Recommend this product?
The HP 1606 is a fast enough, individual desk top black and white laser printer, that is networkable and can be shared among computers. It is not an all in one. It does not fax, and cannot be used as a copier. It prints!!! For a business machine, it has a relatively low duty cycle, and is not intended for heavy use.
It is easy to set up. It is networkable, but is not wireless. It has some nice features (such as full duplex) Compared to other products out there, the main advantage is the HP name. Everyone knows how handle an HP printer. If you have trouble connecting to a network, any IT person can do this for you. The main disadvantage is the 3.7 cost per page of consumables. There are other printers (Samsung ML-2851ND and Brother HL 5340HD, for exampe) in the market that that have a cost per page closer to 2 cents a page. In the long run, these will save money, no matter how cheap the HP 1606 is.
I'm giving this a qualified 4*. It is easy to set up, works well and has a nice feature set. If the printing cost per page were lower, it would be a 5 star product. As it is, it's a great product for certain people. See below.
Who Should Buy this Printer
This is a low-end business printer. It competes with printers going for $200 ish (less on sale). As of today (July 13, 2011), you can obtain this for $109 delivered by ordering from the HP site, it is less expensive to get up and running than the competition. You should consider this printer if:
1. You have little technical expertise -- It's VERY easy to set up.
2. Your IT person recommends HP because that's what they know how to set up. Maybe all printers in the office are HP. Buying something out of IT's comfort zone will cost you money in the long run.
3. You don't print a lot of copies. The recommended monthly volume is 250-2000 pages (with a maximum usage cycle of 8000 pages). This sounds like a lot and for a single user may be. For a networked machine shared by many users, you'd be amazed how fast pages add up. If you're going to exceed this regularly, you want a more durable printer. Even if you're going to print as little as 500-1000 or so pages a month, look for la printer with a lower cost per page if you can. However, if you're closer to the 250-500 page per month usage (say a ream of paper), this is a nice printer at a nice price.
In the Box
The box contains: (1) the Printer; (2) a power cable and (3) a starter toner cartridge/drum unit (supposedly good for about 1000 pages); (4) set up instructions; and (5) a set up CD. The unit has a printer USB output (for connection to your computer) and an Ethernet Port (for connection to a server or a router), but does come not with the cables. You can get these cables for less than $5 on Amazon, or $20 or so at Staples, so it's not a big deal, but you will need to have the appropriate cable handy to set up the printer.
Set up was easy. There is both a manual (in many languages) with pictures, as well as quick start instructions. If you've ever set up a printer before, you probably won't even need the instructions. Basically, unwrap the printer, remove the tape that kept the parts from rattling around in shipment. "Activate" the toner (basically, remove a plastic strip), and snap on the paper trays, and the printer is ready to go.
Then, plug the power cord into both the printer and the wall, and a printer USB cable into a USB port of the printer and your PC.
(or ethernet cable if networking).
Next, put the CD into the computer (by the way, if you don't have a CD player -- you can download the contents of this disk from the internet), and follow the instructions. Note, I did not 'network' with ethernet cable, but the instructions walk you through the process, I read through the manual (also on the CD) and it looks as though it's just as simple as the PC set up.
All told -- 20 minutes +/- from start to finish and you're printing.
One disappointment, Windows automatically recognizes many plug and play printers. My XP Pro did not automatically recognize this (probably because it's a new model) not a big deal though, with the set up disk.
Buying Factors -- Printer Considerations in more detail.
So,when searching for a printer, what factors should you consider?
1. Brand Name -- Do you care? More to the point, in a business setting, does your IT department care? Saving $50 or so on a printer is a false savings if it takes an extra two hours of IT time to set it up because the IT provider has never seen this model before. This Printer -- In fact, this is the main reason I bought the HP 1606. I have a desk top in NY, and use a remote desktop for another office all the time. I could not print from the remote desktop with my old printer. IT said -- buy this machine, they know how to set it up, so there I go.
2. Price/Cost Per Page -- The price (from the HP Website) is $109 deivered, which is about half or two-thirds of the price of the competition. BUT -- and this is important, in considering whether to get a printer, one needs consider both the cost of the printer and the cost of operation (e.g., the price of a toner cartridge divided by the number of pages you get from a cartridge. For example, consider 2 printers -- one has a 4 cent cost per page the other has a 2 cent cost per page, and you expect to print 2000 pages per month. The printer with the 2 cent cost per page is $40 per month cheaper to run ($480 a year). If the 2 cent a page costs $300, it really wouldn't matter if they were giving the other one to you for free overall, the operating cost will swamp any savings. If you're a light user, say 2000 pages a year, this is less of an issue. This Printer --This is a serious drawback of the HP1606 and is the main reason that many should look for another machine. As stated above, the Samsung and Brother competitive models have a cost per page of about 2 cents vs 3.7 cents for this model. Note -- This printer has a 3.7 cent cost per page is based on the official HP Toner cartridges. You can find 'third party' toner cartdridges for less than half the price. I've generally had good experiences here for home printing. I doubt I'd take the risk for a business machine.
3. Major Features. Do you need a 'networkable' printer? Do you need a 'wireless' printer? If you need it and don't have it, you will be frustrated, and may have bought a useless machine.The same with features like fax, copying, scanning. This Printer. The printer is what it is, a basic printer that is networkable and prints. That's what it was designed for.
4. Other Features.
a. Speed -- This Printer. At a rated speed of 26ppm, the HP 1606, lags behind many $200 printers. However, it is much better than most printers in the $100 range. Also, the rating may be somewhat misleading, in published tests, it has outperformed printers with higher 'rated' speeds. Generally, I am happy with the speed. This will be fine.
b. Duty Cycle This means the maximum recommended usage per month (as opposed to the 'recommended usage, see above, which is a much lower number) -- This Printer. 8000 pages per month puts this printer low end of business printers. It's really a light business machine. Though networkable, it is not really suitable to be shared by many users who do even a moderate amount of printing each day. However, the duty cycle is better than many home printers or ink-jet printers.
c. Duplex Printing -- Quite simply, it means that the printer can be set to automatically print on two sides of the page. This is a nice feature, it saves on paper, and is particularly nice if you plan on taking documets with you (half the paper is half the weight). This Printer. Can be set for duplexing -- also will reset the margins so you can bind the results.
d. Print Quality -- This Printer. I've never found a laser printer where the print quality isn't great. No excepton here.
e. Graphics -- This Printer. I note in passing, that the reputation is that this printer is the low end of quality for graphics -- not a concern for me. If you do a lot of power point (but then you want a color printer, right?) it may be an issue.
f. Paper Tray -- basically, how much paper can be loaded at a single time. This Printer. You can load 250 sheets of paper in the tray (up to legal size). Also the output tray can handle about 150 sheets. For a desk-top light use printer (with recommended 2000, maximum 8000 page usage per month), this generally should be sufficient.
g. Energy Star. This Printer. If you care about such things, ithe HP 1606 is energy star qualified, which makes it a better than average choice environmentally.
h. Warranty This Printer. 12 months, and HP will pick up the shipping both ways.
It's a fast enough, basic printer, easy to set up with a few nice features. The biggest downsides are the cost per page (which, frankly is huge) and the low usage cycle (which limits who should buy the printer). However, it is recommended for certain groups of users. If you fall into one of these groups, you should be happy overall.
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Amount Paid (US$): 109
Operating System: Windows