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High-End Gear: HP Photosmart 7960 and Scanjet 4600

Hp Photosmart 7960

Your first encounter with the photosmart 7960 is bound to be visual. Its size inclines you to think it works in A3 format but, no, it doesn't. But you get over that quickly when you look at its features. For those who are familiar with hp goodies, the 7960 combines the best of their deskjet desktop printers with the best of the photosmart photo printers. Plus some innovations. For instance, it comes with both the black deskjet cartridge and the photosmart photo cartridge. It has the paper sensor from the former and the card reader from the latter. What's more, it can correct your pictures for you.

Paper Sensor

First, another word about that wonderful and indispensable paper sensor that the competition has wisely imitated. Though we may find fault with hp in many ways (as we do later on), this particular feature has our wholehearted approval.

It means you hardly need the driver. As its name implies, it detects the type of paper used - matt, glossy, draft, transparent - and adjusts print resolution accordingly. You won't trip it up - it is really precise and efficient, and it will save you both time and money. The printouts are always the best possible, so you no longer need to proceed by costly trial and error on photo paper at a dollar a sheet.


The printer is compatible and supplied with four cartridges: black (56), photo (58), color (57) and gray (59). But there are only three compartments inside it.

The one on the left can only take cartridge 58 (Photo).
The middle one is for color (57).
The one on the right can take either 56 (black) or 59 (gray).

So you see you have to switch all the time: fit the black for printing text and then change it to gray for printing photos. The idle cartridge is not forgotten though - the printer itself has a built-in compartment to store cartridges that are not in use.