HP Deskjet 2540 review
A cost-effective all-in-one, with decent print quality and broad Wi-Fi support
At the high end of the inkjet all-in-one market, Canon reigns supreme with its Pixma range of printers. However, lower down the pecking order, where printers such as the new HP Deskjet 2540 sit, it's much more open.
As you might expect at a mere £45, this printer isn't replete with luxuries. There's no touchscreen, and no Ethernet connection, but it does what it does surprisingly well, and it's a good-looking device.
Finished in pristine white plastic, steeply raked at the front and tall for an all-in-one, it cuts a fine figure for a budget printer.
All paper-input and -output areas are well concealed, and the top-mounted paper-input tray and front output tray can be neatly folded back after use, rendering the Deskjet 2540 surprisingly compact. Despite this, its two-cartridge ink caddy is easy to access: a second panel within the paper-input tray flips down to reveal the printer's mono and tri-colour cartridges. Replacement is a simple job.
In terms of cabled connectivity, the Deskjet 2540 possesses only a single USB 2 socket at the back of the printer; however, this printer's true strength is its wireless support. In addition to printing wirelessly from your laptop, it's also possible to send prints to the 2540 over the internet via the excellent HP ePrint service; there's also support for Wireless Direct and Apple AirPrint.
As for printing, that isn't bad at all. The two-ink print engine possesses a pigment black tank for text, which lends text a solid, crisp look with no spidering or ink bleed in evidence, even on plain paper. However, this isn't a particularly quick printer: mono A4 documents were dispensed at 5.4ppm using normal settings and colour documents were delivered at 5ppm. Scan and copy speed is better: our 6 x 4in photo took only 37 seconds to scan at 600dpi, a full 21 seconds faster than Canon's Pixma MG6450, which is more than twice the price of the 2540. Scan quality is good, too, images remaining vibrant and detail-packed.
Although no match for more expensive models such as the Canon, photo print quality is perfectly acceptable. There was plenty of detail in our test photo prints; colours looked natural, and although there's a small amount of grain, this isn't noticeable from a normal viewing distance. The blacks in photos also take on a slightly brown hue due to the tri-colour cartridge, but for £45 you really can't complain too much.
As you might expect from such a low-cost device, print costs aren't the lowest, working out at 4p per page for mono printing and 10p per page for colour printing when using HP's high-yield cartridges, but neither will break the bank. In fact, we rather like this cheap and cheerful all-in-one. It's capable of decent photo and document prints, comes kitted out with an impressive scanner, and has the bonus of Wi-Fi connectivity.
|Price ex VAT||£38|
|Price inc VAT||£45|
|Features & Design||4|
|Value for Money||5|
|Resolution printer final||4800 x 1200dpi|
|Integrated TFT screen?||no|
|Maximum paper size||A4|
|Cost per A4 mono page||10.4p|
|Cost per A4 colour page||21.4p|
|Ink type||Dye-based colour, pigment-based black|
Power and noise
|Dimensions||495.23 x 305.82 x 156.60mm (WDH)|
|Copier rated mono speed||5cpm|
|Copier rated colour speed||3cpm|
|6x4in photo print time||1s|
|A4 photo print time||0s|
|Mono print speed (measured)||5.4ppm|
|Colour print speed||5.0ppm|
|Input tray capacity||60 sheets|
|Output tray capacity||25 sheets|
|SD card reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Memory Stick reader||no|
|Operating system Windows 7 supported?||yes|
|Operating system Windows Vista supported?||yes|
|Operating system Windows XP supported?||yes|
|Operating system Windows 2000 supported?||no|
|Operating system Windows 98SE supported?||no|
|Other operating system support||Mac OS X 10.5 or 10.6|