HP Business Inkjet 2600dn

  • Editors' rating
    8.4 Excellent


  • Good image quality;
  • duplex printing


  • Large footprint;
  • slow at best quality

This networked A3+ colour printer offers good quality printing, plenty of paper capacity and duplex printing as standard. It’s not going to win any speed records at 5.5ppm in standard mode, but for printing and proofing of all sorts of colour documents, it offers a good mix of quality and features. A cheaper model without duplexing or networking is available if you just want to take advantage of the paper size handling on your own machine.

As well as the network interface you can use USB or parallel port to connect to the Business Inkjet 2600dn. Note that you don’t get a USB cable with the printer, so you’ll have to supply your own. The network interface supports TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, AppleTalk and DLC printing, meaning you should be able to print from just about any type of client. The printer supports PCL 5c and HP’s PostScript level 3 emulation, and HPGL/2 for printing vector graphics.

This is a big printer. At 72.4 x 64.5 x 28.3cm it needs a desk to itself, and make it a sturdy one since the Business Inkjet 2600 weighs 19.5kg. Add the duplexing unit to the rear and it gets another 5cm deeper. Fitting the duplexing unit means that you no longer have a straight path through the printer for printing on thicker media. It’s very easy to change between the standard rear feed unit and the duplexing unit, so if you do need occasionally to print on card stock, it’s not a problem.

Both of the printer’s two paper trays will take paper from A5 to oversized A3 for full-bleed prints. The lower tray takes up to 250 sheets and the upper tray 150 sheets of 80gsm paper. If you’re using paper larger than A4, you’ll need to pull out the paper tray’s extending front section, adding to the desk space needed for the printer.

The Business Inkjet 2600 uses separate ink cartridges and print heads. One of each is used for each colour, which allows you to replace any component individually. You can buy each head and ink cartridge separately, so that it’s not necessary to buy consumables you don’t need. Having said that, you’re likely to use the three coloured ink cartridges at roughly the same rate.

The Business Inkjet 2600dn’s print quality is impressive. The 1200x600dpi engine uses a standard four-colour ink system with a dithered halftone. On text and graphics colours are solid with no significant banding. Photographic images, while not up to the quality seen in some six-ink printers, is still very good, even on ordinary bond paper. The printer has a built-in transparency detector. Other than this, you’ll have to select the paper type manually in the driver settings.

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You can manage the Business Inkjet 2600dn using the built-in web server, via telnet or through the control panel. You can enable secure sockets layer (SSL) or transport layer security (TLS) encryption for the web interface, meaning none of your management commands can be eavesdropped by anyone on the network. This is especially useful if you’re administering the printer over the Internet without a VPN. The printer can also be managed using SNMP v3, the latest version of the network management protocol. SNMP v3 solves the inherent security problems of previous versions of the protocol, but this means recording an authentication key from the printer. The only way of doing this securely is with SSL/TLS enabled on the web interface.

A colour A3 laser printer will cost you far more than this, and won’t produce as good results on photographic images, but will probably be faster – if you need to produce large amounts of colour printouts then the Business Inkjet 2600dn probably won’t suit you. If you need to produce colour proofs of documents, or don’t need a high output rate but still need to share the printer around, then consider the Business Inkjet 2600dn.