by January 4, 1999 0 comments

The DJ 400, which we first previewed at San
Diego last August, and which came to India in late 1995, is a compact desktop inkjet–HP”s
cheapest ever. It’s aimed at markets where the DeskJet Portable is used as a desktop
because it is the cheapest HP inkjet going. HP took its popular portable, removed the
portability features (including the battery and other frills) and made this a personal
inkjet printer with a street price of Rs 10,000.

Now HP is shipping the DJ 200 from May 1, the quickest
“upgrade” ever to a printer, within months of introducing the DeskJet 400 (and
just a week after we bought three DJ 400s at PCQ).

The DJ 200 looks, feels and performs exactly like the DJ
400, uses the same optional color cartridge, and will cost the same.

So what”s new about the DJ 200? In essence, it uses a
cheaper black cartridge–about Rs 900 for 500 pages.

There”s also some very capable software with ColorSmart
controls and an ink-saving EconoFast setting. This works perfectly well with the older DJ
400, so if you”d bought one of those, get a software upgrade, if you can.

There”s intelligent two-way communication: try printing in
grayscale with the color cartridge installed, and your PC will warn you and a cute inkdrop
character will look animated, happy or sad depending on the printer status and errors.
It”s a little too dominating–if you want to print a black-text document with the
color cartridge installed, sorry, you”ll be nagged until you change back. But it works
very well, and is dummy-proof for novice or home users.

Print quality is good with text and line-art, and the
EconoFast mode is a useful and effective ink-saver. EconoFast isn’t usable with
photos.

Hewlett-Packard DeskJet 200.

Personal desktop inkjet printer. 300
dpi. Mono; optional three-color cartridge. 50-sheet tray, plus manual straight-through
feed.
Features: Low-cost black cartridge. Optional color. ColorSmart
software with 150 dpi ink-saver draft setting. Works with transparencies and envelopes.
Price: Rs10,900 list.
Summary: A compact, well-designed inkjet printer that’s now
cheaper to run. The upgrade is minor, but it’s very good value for the home or for
personal use at office.
Vendor: Hewlett-Packard India Ltd, Paharpur Business Centre, 21 Nehru
Place, New Delhi 110019 Tel: 11-6472351, 6472328-30, 6472355 Fax: 11-6461117

With the same mechanism as the DJ 400, this printer
too is susceptible to dust. This results in erratic paper feed and makes the paper path
prone to jams. You need to keep it well-covered when not in use. However, the
straight-through manual-feed slot (for thicker paper and transparencies) always works.

We wondered if this “breakthrough” black
cartridge could plug into the older DJ 400. It couldn’t, thanks to a little plastic
tab that HP has cleverly built on the new cartridge to mate with a notch in the DJ
200’s holder. So if you”re a DJ 400 user, you”re apparently stuck with the older
cartridges.

Overall, this is a very low cost inkjet that gives you good
and cheap black text, and a color option. Very good value.

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