HP Officejet 6000 Inverness

The 6000 is decked out in smart-looking black-and-white, with a sweeping curve to its corners and insets. The top cover is flat and punctuated only by an HP badge, while along the curved front edge are four status indicators for the cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks.

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HP Officejet 6000

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HP has been trying to encourage people to consider inkjet printers instead of low-end colour lasers, and with this in mind, it's added the Officejet 6000 to its range - a comparatively basic model, with none of the bells and whistles of the 6500. The cheapest of the two 6500s is about £130, whereas the 6000 is just £90.

The 6000 is decked out in smart-looking black-and-white, with a sweeping curve to its corners and insets. The top cover is flat and punctuated only by an HP badge, while along the curved front edge are four status indicators for the cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks. Below these are illuminated buttons for paper feed, job cancel and to turn on the printer's Ethernet port.

The simple design of the paper tray is the same as earlier HP models, though, in this case, the cover of the tray, which is also the machine's output tray, is only supported on the right-hand side. It's sufficiently rigid for this not to be a problem, and extends for printing until it's almost twice as deep as in its closed position.

This is a straight office printer, and there isn't a separate photo tray or any photo card slots. If you want to print pictures, you must do it from your Mac and load paper in the main tray. Lift the top cover and the print head carriage slides into view, so you can clip in the head followed by the four ink cartridges. The clip-in head and the twist-off seals to the ink cartridges look suspiciously like those found in Canon machines - Canon has long been responsible for many of HP's laser engine designs, so perhaps it lent a hand with the design of this inkjet, too.

This Officejet makes a lot of noise before it starts printing. It's presumably ensuring the ink system is fully charged, but it can delay the start of a print job by 20 seconds. It's hard to see why these heads should need so much more maintenance than previous models.

HP provides Photosmart Studio, HP Device Manager and a driver, which work well together to provide good control over printing. There's nothing particularly special about this bundle, though.

To be considered as an alternative to a budget colour laser, an office inkjet has to be quick and produce prints that are at least of equivalent quality. HP claims speeds of 31 pages per minute (ppm) for draft print and 7ppm for what it calls laser quality print, which is its top quality mode.

The machine defaults to normal mode and took one minute 23 seconds (7.23ppm) to print a 10-page black text document, so we're not going to argue with that print speed claim. When it comes to colour, though, a five-page black text and colour graphics document took one minute 15 seconds (4ppm). This is quite a bit slower than the rated speed, but is still not bad for a real-world throughput in a normal print mode.

A 15 x 10cm photo print took 49 seconds, though, and the machine took 19 seconds to process the image before it started to feed any paper. Even with this preparation time, the speed of a photo print is impressive, as is the quality of the image itself. Prints are very clean, with lots of fine detail including plenty in darker, shadowed areas of the image. Colour blends are smooth and natural, and colours themselves look faithful.

Colour business graphics are also smooth and dense, without the colours being overdone. Reversed white text on black is strong with no missing serifs, and black text is dense with no printer spatter, though it's not quite as sharp as text from a laser. We noticed a rather larger bottom margin from this printer, which chopped off a little of the footer text in our test document. The printer has a bottom margin of about 15mm.

Overall, this is a competent business inkjet, and better on running costs than many colour lasers costing a third as much again. However, when you compare it with the OfficeJet 6500, which has a scanner with Automatic Document Feed, fax, a duplexer and photo card slots, you really have to have a tight budget or no need for any of these features to opt for the Officejet 6000 instead.

Verdict

This stylish inkjet is easy to set up and produces good-looking prints.

Author: Simon Williams

HP Officejet 6000