HP DeskJet 5650


Well, my Epson 660 finally went belly up!! I’ve had the printer since I first got my P.C., so it is fairly elderly now. Pointing out that my set-up is an Athlon 750 gives some idea of the age……..

 I tried the usual causes of failure in Epson’s, blocked print head. I disassembled the print head (which turned out not to be all that hard), and cleaned it. Nothing! I then tried repriming the head after fitting two brand new cartridges, again to no avail. After doing this three times, I gave up and mourned the loss of it.

Life moves on, though. I had a squint through the ComputerActive magazine and found a recurring theme when it came to printers. They really rated HP printers!!

Time after time, they came up with HP as the cheapest to run. Now, please remember that this was for genuine cartridges, not compatibles.

I decided to scout around the local PCWorld…..

Yeah, I love PCWorld prices as well………if you really want to buy computer accessories …… unless it’s desperate, I wouldn’t recommend them.

Anyway, the assistant I got was knowledgeable about the printers on show, and agreed that HP was definitely the way to go. He did say that Epson print quality had improved recently and that the way that Epson scored higher was if you decided to use compatible cartridges.

I had a look around (my budget was £100) and left……

The only decent price I saw was for an all in 1 printer from Lexmark, and I don’t really rate them at all. That’s the Lexmark, not the all in 1 units. I don’t need an all in 1 unit, I already have a scanner which suits me.

Across the road was a Currys…….. Same Company, different name.

They did have different deals on offer, though.

I picked the HP DeskJet 5650, which was on offer at the time at £49.99.

This is a photo realistic printer, and uses USB to connect to the P.C.

It is a smart silver and black coloured case. The lid is a smoked black plastic and covers the innards of the machine admirably Connections at the back of the printer allow fast and easy connection. The paper tray holds 150 pages, largest is A4 size.

It is a lovely looking printer, but looks aren’t everything…as my wife can testify, I suppose.

I had fancied this in PCWorld, but decided I didn’t really want to pay a few pence less than my entire budget (£99.98) just for a printer.

The specs of the printer had impressed me.

  1. Up to 21 ppm for black
  2. Up to 15ppm for colour
  3. Up to 4800 dpi printing (optimised)

Printers had definitely moved on form the Epson 660…….

With the deal from Currys, I managed to get an additional black and photo cartridge, as well as a long USB lead for my money. The “money” was vouchers, so I was well pleased to replace my printer without having to resort to using my own dosh for the purpose…..

Getting the printer up and running was a piece of p*ss using the USB. The printer was installed the same as normal on a Windows box. In Linux, Mandrake recognised the printer as well, so it didn’t take much configuring.

The printer can use parallel port as well as USB, but I did try installing it in Windows, with no joy. I hadn’t noticed it could use the parallel port when I bought it in the shop, hence the purchase of the long USB lead.

So far so good, so how does it compare with the Epson?

First, let me point out again how old the Epson was……

The Epson was a noisy printer, the HP is practically silent! In fact, when I test printed it from the HP, I thought it had failed because of the speed the paper came out at, without the usual noises that the Epson used to make.

Print quality has to be seen to be believed……..

The test page has a picture of fruit. I think the picture (on plain photocopy paper) was nearly as good as the results I got using photo paper on the Epson!!

This printer is a speed demon compared with my old Epson as well. Paper fairly flies out of it. Draft mode is obviously the fastest, but the print quality of text is highly impressive.

The drivers that come with the software HP installs allows you to set the print quality from the front of the printer or in the software, so you can pick which method suits you.

The few drawbacks to the printer:

I don’t like the way the printer stores the paper. Its underneath where the paper comes out printed, and it’s a pain lifting up to put more paper in (did I mention how fast this prints?).

Switching cartridges is another bugbear. The printer uses two cartridges for all jobs except photos. When you are printing photos, you switch one cartridge for the photo cartridge. Changing cartridges is a simple procedure, but why can’t they just have all three mounted?

Apart from these minor flaws, I’m in love with this printer. Printing can now be done late at night without awaking everyone!

The speed and quality of printing is incredible as well.

The printer seems to go through very little ink as well………gauging the amount I have printed so far, I’d have expected to renew the cartridges by now. This is with the cartridges that came with the printer, and, as you all know, they don’t give full cartridges with them!

I intend to use genuine cartridges with this one, simply because, I don’t see a big difference in price between the HP ones and the compatibles. I also hate refilling cartridges and I don’t intend to start that…..

Fancy a new printer, I highly recommend this one, although if space is a premium, you can always try the popular new all in 1 units.


By Ian Urie



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