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HP Deskjet 6980

At a Glance
  • HP DeskJet 6980 Inkjet Printer

    PCWorld Rating

In a time when inkjet printers tend to bristle with card slots, LCDs, and other fancy features, HP's Deskjet 6980 sticks to the basics. Its peppy overall speed and very respectable print quality suit it for a business-minded small or home office.

The Deskjet 6980 is a simple, rectangular printer with a flat 150-sheet input tray/50-sheet output tray combo that extends from the front. You flip up the cover of the input tray to insert or remove paper. The output tray's extensible stops are flimsy but essential, because the printer spits out paper with enough force to send the pages flying otherwise.

The control panel's buttons are very small and closely packed, increasing your likelihood of pressing the wrong one--which is already pretty high, given the sometimes confusing iconic labels. An interesting 'Quiet mode' button slows the printer to make it less noisy. A PictBridge port for printing directly from your camera sits discreetly on the front right.

The Deskjet 6980 printed pages quickly, and they looked good, too. The printer printed text on plain paper at a fast rate of 9.1 pages per minute; graphics and photos posted creditable times of 2.5 ppm and 1.4 ppm, respectively. Equipped with two ink cartridges--one black and one tricolor--the printer produced dark and very clean black text on plain paper. Photos looked grainy but natural. On glossy paper, photos seemed a little lighter but still very nice.

We liked all of the documentation and software that came with this printer. The Setup Guide is laid out well with big pictures and large type. The paper-based Reference Guide and HTML-based manuals are comprehensive. Software includes HP's Solution Center hints and tips on printing and links to online support and other resources. HP's Photosmart Premier (a decent photo-editing package) is another bundled item.

The Deskjet 6980 makes no effort to impress or overwhelm; it simply does its job well and fairly easily. It will serve your mainstream printing needs ably and can also print nice graphics and photos.

Melissa Riofrio

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The Deskjet 6980 delivers solid print performance without distracting or costly extras.

    Pros

    • Fast print speeds
    • Good print quality and documentation

    Cons

    • Control panel is hard to use
    • Output tray is flimsy
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