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HP’s Vivera inks and scaleable print technology have together improved the print quality and reduced the cost of the company’s ink-jet printers. The Photosmart D7160 is one of the latest beneficiaries and has a couple of other good features as well. Selling at around £80, it's surprising to see the range of facilities available.
This is a substantial printer, as large as some of HP’s entry-level, all-in-one machines. Coloured in white and two-tone grey, the printer has a fold-up, 61mm LCD display in its top, a series of well laid-out buttons for control of menus and print functions and a set of memory card readers below a curved, flip-up cover on the right.
The paper trays, which project from the front of the machine, offer simultaneous loading of up to 100 sheets of A4 paper and around 20, 10 x 15cm photo blanks. When you choose through software or from the control panel to print photos, the photo tray is automatically drawn into the machine and rolled out again, at the end of the print job.
Next to the paper trays at the front is a PictBridge socket for a camera cable and at the rear there's a single USB socket for PC connection. Setup is very straightforward, using the supplied Vivera ink tanks. There's a series of six, including light cyan and light magenta and they all plug-in easily and are held in by fold-down yolks.
The software suite bundled with the machine provides a well designed driver, including support for the optional duplex unit, if fitted. However, there appears to be no support for multiple pages per sheet, nor watermark or overlay printing.
Bundled applications include Photosmart Premiere, which provides useful, image management and editing. HPs automatic photo fix and adaptive lighting can make good, hands-off improvements to a wide range of digital photos.
Print times from the Photosmart D7100 were a little slow, even for a photo printer. Our five-page text print took 55 seconds, giving a print speed of just under 5.5ppm. This is closer than some printers get to their manufacturers’ quoted speeds; HP quotes 7.8ppm for this machine.