[Review] HP Ink Advantage K209a: makes perfect cents

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Dollars. Cents. The Ringgit. The Pocket. When it comes to printing and the trail of consumables that follow, cost over medium to long term is a major concern when considering a printer purchase. The trend by manufacturers has generally been to lower cost of ownership by offering printers for dirt-cheap prices, then profit from consumables and accessories. So what if there existed a workhorse that was cheap to buy, then even cheaper to run? What if this printer with its special ink technology could print up to 600 pages per cartridge? Read on.

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Global printing leader HP has done just that with its all-new HP Ink Advantage System, featuring its innovative ultra low-cost, high capacity ink system, which launched recently at the Curve. Complementing this ink system are the new HP Deskjet Ink Advantage K209a and HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 2060 All-in-One printers.

I was given a K209a test unit for a few days.

Installation

Installing the K703 ink cartridges was effortless. The bundled installer CD contained the necessary drivers and print utility. Installed without a cinch on my MacBook Pro running Mac OS X 10.6.7. Within minutes I was already printing my first test page. What I noticed is that printing performance is snappy. While the printer is a little frantic and noisy as it picks up the paper and rolls it in, the speed and quality is certainly welcomed. I tested using different settings, first using fast draft in black and white, then gradually building up to fast draft, then quality print in colour.

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HP Ink Advantage System K703
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Performance

Fast drafts in black and white were very quick to print, but blacks were desaturated, for obvious reasons. Great for printing notes and plain text documents. Fast draft is better for general documents. Quality prints took up longer time to print but offered much crisper and sharper text and color vibrant, even on plain paper. I didn’t get a chance to test it on photo quality paper, but as far as my experience with HP printers over the years, I expect that to be top notch.

HP K209a Inkjet Printer
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I didn’t have 600 pages of documents to print, however, HP’s internal claims with page yields for the black cartridge are to industry standards (ISO/IEC 24711). Under the ISO 24711 testing guidelines, a standard set of five 8 1/2 x 11 pages is printed continuously until the cartridge reaches end-of-life. ISO standard page are used only as a starting point for comparison purposes, and not to predict the actual yield the HP printer and cartridge. Actual yield varies considerably based on the content of printed pages, frequency of printing, ink used in printer set-up and other factors. HP has a separate yield standard for photo printing.

Regardless, 600 pages per cartridge is impressive. What’s more impressive is the price of both the black and tri-colour ink cartridges in the Ink Advantage Series (HP703 / HP704) a value-for-money RM27 (RRP). Very light on the pocket. Perfect for home and SOHO use.

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HP K209a Inkjet
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Verdict

Where the Deskjet K209a printer is concerned, I’m pretty impressed with it as an AIO (All-in-One). I currently use a HP OfficeJet 5610 in the office which has fax functions built-in. While the K209a lacks telephony, it is still a good entry-level all-rounder. If you’re in the market for an affordable AIO printer, give the Deskjet K209a and Deskjet K2060 with HP Ink Advantage System a shot. It works!

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