Hewlett Packard Q7964 Ink Cartridge

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Good idea, falls short in practice

Oct 29, 2008 (Updated Oct 29, 2008)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Print output looks excellent, low price

Cons:Not enough ink for the paper, not cheaper than using regular carts and paper

The Bottom Line: Output is good, but buy regular cartridges and paper instead.


Home printing of digital pictures has gotten hugely popular in the last few years.  As an avid amateur photographer, I finally decided I needed to be able to do some of my own printing.  I purchased an HP D7460, which I've also reviewed on this site.  It uses the 02 inks in this review.

In this particular package, there is a full set of 02 inks.  The regular refill package does not include black, and costs a bit more.  This seems like a great deal at first, but these tanks do not contain the same amount of ink as a normal set.  The normal refills state what the ink amount is on the package, but these don't.  That's what detectives call a clue.  There has been some speculation online about the amount of ink that is in there (HP has dodged direct answers), but I don't totally trust anything I've heard.  Suffice to say, these are not full tanks and will not last as long as an ordinary set of 02 tanks.

Secondly, this package comes with 150 sheets of 4x6 Advanced photo paper.  This is the paper that HP recommends for my printer.  While dye sub printers (Canon and Kodak make snapshot dye-sub printers) can tell you exactly how many prints a cartridge will give, inkjet ones cannot.  I like HP's paper output from my printer, and I consider Advanced to be the best deal among their papers.  That said, I have not gotten close to finishing the paper included in the pack, though I've finished all the ink.  I will admit that I have done other printing (both photo and document), but I also didn't start with empty ink carts.  They make a bold claim on the package about how much each print costs, but you couldn't match that.  Using the printer as only a 4x6 picture station (and every model that uses 02 ink has a letter sized input tray) and printing overexposed pictures of light-colored rooms might make it, but regular snapshots won't.  Flesh tones, hair, and foliage use more ink than is afforded here.  Pictures with dark backgrounds could probably half the number of prints.  Most families who use the printer for childrens' reports and artwork as well as adult uses could probably see most of their paper unused but still need ink.

Some would argue that the smaller tanks are good for people who don't do much printing, and who might not finish the larger ones before they dry up.  That's a bad plan with HP printers that use 02 ink.  Replacing these carts DOES NOT replace the print head as some carts do, so the heads could be ruined if they dry.  I'm not sure how much it would cost to have a print head replaced.

I can understand why HP makes this.  They don't make a dye-sub printer and they want people to pick their inkjet equipment based on a low per-print photo price.  Kodak does exactly the same thing with their inkjets-advertise based on draft mode prints of light subjects.  The reality is that prints at home cost more than big-box mart lab prints.  That's not the end of the world.  Sometimes it's worth it to be able to print at home.  This package is cheap, but does not really offer cheaper prints than buying the regular 02 ink and a package of paper.


Recommend this product? No


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