Thursday, December 27, 2007

HP Photosmart D7640 review *****

I stood in line at Staples for a couple of hours on black friday - one of my purchases was a portable Photo Printer, however when I opened it up a few days before christmas to set it up for all the photos we were going to take - I was extremely disappointed that it was a dye sub printer - I took it back to Staples and they were very nice about it, and went to look at all the photo printers they had - the portable cost 99$ with a 50$ rebate - I hadn't sent in the rebate yet - so I was off to find a printer that was about the same price.

I cornered a salesman and gave him two criteria - had to print 4x6 borderless, and must have separate ink tanks for each color. I was thinking Canon or Epson and was cringing mentally - since I had had poor experience in the past with those printer brands. We stopped in front of the HP D7640 - they had it on sale for 114$ - nice price - the logo on the front had wireless, and ethernet - and I was getting very interested - but still was thinking of the cartridge cost. when the salesman opened the front of the printer and I saw 5 separate color cartridges, and a larger black cartridge, I was sold.

Of course I asked how much the ink cost - he pointed out that the color cartridges cost 9 bucks each and the black a little more (15$?). In response to my query about the kind of carts that came with the printer - he said as I expected that they were sample cartridges and that I should buy a complete set of normal. I demurred and just picked up a 100 pack of their Staples brand "premium" photo paper and headed home.

When I looked at the cartridges as I was installing the printer they seemed to be little ink tanks only - and didn't have the little gold fingers that said print head. My mind instantly went to easy refilling - I plugged in the beast and stuck the SD card from the camera into the front of the printer, and used the built in touch screen to pick out a few pix and pritn them - Impressed right off on the ease of doing this, and the quality of the prints.

I stuck the cd in the drive, took all the defaults, it took quite a while and installed a LOT of software. I was expecting minimal stuff - but was greatly surprised when I opened that software for the first time - it was like a drummed down version of Picassa - it allowed you to tag photos and even put the pictures in reverse date order. HP is a class company and always seems to give you more than you need.

The printer even has a built in web page to get at the setups Bluetooth, 80211G wireless and the Ethernet.

I installed on the wife's Vista computer and went to bed - we started printing pictures on Christmas eve - and then most of the next day ( I do have about 3000 un-printed pictures). A hundred pack of paper later - I was impressed - the cartridges were all full except for a little down on the light pink cartridge.

Print time went from 10-15 seconds for pictures with little detail - up to about a minute for something with a lot of color and detail. The pictures printed on the Staples paper are just a tad tacky right away. The pictures printed on the HP paper are dry to the touch right after printing.

When you print on the HP paper - The print seem to be darker - but the color balance is much better. On the back of the paper is a little barcode - I wonder if the printer is seeing the paper type and changing its settings? I know that it complains about paper size when it gets to the HP paper in the stack. although you just click on ok and it gets all happy and still prints.

One of the cute things about the printer is the little 4x6 photo paper tray - it is separate from the 8x11 paper and you can watch it get sucked into the printer when you are using it.

The sample print on 8x11 paper takes no time at all - it is rated at 30 some prints a minute - with the color sample - it is done in just a few second - every thing impresses me about this printer. It is as fast as the HP laser jet 6 that I use for cheap black printing - and the prints looks a bit better to boot.

You really want to use the built in software to print bordless - I tried printing from windows and it didn't expand the picture to fill the 4x6 paper - but at least it still printed. I'll get the hang of that as I gain more experience with the printer I suppose.

Quick Prints - a few seconds for 8x11 simple prints - 10-60 seconds for bordless 4x6


  • Good cartridge life - 100 4x6 pictures and the ink meters said mostly full
  • Network printer - Don't have to leave a computer on to print
  • Good Software - easy to use - even the wife said it was easy.
  • Print From Memory card - the memory card even shows up on the network.
  • Touch Screen - no computer needed to print and gives better status messages when printing from a PC.


  • Nitpicky con - prints best on HP paper if a little dark.

So am I happy - Yes, it is exactly what I wanted and more that I expected. I give it a 5 out of 5.

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