An all-in-one printer for less than £30? It can’t be any good, surely? Well, in the case of HP’s Deskjet 1510, it can.
It’s not the equivalent of a £200, all-singing business device, but for a home user – or student – with occasional printing requirements it may be all that’s needed.
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The HP Deskjet 1510 is a small, neat, white unit – very unobtrusive when not in use. Unusually for an HP inkjet, a paper-feed tray folds up from the top of the printer; the machine feeds from the back rather than the front. In contrast to the rest of the body, the tray is black, accepting pages from A4 down to 15 x 10cm.
The front of the machine is heavily undercut and the front panel folds down to become an output tray, with an extension swivelling out from its front edge to fully support pages. Although there was come criticism on the HP product page suggesting pages fly off the front of this tray, we wonder if the customer hadn’t discovered the extension, since the printer seemed very well-behaved during testing.
The control panel uses four membrane switches to control power, black and colour prints and for job-cancel functions. Twin LEDs indicate low ink in the cartridges, which slide in from the front. The cartridges sit behind a black cover, which is revealed when you pull down the paper output tray.
At the rear of the unit you'll find sockets for the external power supply and for a USB cable, which is the only data connection provided. There’s no cable in the box, so you’ll need to add this to your purchase.
Software is basic, but you do get HP Scan and Capture, which includes OCR software. There’s no network connection on the DeskJet 1510, so features such as ePrint and Instant Ink aren’t available. Software installation is straightforward and the supplied driver provides good support for the machine’s functions, including presets for many common functions, such as text and photo prints.
HP makes modest claims for the performance of the DeskJet 1510, with 7ppm for mono prints and 4ppm for colour. Our five-page black text print returned 5.2ppm, which rose to 6.7ppm on the 20-page document and 8.8ppm in draft mode, so well up to spec.
Our colour test piece didn’t fare so well, with only 2ppm on the five-page black text and colour graphics pages. Again, a longer document might have come closer to HP’s claims. A single-page copy from the flatbed took a respectable 43 seconds and a 15 x 10cm photo on glossy paper at best quality took 1 min 7 secs.
Print quality for such an inexpensive machine is fair, with dense black text. However, some feathering of characters, particularly in emboldened subheadings, is evident. Colour graphics are vivid and show little patchiness, and there’s good registration of black text over solid colour.
A colour copy showed some lightning of colours, although for general use it would be fine. Colours were accurately reproduced in a 15 x 10cm photo, with smooth colour gradations and plenty of darker-shade detail. We did notice a little scuffing in the image, which was caused by the rollers as the paper feeds through.
While the printer is reasonably quiet during operation, as with many models, the paper feed is relatively loud – it measured 66dBA at 0.5m in our tests.
HP offers two versions of the black and tri-colour cartridges for this printer. Using the XL versions, which yield better economy, page costs are 3.8p for a black print and 9.2p for colour. Neither of these costs is particularly impressive but, given the low asking price for the printer itself, they're to be expected. Interestingly, the colour cost is still little over half that of the £275 Dell E525w, which has a colour cost of 17.8p.
If your budget is tight and you’re printing needs are modest, this is an excellent choice of all-in-one printer. There are few, if any competitor models that can match the sub-£30 price, with the Canon PIXMA MX495 costing a full £15 more and Epson selling nothing for less than £69.
It would be a hard critic who couldn’t recommend this printer at the price. It may not have the print quality of its more expensive HP cousins, but we’re talking differences that many day-to-day users won’t notice. It’s print speed could also be higher, but for short documents and photos it’s still quite nippy.
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The HP Deskjet 1510 is compact, easy to maintain and simple to use for print, copy and scan – with the added bonus that it will set you back less than a meal for two at Nando’s.