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An inkjet printer is a compact and I would say essential addition to any home computer setup, and HP make, in my experience, the best home and home office inkjet printers.
As you may or may not know, unlike laser printers which work by effectively burning an image of the data to be printed onto the paper (usually by means of a "fuser unit"), inkjet printers work by spraying ink directly onto the paper through a specialised nozzle which paints the data as it goes along. Inkjet printers are generally much cheaper than laser printers and more suitable for home use.
The HP Deskjet 845c is a typical HP (Hewlett-Packard) inkjet printer. It is light, has an attractive shape and simple light grey colour, is easy to install and fairly cheap to buy (ours was in the region of £100). It will print sizes of paper up to and including A4 (you can also adjust it to print A5, Letter, Envelopes etc.)
The printer is a doddle to install. It comes with its own software CD and connects to your PC via a USB cable. Installation really just involves plugging it in to make your PC operating system detect it, and installing the printer software on the CD. Our CD had version 3.4 of the software on it, which is compatible with Windows 98, Windows Me and Windows 2000 (you should find tht it installs without any problems on Windows XP).
The printer software features the ability to re-align print cartridges, test the printer by doing test prints and many other features which you can use if you need to troubleshoot it. Personally, I haven't found any problems with the printer itself. The only problems encountered were with rogue cartridges (non-branded), a few of which were missing yellow or missing magenta etc. etc. and which produced some "interesting" results!
Provided your cartridges are okay, you shouldn't have any problems with the printer. If you do, there are a number of straightforward troubleshooting tips included with the software which you can follow easily.
The printing speed is about 9 pages per minute, which is perfectly adequate. Laser printers are more useful for office environments where quick printing of very large documents can be important. For home use, however, the speed of inkjet printers such as this is more than enough.
Cartridges for most inkjet printers are fairly expensive, and I've resorted to buying some non-branded ones which are compatible with the printer. These days, HP printers carry a helpful sticker on the front to tell you which type of catridge you need to use for them. Most of the non-branded cartridges I've bought have been fine, but as I stated above, you do need to be careful and you will occasionally get a slightly dodgy one! The printer must hav a black cartridge installed to work, and or colour printing you will also (obviously) need a colour cartridge installed. Installing the catridges is easy- when you open the lid, the catridge holder automatically comes out and places itself ready for you to take out the old cartirdges and put the new ones in. As simple as that!
The quality of the printing is generally very good indeed. The printer can operate in one of three quality modes- Draft (for when you're just printing something unimportant or for reference- or if you just want to save ink), Normal (somewhat better quality) and Best. You should be careful when taking prints from the printer after printing in Best mode, as the volume of ink used is greater and you will need to wait for it to dry to avoid smudging.
The printer also produced good quality photo printouts if you use the Best mode. Of course, you will need to use proper photo paper to make the photo print out properly. As a general rule, inkjet print quality increases with the quality of the paper you are using, and the HP deskjet 845c is no exception. I would recommend a paper weight of about 100 gm2 (100 grams per square metre) which is fairly good quality.
The printer is fairly quiet, and unlike some inkjets (particularly models from a few years back and some cheaper ones available today) doesn't seem to have that irritating habit of grabbing more than one sheet of paper at once (usually when you have your back turned!). Fanning the bundle of paper before placing it in the tray also helps of course.
If you should run out of paper halfway through a printout, it will make a polite "I haven't got any paper" noise and you can then quickly put some more in. Press the flashing green button and away you go- I've never had a job messed up or cancelled because of that oversight, which is always a plus.
In summary then, this is a very dependable little printer that quiely gets on with its job and very rarely has any problems. Recommended!
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