HP OfficeJet 6950 printer review

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Let's face it, we don't print much these days. Or at least I don't. I might write (which means type) a snail mail letter once or twice a year at the most and I occasionally print out a few pages of documentation, but that's about it.

I have a poor history with printers, which is not the same as saying I have a history with poor printers. The printers are probably fine, it's me that's the problem. Going all the way back to my mainframe days, if I got within a few metres of a printer it would break. I am a liability to any office that has a printer and I should be seated as far away from them as possible. I'm at a loss to explain why I jinx them in this way.

I still like to have a printer, though, just in case. I had a perfectly serviceable laser printer and, although it was supposed to be wireless, I could never get it to connect to my MacBook or iPad without hard-wiring it. I thus donated it to a friend and got myself an HP OfficeJet 6950 instead.

Front view of the HP OfficeJet 6950.
Front view of the HP OfficeJet 6950.

I bought it last July for £65. That's cheap enough but of course you don't really pay for a printer these days. What you're doing is buying a commitment to purchase expensive ink refills down the line and four extra-large refills (black, cyan, magenta and yellow) will set you back nigh on £60, which is nearly as much as the printer. That disparity in the prices of the hardware vs the refills makes no sense to me but it makes perfect sense to HP because whereas you only rarely buy a printer, you buy refills far more often.

If you bought a printer with some 'starter' ink cartridges, as I did, you're going to be purchasing refills very soon. I think they fill these starter cartridges by very carefully wringing out two drops from an ink-soaked cloth. So my first bit of advice here is not to pay anything extra to get a printer with starter cartridges because they're virtually pointless. Just buy the printer and some separate ink cartridges.

In most ways, the HP OfficeJet 6950 is fine for its class and price. The print quality is reasonable and once it gets going (see next paragraph) it's fairly quick. It has a built-in flat bed scanner and it can fax things too if you're in the mood for some last millennium nostalgia.

My biggest complaint is the amount of time it spends maintaining itself. If you don't use it for a while, it'll go into Maintenance Mode when it next starts up. I neither know nor care what it's doing in this mode but you have to give it a good five minutes or more to complete. This is quite frustrating when all you want to do is print a letter with only one line between Dear Sir and Yours Faithfully.

Top view of the HP OfficeJet 6950.
Top view of the HP OfficeJet 6950.

It connects wirelessly to my MacBook and my iPad without any trouble, which is handy as that's the reason I bought it.

There isn't much more I can say about this printer. I could tell you it has a 35-page document feeder, can print on both sides of the paper and has a small touchscreen control panel I've never used, but such things are hardly exciting.

So, in summary, this is a run-of-the-mill, fairly standard, wireless, colour inkjet printer and if that fits your requirements then you'll probably be fine with the 6950. Just as long as your life doesn't depend on printing something when it's in maintenance mode.