The PSC 1610 can print on plain paper or HP's photo paper in any size from 10cm by 15cm, up through A4, to what the company calls large panorama, 215mm by 610mm. All these sizes can be printed borderless and it's a welcome bonus to have borderless A4 on a machine in this price range.
The print engine has a maximum, optimised resolution of 1,200 x 4,800dpi, though by default most prints come out at a lower setting. It’s matched by the optical resolution of the scanner head and both figures are impressive in such an inexpensive machine.
While not the fastest printer on the planet, our five-page text document completed in one minute eight seconds, while the mixed text and business graphics page took just 36 seconds. Copying only took nine seconds longer than printing and a 5 x 3in photo at best quality took one minute 42 seconds. All these times are very respectable.
Print quality is extremely good for an entry-level device. Black text is very full and dense, without any noticeable feathering into the nap of the paper. Coloured business graphics are also clean and there’s no noticeable banding in areas of solid colour. Finally, photographic output is precise, with sharply defined edges, good natural colours and better than average detail in areas of shadow.
There's only one black cartridge designed to run in the PSC 1610, but there’s a choice of standard or high-capacity tri-colour cartridges. The lower capacity 343 cartridge is supplied and was used in our calculations, based on the actual number of pages we printed at 20 per cent cover (five per cent for each primary). We only managed 211, 20 per cent colour pages against the claimed rating of 260, which is disappointing and 275, five per cent black pages, against a claim of 450, which is more so.
With a cost for HP glossy photo paper of 28p a sheet – the cheapest we could find – we calculated page costs of 4.9p and 44.9p for black and colour print, respectively. These sit at the high end of running costs for this type of ink-jet printer.
Sales of All-in-One machines have proved what a good idea it is to combine printing, copying and scanning into one, small-footprint device. Being able to read digital photographs from a memory card or camera is an added bonus and with extras such as panoramic borderless print, the only problem with the £90 PSC 1610 are its running costs.