capsule review

HP PSC 1610 All-In-One

At a Glance
  • HP PSC 1610 All-In-One

    PCWorld Rating

HP PSC 1610 All-In-One
Photograph: Rick Rizner

Priced at just $130 the compact HP PSC 1610 All-In-One fits easily into cramped workspaces, yet still offers a number of useful features. It has the smallest footprint of the nine MFPs we tested for the June 2005 chart, measuring just 17.3 by 11.2 inches with the front paper tray closed. When flipped down, the tray can hold 100 sheets, and it does double-duty as the output tray.

Media card slots located to the left of the paper tray can read all the major formats, though uploading many images to a PC at once could be tiresome due to the slow USB 1.1 transfer speed. The monochrome backlit LCD screen displays two lines of text. To preview and print images when the PSC 1610 isn't connected to a PC, you can make an index print, mark your selections, and then scan the print. Alternatively, you can print from compatible digital cameras via the PictBridge port.

The PSC 1610 comes with a three-color cartridge and a pigment-based black ink cartridge (designed for better text quality). You can replace the latter with an optional photo-color cartridge containing light cyan, light magenta, and black inks. A fresh set of print heads is built into each cartridge, which in theory reduces the likelihood of clogged nozzles.

In prints that used the pigment black ink, text looked very sharp, though fine italics were noticeably fuzzy and closely spaced boldface characters tended to bleed together. Our line art print looked quite gray, and finely spaced parallel lines merged. Color graphics printed on plain paper showed good detail with plenty of contrast. For our photo printing tests, we stowed the black cartridge in a special slot under the cover and swapped in the photo cartridge. Photos printed with vivid colors, smooth gradations, and sharp details, but some slight narrow banding kept the 1610 from earning an Outstanding rating in this area.

Installing all 780MB of the included HP Image Zone software can take a while, but the well-organized printer and scanner drivers are worth waiting for. The included Iris OCR program turns scanned documents into editable text.

The 1610 scored above average for scan quality, and its photocopy quality matched that of the best-performing models. The 1610 scanned our 4-by-5-inch color image in 25 seconds, about 3 seconds slower than average. And its photocopy speed was the slowest of the bunch, taking 42 seconds to make a monochrome copy our letter-size document (the average time for the nine MFPs we tested was 23 seconds). Print speeds were slow as well: 4.9 ppm for text versus an average of 6.2 ppm, and 1.4 ppm for graphics versus an average of 1.7 ppm. As on most of the models we tested, the lid removes easily for scanning books or other bulky originals.

The compact HP PSC 1610 is slower than average, but its extensive software and high-quality prints make it a great value.

Paul Jasper

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This model has a low price for high print quality overall. It's fast at printing photos, but slow at copying.

    Pros

    • High quality photo output
    • Extensive software bundle

    Cons

    • Bold text output sometimes bled together
    • Slower than average print speeds
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