- Review Price: £29.99
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.
As this machine uses the same print engine as the HP Deskjet 1000, it’s not surprising that the speed test results are very similar. HP claims 5.5ppm for black print and 4ppm for colour, but these are in best quality, while the default, which we test, is normal quality.
Our 5-page black text print completed in 52s, giving a speed of 5.8ppm and on the longer, 20-page print, this increased to 6.3ppm. In draft mode, the five-page document clocked up 7.9ppm. These speeds are pretty healthy in comparison with both HP’s spec and other entry-level machines.
Printing our black text and colour graphics test produced a speed of 2.4ppm, quite a bit slower than the rated speed, even though the print quality was again set to normal. This speed is more like the quoted speeds from the DeskJet’s main rivals. A 15 x 10cm photo print took a second over one minute and a single page colour copy took 42s, very reasonable results for this class of machine.
You might expect the print quality from the DeskJet 1050 to be adequate at best, but it’s a good deal better than this. While some way short of the prints from HP’s more expensive machines, black text is perfectly readable, while showing a bit of fuzz from ink run. Draft print is smart and not dotty like, for example, Epson’s, and it may well be good enough for you to use as the default print mode.
Colour graphics are clean and bright, with minimal dither patterns. A colour copy showed some degradation of the image, but the colours themselves were very close to the original and say a lot for the quality of what must be a very inexpensive scanner engine.
The photo print was also reasonable, though slightly pale in comparison with some of its rivals and, as with the DeskJet 1000, spoiled by scuff marks, which we assume are from the feed rollers. They are, if anything, more noticeable here than on prints from the single-function machine.
The two ink and head cartridges are available in standard and high-yield versions and using the high-yield components gives page costs of 4.6p for ISO black and 10p for ISO colour. Again, the black cost is a little high, while the colour cost is standard for an inexpensive inkjet.
It’s quite exceptional to get an all-in-one printer for £30 and equally out of the ordinary to have one that produces very acceptable print quality at a fair speed and without emptying your pocket through exorbitant ink costs. There’s very little on the market that can touch the DeskJet 1050 at the price. Get one now, before HP has second thoughts.
Score in detail
Print Speed 8
Print Quality 7
|Rated Black Speed (Images per minute)||16 ppmipm|
|Rated Colour Speed (Images per minute)||12 ppmipm|