HP Ink Challenge: The End

And just like that the HP Ink Challenge is over. It's been an interesting 6 weeks or so, and though I came into it thinking I knew what the final outcome would be, I was surprised how these tests reinforced it. As I think I said from the beginning I figured this would be series of tests that were going to show how much better it is to buy HP inks and papers to go with your HP printer, and for the most part I'd say that's true. For me it was definitely true, though I did see some people who had as good, and sometimes better, results with refill inks. But when you look at the results as a whole the HP inks performed consistently with little effort. The refill inks are very hit or miss, and the money saved isn't worth the degradation in print quality, in my opinion. I had never purchased or used refilled or remanufactured print cartridges before, and after this I won't be tempted to.

The final assignment is more of a wrap up from our first assignment. In week one we had printed up a photo from each printer, covered half of it, then taped it up to a window that saw a lot of sunlight. A fade test. I was curious as to how this was going to play out. I was hoping to see a night and day difference from at least one of the photos. Instead they both seemed to keep their vividness, for the most part. The refill inks do have a noticeable line showing where it was covered, but I don't believe the difference is dramatic. For "extra credit" we can put them up for another month to see what happens. I might do that just to see what there is to see. Click the images to see them bigger.

Refill Inks
HP Inks
The last assignment was to print up our control photos that we've been printing up every week now and compare them all. I have to say both sets of ink were consistent. Granted the refill inks consistently printed with a red or blue tint (depending on the target color), but they were consistent through the course of the 6 weeks.

So after 6 weeks what did I learn? Sure, you can buy refilled inks at a nominally cheaper price than HP manufactured inks, but if you value consistency, ease of use, and don't leave your photos in a clean room then you're better off getting the real thing.

Disclaimer:
The products mentioned in this post were provided by Hewlett Packard as part of their HP Ink Challenge.

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