The speed dropped to 3.3ppm when printing colour pages, though a 15 x 10cm print took just under a minute from a PC. The print time increased to two minutes when printing from an SD card or a PictBridge camera however, which is not so impressive. Despite HP’s claim of a 12 second draft print mode, we could find no reference to this in any of the printer’s documentation.
The quality of prints produced by this machine is generally good. Text comes out dense and black, though with some feathering into the paper. Colour block graphics are clean and solid, with good gradations of tone.
Photo prints at best quality and on HPs Advanced Photo paper were very good, with exceptionally smooth transitions from shade to shade, high levels of detail and natural, well-reproduced colours. Prints on HPs Premium Plus glossy paper were a little grainy, though you have to look closely to see this.
Because of the permanent head arrangement in this printer, it takes more time to service its heads, including during longer print jobs, than earlier machines with cartridge-based heads. It’s reminiscent of Epson printers in this respect. We also saw frequent ‘paper out’ messages, when there was plenty of paper in its tray. Pressing ‘OK’ continued the print, but it meant we couldn’t leave the machine unattended. We assume this was a fault with the specific review sample.
You wouldn’t expect an inkjet printer to produce much noise and while printing the Photosmart D7160 is commendably quiet. When feeding paper though, it peaks at around 60dBA, which is quite obtrusive. If it happens to stop for head maintenance, the pumping noise is also noticeable.
The cheapest way to buy ink for the Photosmart D7160 is in a six-pack, complete with 150 sheets of photo paper, for around £25. If you’re going to be printing a lot of mono pages, there’s a high-yield black cartridge, as well as the standard-yield one, and this works out cheaper per page. However, we managed to get over 1,000, 5 per cent A4 pages from the normal yield cartridge, giving a cost per page of just 1.33p, which is very good for an inkjet printer.
Colour ink cartridge costs give a 30 er cent A4 page cost of 53.7p, which is a lot less attractive. However, this is on A4 photo paper and an equivalent print on a 15 x 10cm blank would be a lot cheaper.
All the right design elements can be found in the Photosmart D7160, but some shortcomings, such as print feathering, possible paper mishandling and noise when feeding sheets detract from what would otherwise be an excellent machine.