Like most printer makers, HP likes to shoehorn its printers into clearly delineated slots - which is why you end up with Photosmarts for home users and Deskjets such as the HP Deskjet 6940 for small businesses.

The HP Deskjet 6940 certainly looks businesslike with its brushed aluminium cover and dark grey and black casing. There's even a hint of the old Power Mac G4 about its blue-grey plastic end caps.

You'll find remarkably little when it comes to flashy features. There are power and paper feed buttons, plus a couple of LEDs on the left and a PictBridge slot on the right. In the middle of the HP Deskjet 6940 sits the input/output tray, which sticks out some distance.

Inside you'll find that the HP Deskjet 6940 holds just two ink tanks - one black for mono printing and a second tri-colour tank containing cyan, magenta and yellow Vivera inks.

The HP Deskjet 6940's tri-colour cartridge supplied is chiefly intended for general-purpose colour printing. For hardcore photo printing you'll need to buy the dedicated Vivera photo cartridge, a pain if you like to switch between the two functions frequently.

With individual mono prints, the HP Deskjet 6940 does fairly well - black levels are suitably deep, but under a magnifying glass a fair degree of feathering is noticeable.

Printing multiple copies with the HP Deskjet 6940 revealed some banding issues, with our test sample having trouble feeding paper through. We're confident this is an isolated issue, but it's something to be aware of. A single print at the default setting takes around 15 seconds.

Photo printing with the HP Deskjet 6940 using the standard tri-colour cartridge is more successful. The Vivera inks do a good job, with excellent colour fidelity.

It took our test print 3 minutes 5 seconds to finally appear in the output tray. However, the HP Deskjet 6940's output does suffer from a high degree of fuzziness when looked at under a loupe. It's fine for every day prints, but not your precious memories. Prints using Vivera inks and paper should last 82 years under glass. Prints passed our scratch test, but failed the water test.


The HP Deskjet 6940 turns in a decent performance for the money, but there are far better printers out there.