards. It's a simple design, but works very effectively.
A device with stand-alone functions, like the photocopying an all-in-one can do, needs controls, but HP has limited these two just three buttons for black and colour copies and to cancel a print job. A fourth button turns the printer on and off. There are three orange indicators, one for paper out and the other two for low ink.
At the back is a low voltage socket to connect to the small, black block power supply and a USB socket, the only data connection.
Installing the two ink and head cartridges, one black and the other tri-colour, is a little awkward, as they’re set quite a way inside the machine and are accessed through a fold down cover, which sits behind the output paper tray. The cartridges slide in and click upwards into position and closing the cover sets the machine going.
You need to print an alignment page, which you then scan on the machine's flatbed to complete the alignment. The scanner is a simple Contact Image Sensor (CIS) device but, like the rest the machine, is more than adequate for basic functions.
The supplied CD includes drivers for Windows and OS X and a copy of HP Scan, which can handle scanning to JPG, PDF or TIF, though there's no Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software – it would be unreasonable to expect it, at the price. The device can scan at up to 1,200ppi, more than enough if you want to use third-party OCR software with the DeskJet 1050.