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HP DeskJet 9670 Review

DT Recommended Product

Highs

  • Wide-format
  • printer with photo-printing capabilities and two-sided printing

Rating

Our Score 8
User Score 4.2

Lows

  • Expensive
  • ink cartridges will go fast when printing on large format paper
The versatile 9670 is great at what it does but comes with a high price tag.

Summary

The versatile 9670 is great at what it does but comes with a high price tag. We had a tough time deciding exactly what environment (business, home office or personal) this printer would fit into. HP states that the 9670 is great for businesses, creative professionals and photography enthusiasts.   In a business environment where only black text documents are used this printer would be overkill.  The business that utilizes large spreadsheets and requires color printing will find the HP 9670 fits the bill perfectly.

In the personal printer market, the 9670 reproduces true-to-life photos from small to the really large and has the capability to spit out text documents quickly.  The high price tag may make the casual home user opt for a printer of a lesser scale unless large formats are desired.  You really need to desire the wide-format options for this to be the printer for you.

We view the HP9670 as a niche printer with its high-speed black text printing to the faithful reproductions of graphics and photos and large media capability. These capabilities allow it to span several bridges and become a jack-of-all-trades.

Other points to consider are the multiple print options that allow the end user to select optimal print speed, optimal speed and quality or optimal quality.  The versatility in ink cartridges allows you to use four-ink (HP56 black and HP57 tri-color cartridges) for everyday printing of text, images and graphics and six-ink (HP58 photo and HP57 tri-color cartridges) for photo printing.  The features and benefits of the 9670 such as the ink backup mode, automatic paper-type sensor and the powerful software tools make this a well executed, user friendly ink jet printer.

*Edit 10-30-03: We had the price originally listed at $599.99 but found out after the review that the price is actually $499.99. We have changed the price accordingly. Sorry for any confusion this may have caused.

Introduction

The HP 9670 is a high performance, wide-format ink jet printer with photo printing and two-sided printing capabilities.  It is marketed towards small business or home office users with a creative flare, but has features that would make it a good fit for large format color printing enthusiasts.  This unit can handle documents from envelopes all the way to 13inch by 19inch paper (SuperB).

Design

As this is a wide-format printer, it has a big footprint.  It measures out at 23w x 18d x 7h.  This may be an issue with some home office users where desk space is at a premium.  The cabinet design is pleasing to the eye with its rounded corners and edges.  Most inkjet paper trays have a flimsy feel and often break with use, but the trays and opening doors on the 9670 have a strong sturdy feel when handled.  The input paper tray is clearly labeled for a multitude of paper widths.  A sliding tab is provided to ensure the paper is feed straight and true and also expands to accommodate paper sizes longer than letter size (A4, Legal, B4, A3, 11X17 and 13X19).  Similar to the input tray, the output tray has a manual paper guide slider as well as being extendable to accommodate longer paper and it tilts upward for easy access to the input tray below.  The top cover is frosted with a central clear window directly over the print heads.  Status and interaction (see Fig. 1) with the unit is via the lit power button, lit resume button, cancel button and two printer cartridge indicators.

Fig 1. HP 9670 User Controls 1

Features

Installing the HP 9670 was extremely easy.  The poster size setup sheet made the exercise fool proof. Included in the box was the instruction manual, the aforementioned setup poster, driver CD and power cord.  The software interface was very easy to understand and we were pleased to have a choice of not installing the HP photo software.  The photo software does incorporate new features and it may be worthwhile to take a look. One that caught our attention was the borderless photo printing and the booklet printing features.  The 9670 supports both parallel and USB connections and is both PC (Windows 98 and above) and Mac (OS X) compatible.  Wireless connectivity can be had with the optional HP Jet Direct wireless print server.

New features for this unit are:

  • Fast Results – Black and white documents at 20 PPM and color at 15PPM
  • Fade Resistant photos – HP uses a specially formulated photo ink (HP 58 Photo Ink) that produces long lasting (up to 73 years) photos when printed on HP Premium Plus photo paper.
  • Flexible border printing – Choose to cover the entire surface of your print media.
  • Cost savings – Save money on supplies by printing your documents on both sides using the automatic two-sided printing accessory (Standard on the 9670).
  • Variety of media – With the built in paper type sensor you can eliminate the need to change paper type and print quality settings when special media is used.
  • Low printer ink feature – Complete a print job even when one of the print cartridges runs out of ink by printing with the remaining cartridge.
  • Print cartridge status – Left and right print cartridge lights blink to indicate when ink is low.
  • Reduce power usage – Utilizes a power saver mode and auto-on printing
  • Crisp, laser-quality black text and vibrant color – Professional print quality up to 1200 x 1200 dpi (black text) and 4800-optimized dpi with PhotoREt IV (color).

Performance

All tests were timed with a stopwatch.  Timing started when the click-to-print button was clicked and stopped when printing was complete and the paper on the output tray.

Test 1:

The first round of tests for the 9670 were to time the printing of a typical 10 page MS Word document (black text, no graphics).  We used typical office inkjet printer paper and the HP56 and HP57 ink cartridges.

MS Word Test 10 Page document results

Print Quality

Elapsed Time

Fast Draft

1 Minute 9 Seconds

Fast Normal

1 Minute 57 Seconds

Normal

2 Minutes 30 Seconds

Fast Draft – Two-sided printing

3 Minutes 9 Seconds

Fast Normal – Two-sided printing

4 Minutes 24 Seconds

Normal – Two-sided printing

6 Minutes 57 Seconds

All six copies of the document presented crisp black text.  The text was solid black with no fading or hollow spots.  In the Fast Draft mode, the 9670 was very fast and as such, the text was obviously lighter but perfectly readable.  There seems to be little trade off with this setting and it is a nice balance of speed and quality.  The 9670 automatic duplex unit performed the two-sided printing without problems.  The money saved in paper supplies is worth the extra wait and certainly beats doing the job manually.

