HP Photosmart 7960 Color Photo Printer Review

HP Photosmart 7960 Color Photo Printer Review

by Michele Woodburn
(Waco, TX)

HP Photosmart 7960

HP Photosmart 7960

The HP Photosmart 7960 is a photo grade printer manufactured by Hewlett-Packard. The printer is very easy to use and setup and includes all of the features you would expect from a HP printer.


The machine includes the ability to print directly from a camera or memory card (Compact Flash, Microdrive, Secure Digital, Memory Stick, and xD). Featuring a two and one half inch LCD screen on the front, printing directly from these cards without a computer is particularly easy as you can select the photo or photos you want to print and what size you would like to print them.

This feature can save time and effort. The screen also allows for easy settings changes and provides more meaningful messages in case of an error. This last note is more important than it seems. It saves time and frustration by being more useful when diagnosing printing problems.

While the Photosmart unit does tend to be more expensive than other models, the extra features justify the price difference. The HP Photosmart 7960 printer does print faster than most similar inkjet printers especially when printing only text.

Photo printing at high qualities will take a long time, but no longer than one should expect. It also includes the standard "Fast Draft" and "Fast Normal" modes which hardly affect text documents while conserving ink and printing marginally faster.

The printer’s drivers also include a feature to make printing two sided documents seamless while including on screen directions for completing the process correctly. These two features can help reduce use costs while not increasing the time or effort in printing.

Because this is a photo printer, it accepts a cartridge which includes extra colors beyond the standard cyan, magenta, and yellow dye cartridge; however, this cartridge is only used for photo quality printing.

The HP Photosmart 7960 printer interchanges a gray cartridge with a standard blank ink cartridge to improve photo quality. The ability to use the standard cartridges keeps costs low while providing the option of premium photo printing. As with any HP ink cartridge, they can be a little expensive with frequent use. This printer did not seem to accept a refilled cartridge, however your experience may vary, which can increase costs.

This model of printer may not be available in stores any longer; however, it is available in the second hand market. I purchased it five years ago from Office Max for just over two hundred dollars and have used it continuously. This HP Photosmart printer has long tested durability and can be purchased online used for $60 while providing most of the features of HP’s newer models.

This machine could be an economical way to acquire a premium printer for a non-premium price. However, setup may be slightly more difficult than expected if you have a 64-bit operating system. There are instructions online to make the printer work, and it will just fine, but it takes a little technological acumen to feel comfortable completing the process.

Also, while this HP Photosmart 7960 printer does not feature networked printing, it is very easy to set this printer up as a shared network printer on a Windows or Linux system. Overall, I would recommend this make and model if a user is looking for a premium machine on a budget.

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