Average user rating
- Bluetooth interface allows wireless printing.
- High price for an otherwise average printer.
HP's latest inkjet printer may look familiar, but it incorporates a key difference designed to set you free. It's very similar to the DeskJet 960C, but includes a Bluetooth interface, allowing you to print wirelessly from suitably equipped notebooks or handhelds. This makes the printer's price a hefty £280 (ex. VAT), and is of questionable value while so few Bluetooth-enabled systems are available. Even with the addition of a Bluetooth adapter, only Windows 2000 and Windows XP are supported -- earlier Windows users and Mac devotees are out of luck.
You can't simply walk up to the DeskJet 995C with a Bluetooth-equipped notebook, for instance, and start printing. You still need the Windows printer drivers installed before you can use the machine, and at the moment this means installing them from CD-ROM or the Internet. Once you've done this, however, printing a document should be no different to using a wired device. A virtual COM port is used to communicate with the printer and it's set up as a standard Windows printer.
Bear in mind that even if you do have Bluetooth equipment that you want to print from, you don't necessarily need a Bluetooth-equipped printer -– all that's required is a Bluetooth network access point and a networked printer. The DeskJet 995C also has an infrared port, so many handhelds will be able to print wirelessly anyway. The line-of-sight requirement for infrared is less of a problem when you need to stand in front of the printer to collect your output anyway.
For the wired world, the DeskJet 995C has a USB interface compatible with Windows 98 or later, or MacOS 8.6 or later. Palm OS and Pocket PC devices with IR printing software can use the infrared port to print. You'll need to use the USB connection to configure the Bluetooth interface should you want to change the security settings, including the PIN code. The printer drivers allow you to adjust the hue, saturation and brightness of your printouts independently of the application you're printing from.
Connectivity aside, the DeskJet 995C is an unremarkable printer. The 2,400 by 1,200dpi colour resolution is fairly standard, and the supplied duplexing unit is also becoming common, especially on HP's range. The maximum print engine speed is 17ppm in monochrome draft mode, but expect far less than this when printing colour documents -- particularly photos. In theory, the Bluetooth interface imposes a speed penalty over the USB connection, but when printing in normal or high-quality mode the engine speed is probably the limiting factor.
The paper tray takes a respectable 150 sheets of paper, with the output tray holding 50 sheets. The DeskJet 995C is supplied with a duplexing unit, so you get double-sided printing as standard. A wide range of paper types and sizes are supported, and HP's optical paper sensing technology is included, eliminating the need for you to set the paper type in the printer's driver settings.
If you don't need to print from mobile devices, there’s no point in buying this printer: the USB interface is easier to use, and is present on most recent desktop PCs and notebooks. The DeskJet 995C is by no means a poor printer -- it's just that the extra cost of the Bluetooth interface isn't going to pay for itself until the wireless standard is widespread. When it is, printers like this may well become more desirable.