HP Photosmart D7160
At a Glance
HP packs the Photosmart D7160 with everything you need to print photos, including the ability to print directly from a variety of media cards. HP also bundles its useful Photosmart Premier editing software and its Creative Templates for designing albums and other pieces.
The control panel that manages all of these features is easy to use. Though the symbolic labels are harder to understand than words, the buttons are arranged logically. A helpful touch: Basic tasks are covered in the Quick Start Guide. The design includes conveniences like an input tray that slides out to make loading paper easier. The output tray, which extends from the top of the input tray, is usable but quite flimsy.
Many nice details help this printer stand out a bit from the pack. You can adjust the 2.4-inch LCD's angle to anywhere between 0 and 90 degrees for viewing comfort. Handles on the printer's sides make it easy to move. The impressively comprehensive paper User Guide is actually better than the HTML-based guide. An optional automatic duplexer for double-sided printing costs $80.
In our tests, the Photosmart D7160 produced capable speeds and generally good print quality. It managed a midrange text-printing speed of 7.5 pages per minute, and it was among the fastest models in our March 2007 issue roundup at printing graphics and photos. Though the printer is equipped with six inks--black, yellow, light cyan, cyan, light magenta, and magenta--plain-paper prints of text and images were merely adequate: text looked charcoal gray rather than black, though it was generally crisp; colors appeared washed out and very grainy. Glossy paper improved matters, yielding smoother images and more-natural-looking colors, though dark areas lost detail.
In a sea of inkjet competitors, the Photosmart D7160 stands out for its conveniences and its superior photo prints. Though some comparable printers may cost less or print a little faster, this would still be a good buy.