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TRUE COLORS

If you want realistic printouts of photographic images without spending a lot of money, the new $299 DeskJet 694 for Windows from Hewlett-Packard (800 752-0900) may be a good choice. Conventional inkjet printers do a fine job of printing color graphics but have difficulty achieving subtle colors, such as the flesh tones in photographs.

The 694, an update of the 693 model that was introduced last year, uses two sets of ink cartridges to deal with the problem. The standard cartridge is for type and for graphics. For photographic printing, you swap the black ink for a second color cartridge that allows more precise color rendering. The results can be very impressive, especially when printed on glossy paper that is specially designed for photos. This printer is about half the speed of the HP 870, the top-ranked printer at Maven, BUSINESS WEEK's computer buying guide (www. maven.businessweek.com). But the 694 will print photos much more accurately and is $200 cheaper.

The new DeskJet comes with a kit that includes photo paper, greeting card stock, and iron-on transfers for T-shirts. You can also print on plain copier paper, though the more expensive stock designed for inkjet printing provides better results for both text and graphics. The 694 can also handle fanfold paper for printing banners.

By STEPHEN H. WILDSTROM



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PHOTO: Hewlett-Packard DeskJet

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