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High-End Gear: HP Photosmart 7960 and Scanjet 4600


The photosmart 7960 and the scanjet 4600 are both very attractive devices. You might even think this compensates for their few failings.

In fact, the printer could benefit with some extra speed, cheaper cartridges and more effective retouching functions; the function for correcting red eyes needs revising. Moreover, though you can zoom in, you can't zoom out (when the images are not in the printer's supported formats, the edges overrun the frame) and it would be nice to have a function to retouch the levels of black, gray and white, or to correct white balance. The device could also be made smaller and the buttons on the front redesigned to match the printer better.

But what is really good is the quality of black and white photo prints, the powerful paper sensor, the quality of prints run from the computer and in standalone mode and, after all, the ergonomics of the menus, which are highly intuitive.

On the whole, in spite of all our criticisms, the photosmart 7960 will convince just about all users who will be able, more often than not, to dispense with their computer to do their printing.

Beautiful though it is, the scanjet 4600 was not so satisfactory. The quality of its scans does not match its appearance. In spite of its features and price, this device should be considered an entry-level one for run-of-the-mill jobs such as document reproduction and illustration, duplicating official documents, etc. We do not favor it for retouching lab photos. As we saw, even an entry-level Epson scanner, like the one in their multifunction device, does better.