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Ink Cost for the Deskjet 5550 has *Increased*

Last response: in Computer Peripherals
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September 7, 2002 3:22:24 AM

The first page of the Deskjet 5550 review reads in regards to the ink cartridges, "The downside is that they do not last as long, but costs per page have nonetheless dropped."

The review seems to convey the idea that the cost per page has dropped compared to the previous generation of Deskjet printers, namely the 900 series. This notion appears to be flawed.

If you visit http://www.hpshopping.com and look for the HP 45 black ink cartridge (51645A), you'll notice that the cartridge contains 42mL of ink. The HP 45 black cartridge is used in the majority of the 900-series Deskjet printers, except for the Deskjet 920C and 940C. This cartridge contains 42mL of ink and costs US$29.99. This translates to about $0.71 per mL.
The new Deskjet 5550 printer uses the HP 56 black ink cartridge (C6656AN). The cartridge contains only 19mL of ink, yet costs $19.99. Again, with some simple math, each mL costs about $1.05. Clearly, the HP 56 cartridge costs more per mL than the previous generation of Deskjet printers. So how can the cost per page have dropped?

Same thing with the color cartridges. The HP 78 tri-color cartridge (C6578DN) used in the Deskjet 900-series costs $34.99 and its volume is 19mL. The HP 57 tri-color cartridge (C6657AN) used in the Deskjet 5550 costs the same $34.99 but contains 17mL of ink. Again, we see the same thing: the cost per mL is higher than the previous generation of cartridges.

Unless the Deskjet 5550's driver or hardware has been updated to allow the printer to use less ink while achieving the same print quality, I can't see how the cost per page has gone down.
September 7, 2002 7:25:44 AM

THG completely missed reviewing the durability of the ink. So what if the ink is cheap but only lasts a when the photo is on display. Seems to me that printing photos with non-pigmented inks is a real waste of money. How about taking a look at how long the printed page lasts. I don't see how THG can justify this review without looking at the durability of the printed page. If the print starts to look poor after only a week on display then I would call this very expensive ink indeed. THG is doing a great disservice to your viewers until THG starts including ink longevity with all of THG printer reviews. How about a durability review on all of the inks that are available today?
September 7, 2002 12:38:43 PM

From what I've read, the new #56 black has higher resolution than the ancient #15/#45 black. In fact, black is only used for plain text/plain paper modes. In most photo and other hi-res printing, it is NOT used. Composite black (mixed colors) is used instead.

Does anyone know if the new printers are now using the black cartridge for all printing? That could actually reduce costs a bit as you are no longer using as much color.

The only way to truly test this is to compare a 9xx (NOT a 92x/94x!) and one of the newer ones. Put in a fresh set of cartridges. Keep printing the same mixed set of text and photos over and over until something runs out.

As far as the review, I don't like the way they dismiss the problem where they had to uninstall/reinstall drivers. HP is notorious for flakey drivers that just start acting up for no reason.

I should mention I have an HP 970, and have had no problems with it (Win2K, parallel port), so far.
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September 7, 2002 9:35:11 PM

Yes, the new HP 56 black cartridge has more nozzles (416 total compared to 300 for the HP 45), fires at higher frequencies (up to 18kHz compared to 15kHz), and supports 1200 x 1200 dpi (compared to 600 x 1200 dpi) but the ink cost has gone up significantly.

According to the HP documents I've read, the HP 45 black cartridge is used during high-resolution color printing.

Here's a table with information on PhotoREt technologies and as you can see, PhotoREt III uses four inks, that is CYMK. The six colors used by PhotoREt IV is CYM, light C, light M, and K.

PhotoREt PhotoREt II PhotoREt III PhotoREt IV
Number of color inks 6 | 4 | 4 | 6
Drop volume 50 pl and 35 pl | 10 pl | 5 pl | 4-5 pl
Drops per dot (on photo media) 4 | 16 | 29 | 32
Levels of shades of color 4 | 13 | 17 | 289
Number of colors 48 | 650 | 3,500 | 1.2M +

I sincerely doubt that the HP 45 black cartridge would be left unused by the printer during color printing. It defies logic. One of the reasons a two-cartridge printer was developed was so that composite would not have to be used during color printing. The independent black cartridge also speeds up printing significantly.
September 11, 2002 5:53:51 PM

Very little has changed on ink costs. The 5550 was designed to have a 150 dollar price point. This makes it comparable to the deskjet 940 which also had high ink costs. I'd bet there is going to be a similar printer to the 5550 (same styling and new features) that costs about 200 dollars and will use larger ink cartridges.

I don't see any scandal going on here. As always if you want to print a lot, don't buy the entry level printer. (the 5550 IS the entry level for that series).

Chris

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by bemybear on 09/11/02 01:55 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
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