The HP Officejet 6600 e-All-in-One colour inkjet multifunction (copy/scan/print/fax) printer is a puzzler, and a huge disappointment. Priced at £120, it's handsome, it has an easy-to-use LCD control panel, and it offers excellent performance as well as decent output. See alsoGroup test: What's the best inkjet printer?

However, for some bizarre reason HP has removed manual duplexing support from the HP Officejet 6600 e-All-in-One printer - a simple software feature that allows relatively easy two-sided printing on printers that lack an automatic duplexer - from the printer driver.

HP has also removed multi-up (thumbnail pages) and every other kind of layout from the print driver. Such features are so commonplace that many consumers just assume that they are available. Put simply: £120 for a multifunction that won't help you print two-sided to save paper? I think not. For the same amount as the HP Officejet 6600 e-All-in-One, you can buy a unit with automatic duplexing. See also: Group test: what's the best multifunction printer?

Still reading? The HP Officejet 6600 e-All-in-One would be a nice midvolume office unit if not for the stunted driver. It has a 250-sheet input tray, a 75-sheet output tray, and a 35-sheet automatic document feeder for the A4/letter-size scanner. Despite the ADF, though, I found no option in the control panel to scan or copy in duplex.

The HP Officejet 6600 e-All-in-One's LCD is an odd duck, but ultimately it is satisfying. It's not a touchscreen, but a press-screen (resistive): You must depress the covering lightly, as you would with a membrane keyboard, to register selections. Once you get used to it, the tactile feedback is pleasing.

Other than the hobbled driver, the HP-provided software is quite good. It supports push-scanning (scanning from the control panel to a PC), as well as printing across the Internet via the company's ePrint service.

In our tests, text output from the HP Officejet 6600 e-All-in-One was very nice - black and sharp. Photos printed to plain paper had a washed-out appearance. Glossy-paper photos exhibited a high level of contrast, which applied a slightly unrealistic cast to human faces; however, at least for nonhuman subjects, the high contrast evoked a sense of impact.

HP Officejet 6600 e-All-in-One: performance and running costs

The HP Officejet 6600 e-All-in-One is a good performer. In our tests, monochrome pages printed at 10 pages per minute on the PC and 9.6 ppm on the Mac. Snapshot-size (4-by-6-inch) photos printed to plain paper at 3.4 ppm and to glossy paper at about 1 ppm. Full page photos printed at 0.4 ppm, and copies exited quickly at 5.1 ppm.

As for consumables, the Officejet 6600 uses a four-cartridge ink system (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) that's basically average in cost with the regular-capacity supplies, but cheaper than most printers in this class when using the high-capacity cartridges.

The regular, £12 black cartridge lasts for 400 pages, for a slightly below-average cost of 3p per page, for instance. The cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges each last for 330 pages, but we couldn't find any available, at any price, using HP's own toner supplies gadget.

The £18 XL black, on the other hand, lasts for 1000 pages (1.2p per page), and the around £8 XL colour cartridges each last for 825 pages (just shy of 1p per page, per colour). Less than 5p for a four-colour page is quite inexpensive - although these prices are ex VAT (on the assumption that this is a business printer). The unit ships with starter-size cartridges, which are the regular-size cartridges with some extra ink slated for use during the initialization process.

Despite good performance and cheap high-capacity supplies, a £120 multifunction without any sort of duplexing support should be avoided (unless you actually want to double your paper usage, mailing costs, storage space, and such).

HP Officejet 6600 e-All-in-One Printer: Specs

  • Fax/copier/printer/scanner
  • Ink-jet colour (HP Thermal Inkjet)
  • Monthly Duty Cycle (max): 12000 impressions
  • 464x557x252mm
  • 7.8kg
  • Copying Resolution: Up to 600x600dpi (mono and colour
  • Max Document Enlargement: 400%, Max Document Reduction: 25%
  • Maximum Copies: 99
  • Max Printing Resolution: 600x1200dpi (mono)/4800x1200dpi (colour)
  • Scanning Optical Resolution: 1200dpi
  • Fax Machine: Max Transmission Speed: 33.6Kbps
  • Fax Resolutions: 300x300dpi
  • Total Memory Capacity: Up to 99 pages
  • Fax/copier/printer/scanner
  • Ink-jet colour (HP Thermal Inkjet)
  • Monthly Duty Cycle (max): 12000 impressions
  • 464x557x252mm
  • 7.8kg
  • Copying Resolution: Up to 600x600dpi (mono and colour
  • Max Document Enlargement: 400%, Max Document Reduction: 25%
  • Maximum Copies: 99
  • Max Printing Resolution: 600x1200dpi (mono)/4800x1200dpi (colour)
  • Scanning Optical Resolution: 1200dpi
  • Fax Machine: Max Transmission Speed: 33.6Kbps
  • Fax Resolutions: 300x300dpi
  • Total Memory Capacity: Up to 99 pages

OUR VERDICT

A complete lack of support for two-sided printing is a deal-killer for the HP Officejet 6600 e-All-in-One - an otherwise competent small-office multifunction.

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