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Hewlett-Packard DeskJet 940c

Is it too much to ask that an inkjet printer be good at everything? Apparently it is when you're in the sub-£100 price range. HP's DeskJet 940c is inexpensive and very good at printing colour graphics, and that's all many users want. However, this product is not without its flaws.
Written by Kristina Blachere, Contributor on
6.4/10

HP DeskJet 940c

Good
Pros
  • Excellent graphics printing on any paper; low purchase price.
Cons
  • Slightly slower and significantly more expensive per page than the competition.
  • Editors' Review
  • Specs

Is it too much to ask that an inkjet printer be good at everything? Apparently it is when you're in the sub-£100 price range. HP's DeskJet 940c is inexpensive and very good at printing colour graphics, and that's all many users want. However, this product is not without its flaws.

The £84.25 (ex. VAT; £99 inc. VAT) DeskJet 940c has a nice, rounded, compact design. Like other HP inkjets, its 150-sheet input tray is tucked under the output tray on the front of the printer (many inexpensive inkjets have just a plastic guard that sticks up in the back, adding to the overall size of the printer). The 940c supports both USB- and parallel-port connections (cables not included) and is Mac and PC compatible.

Setting up the DeskJet 940c is easy using the included CD-ROM. The Getting Started portion of the disc walks you through an animated setup guide and asks you if you have all the parts you need, shows you how to connect the printer cables and even explains the difference between USB and parallel ports.

The drivers are very basic, with just three tabs: Setup, Features, and Advanced. However, the printer does everything it should do, from double-sided printing to poster printing to advanced image adjustments. The CD also includes HP Photo Web, which lets you create an online photo album; HP Instant Delivery, which delivers news and information directly to your printer; and ArcSoft's Panorama Maker 2000, which lets you combine photos into a single image.

The DeskJet 940c's print-speed results in our Labs' tests -- 4.3ppm (pages per minute) on text and 1.1ppm on graphics -- were perfectly acceptable for a printer this affordable. However, similarly priced printers, such as the Canon S500 and the Epson Stylus C80, are faster. Unfortunately, it took the DeskJet 940c 7.3 minutes to print our test photo, making it one of the three slowest photo printers we've tested.

The DeskJet 940c did an excellent job printing our graphics test documents. On plain paper, the colour reproduction was good, and in spite of some visible dithering in the photographic elements, the overall effect was excellent. On HP's Premium Inkjet Paper, the graphics were even crisper and clearer, with less dithering and excellent colour matching. Text print quality, although good, was slightly less impressive. On both plain and inkjet paper, there was some fuzziness and stray dots around the edges of letters -- especially those in italics. The printer also had some problems with our 8 by 10in. test photo, as it made the flesh tones a bit too dark, while colours -- especially reds and blues -- were slightly too vibrant.

The DeskJet 940c is also a bit greedy with the ink. According to our calculations, a text page will cost you 4.6p and a colour page costs 11.5p That's high compared to many other inkjets, including several HP products.

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HP was the pioneer of inexpensive inkjet printing, and that kind of reputation brings valuable brand recognition and loyalty. If all you want is an inexpensive inkjet that excels at graphics printing, then the DeskJet 940c is an excellent choice. But if you like your inkjets more well-rounded, then check out Canon's S600 or Epson's Stylus Color 777i.

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