Inexpensive inkjet printers are fairly thin on the ground, but HP’s Deskjet 5560 costs £50, if you buy direct from the company, and offers plain paper and photo printing. As the Deskjet name suggests, it's aimed primarily at general, personal correspondence.
The printer looks very neat in its textured and high-gloss black case. It's about the normal width for a personal inkjet machine, but is less deep than many. However, when you fold down the paper tray and extend the swing-out paper rest, which forms the output tray, it increases the machine's footprint substantially. This tray arrangement sticks out of the front of the machine by more than the length of an A4 sheet.
Paper or photo blanks feed from this fold-down tray, turn through 180 degrees and feed out on top of the input stack. There's no cover to the feed tray, so you'll probably want to fold it up out of the way when not printing, which means you’ll need to store the paper somewhere.
The control panel is novel because of its arrangement and the specially designed mono LCD panel. There are four buttons, one for paper feed, one to cancel a printing job, a third to turn on the printer's wireless connection and the fourth to switch the printer on and off. The display shows the wireless signal strength and ink levels in 25 percent blocks using purpose-designed icons.
At the back is a USB socket and a low voltage DC input, which takes power from a small black block supply. USB is needed temporarily for setup, even if you choose to connect the machine wirelessly.
The wireless setup is very straightforward and is handled automatically by the setup utility on the driver CD. You also get copies of HP Solution Centre, Smart Web Print and Microsoft's Windows Live Photo Gallery. Drivers are provided for Windows and OS X and are available for Linux as a download.
The machine uses two ink and head cartridges, one for black ink and the other tri-colour. When you pull down the front cover, the head carrier moves to a convenient central position and clipping the two cartridges into place is quick and easy.