Looking for an everyday printer for home or a small office? This HP all-in-one could be just what you need.
HP’s OfficeJet Pro 6960 is a mid-range colour inkjet all-in-one printer that's designed for home and small offices. It’s reasonably well appointed, with automatic double-sided (duplex) printing, scanning, faxing and copying, and both wired and wireless networking. The only obvious omission is a USB host port for walk-up printing or scanning.
Design and user controls
The design is typical of the latest generation of HP printers: all swoops and curved surfaces, and a colour touchscreen replaces the clutter of conventional buttons. It's rather nice, but it's not perfect: the acres of sombre black plastic won't be to everyone's taste, and it's annoying that the 250-sheet paper input tray is captive in the base.
This can often make loading and unloading paper fiddly, and it certainly was here: it's tricky to push 6x4in photo paper far enough in, and almost impossible to grab its front edge to extract it again. Everything else works well, however; particularly the touchscreen, which supports tap and drag gestures.
Printing, scanning and copying performance
Printing speeds are fast across the board. The OfficeJet Pro 6960 completed our 25-page mono text test at a rate of 15.6 pages per minute (ppm) and our more complex colour graphics test at 4.7ppm. In draft mode, it reached 18.5ppm on text, and the quality was still quite acceptable. Photo printing was slower, however: with the Max DPI mode switched on, borderless postcard-sized photos took about 90 seconds each.
We've seen recent HP all-in-ones with slow automatic document feeders (ADFs). This one was quick for mono copies, helping deliver ten pages in 80 seconds, but in colour the same job took almost three minutes.
The scanner itself might not be helping: even over a USB connection it needed 76 seconds to copy a 6 x 4in photo at 600 dots per inch (dpi), and a took a tedious 4mins 40secs to scan the same photo at 1,200dpi. We're no fans of HP's oversimplified TWAIN scan interface, either, and our test photo scans appeared to have been digitally sharpened, which made them look unnatural.
HP's ink cartridges share similar packaging and design to those of Canon's PIXMA range, which suggests there may be some shared technology. Unfortunately, they also share the lack of physical keying that would prevent you inserting the wrong colour in the wrong slot – care might be needed here.
You can buy ‘original’ or ‘high yield’ XL replacement cartridges, with the latter rated at 825 pages for each of the three colours (which cost $31 each) and 1,500 pages for black ($77). So its running costs are quite reasonable for a small office printer, particularly if you use the high-yield cartridges.
The HP OfficeJet Pro 6960 has good features, a nice design and the printing quality is good. Its scanner is slow, however, and HP’s annoying software doesn't help get the best out of it.
The OfficeJet Pro 6960’s recommended price is $229 but we’ve seen it selling for less than $150, which is very good value. It’s fairly cheap to run, too, which makes a good choice for everyday office work.