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HP Deskjet 460cb

>> Monday, January 5, 2009

The HP Deskjet 460 printers are reasonably compact for portable inkjet printers, but they're still large enough and heavy enough that you wouldn't want to carry them around unless you really need to. They sit 13.4 inches wide, 6.5 inches deep, and 3.3 inches tall, and weigh 4.5 pounds without the power adapter or battery. They're slightly larger and heavier than the Pixma iP90v.

While the printer is small enough to be tucked into some laptop bags, the assorted peripherals the power adapter and extra ink cartridges, for example make us wish the printer came bundled with a carrying bag to house the printer and its accoutrements. The control panel is limited to a couple of buttons and indicator lights. The buttons include power, cancel, and resume, while the lights tell you whether the battery (if applicable) is charging and warns you of low ink levels.

On the rear of the printer are two USB ports one for connecting the printer to a PC and a second for PictBridge devices and USB flash drives. On the side are two memory card slots one CF and the other SD or MMC. Aside from printing from memory cards, the CF slot is used to enable wireless printing over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, using an appropriate adapter.

If you're printing over Wi-Fi, a three way switch on the rear of the printer lets you toggle between three different wireless profiles for up to three PCs or wireless networks. This is a great feature if you move the printer regularly between, for example, your office, your home, and a particular airport. For the same price as the base model Deskjet 460c, the Canon Pixma iP90v includes an IrDA (infrared) port for printing wirelessly from a phone or PDA.

The paper handling system is simple. The top cover folds up to serve as the paper input support, which has adjustable paper guides and can hold up to 50 sheets of plain paper. A small flap folds open from the front edge of the printer to reveal the output area. The flap doesn't serve as an output tray, though, so you'll have to set your printer back from the table's edge or be on hand to catch the pages as they exit the printer.

A small problem we noticed is that the paper feed mechanism has some difficulty with photo paper. Specifically, when we put a batch of about 10 sheets (4x6 inch) in, it couldn't pick up the first sheet to start a print job. It tried several times and eventually gave up with an error. If we helped it along by pushing the first sheet manually, the feeder was able to grab it and print, but then it'd get stuck on the second sheet.

The problem went away when we had fewer than four sheets of photo paper in the feeder. We didn't experience the same problem when using plain paper. Overall, it's a minor problem, but something to be aware of if you need to do batch prints of photos.

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