Test 2:

Second round testing involved a typical business MS Excel spreadsheet.  This spreadsheet is in a large 11×17 format and includes color charts and graphs as well as a typical operating statement.  Paper used was 11×17 typical office inkjet printer paper and the HP56 and HP57 ink cartridges.

MS Excel 11×17 spreadsheet results

Print Quality

Elapsed Time

Fast Draft

50 Seconds

Fast Normal

1 Minute 21 Seconds

Normal

2 Minutes 20 Seconds

The 9670 performed all 3 jobs very fast and with excellent quality.  All graphs and charts were of good color contrast with no bleed and the text was nice and crisp.  The edges of the charts were well formed and smooth and no banding was evident in any of the print quality settings.

Test 3:

Third round testing involved printing of color photos. We installed the HP58 photo ink cartridge and HP Premium Glossy Photo paper. HP included a Sample photo CD that contained images intended for large formats.  We chose the 11×17 image of a beautiful alpine mountain and lake.  Maximum DPI, best print quality, borderless printing and HP Premium Glossy 11×17 photo paper were selected.

Print Quality

Elapsed Time

Best

51 minutes

The results were simply stunning.  The long print time was offset by the quality of the print.  All edges were crisp and smooth with no jaggedness and there was no evidence of ink blurriness or bleed.  We shared the print with several other people and all stated that it was a great print and the color quality was very good.  The print was viewed under incandescent and fluorescent lighting with no visible change of quality.

Phase two, of round three testing, involved printing a family photo on 8×11 and 4×6 print media.  Again, we used the HP58 photo ink cartridge and HP premium photo paper.

Media size

Print quality

Elapsed time

8×11

Best

6 minutes

4×6

Best

3 minutes

The 9670 performed admirably again.  The quality of both prints was beautiful.  As in the 11×17 print, no banding or jaggedness was found and all edges were smoothly reproduced.  Again, these prints were evaluated under different lighting situations and by multiple people.  All subjects provided favorable reviews of the quality of the prints.

Printer Supplies

The length of time ink cartridges last are always a concern and HP has addressed this with a utility called myPrintMileage.  This consists of a program that runs in the background and monitors your printer usage information, such as ink and media usage patterns, and then autosends this to the myPrintMileage website.  This can help you plan your purchase of supplies.  The myPrintMileage consists of two parts:

- myPrintMileage website

- myPrintMileage AutoSend

From the myPrintMileage website, you can find out the following information about your printer:

- The amount of ink that has been used. myPrintMileage forecasts how many print cartridges you might use in one year.

- Whether you use more black or color ink.

- The average quantity of media you use per month for each media type.

- The number of pages that have been printed and the estimated number of pages that can be printed with the amount of ink remaining.

The website also provides:

- Links to third-party utilities and software.

- Information on the latest digital printing tools, such as Bluetooth and infrared printing.

- Printing tips.

To access the website, click myPrintMileage on the Information tab in the printer toolbox that sits in your system tray.

myPrintMileage AutoSend is a utility that periodically updates your printer usage information to the myPrintMileage website.  This will provide you with a closer forecast of your printer usage.

This utility will be enabled on your system if you accept the terms in the disclaimer on the software installation screen.  The ability to turn AutoSend off is available as well.

The requirements of using myPrintMileage are:

- The Toolbox installed.

- An Internet connection.

- The printer connected.

The current pricing for replacement ink cartridges are (as found of the HP printer supplies website):

HP56 Black $19.99

HP57 Tri-Color $34.99

HP58 Photo $24.99

Support

The 9670 comes standard with a one-year, return-to-HP, limited hardware warranty, which includes 24-hour, 7-days-a-week phone support.  In addition, upgraded service and support options are available, including installation and maintenance support and extended and on-site warranties.

The HP Customer Care program (http://www.hp.com/go/support) provides excellent support as well.  It provides customers with free, one-stop access to technical support.

Conclusion

The versatile 9670 is great at what it does but comes with a high price tag. We had a tough time deciding exactly what environment (business, home office or personal) this printer would fit into. HP states that the 9670 is great for businesses, creative professionals and photography enthusiasts.   In a business environment where only black text documents are used this printer would be overkill.  The business that utilizes large spreadsheets and requires color printing will find the HP 9670 fits the bill perfectly.

In the personal printer market, the 9670 reproduces true-to-life photos from small to the really large and has the capability to spit out text documents quickly.  The high price tag may make the casual home user opt for a printer of a lesser scale unless large formats are desired.  You really need to desire the wide-format options for this to be the printer for you.

We view the HP9670 as a niche printer with its high-speed black text printing to the faithful reproductions of graphics and photos and large media capability. These capabilities allow it to span several bridges and become a jack-of-all-trades.

Other points to consider are the multiple print options that allow the end user to select optimal print speed, optimal speed and quality or optimal quality.  The versatility in ink cartridges allows you to use four-ink (HP56 black and HP57 tri-color cartridges) for everyday printing of text, images and graphics and six-ink (HP58 photo and HP57 tri-color cartridges) for photo printing.  The features and benefits of the 9670 such as the ink backup mode, automatic paper-type sensor and the powerful software tools make this a well executed, user friendly ink jet printer.