HP Photosmart Wireless All-In-One Printer

Blog Andy Shaw Feb 18, 2011

We lift the lid on the new 
all-in-one printer from HP that produces stunning prints.

Pros and Cons

Product Pros: + Fabulous quality printer and scanner in one
+ Great price
Product Cons: -Don’t get it for its touchscreen
- A few small foibles in the driver software

Home printers are getting ever closer and closer to offering the kind of quality that we used to get when we had our photos professionally printed. But once that milestone has been reached, how will the printer manufacturers persuade us to upgrade? With more features, of course, and this all-in-one model has plenty to offer besides simple scanning and printing.

Features
HP advertises this model as having a touchscreen and, although that's technically correct, it isn't nearly as sophisticated as the one on the Lexmark Interact we reviewed in Issue 226. The screen is tiny and has touch buttons on the side of it.

Having said that, it's the only disappointing feature in an otherwise near-flawless device. You get Wi-Fi connectivity that can be shared directly by up to five computers at once. It has Memory Stick and SD-sized memory card slots for direct printing, and it uses individual cartridges for minimal waste.

Performance
When it comes down to it, a printer is only as good as the prints it can produce. Printing 10 megapixel prints onto HP's own paper at 600dpi produced great-quality pictures. You can see the dots on blocks of plain colour if you look really closely, but from a normal viewing distance it could be a professional print.

The scanner is no half-hearted addition either - it does a great job of transferring images to your PC and works well in its direct copier mode, too.

Ease of use
You get a snazzy front end to the PC-based controllers but this printer's collection of drivers are more functional than sophisticated. The advanced functionality can be a bit convoluted - if you want to print at 1,200dpi, for example (which, admittedly, is over the top but an option nonetheless), you have to go through another menu to unlock it first. The same is true with scanning resolution, which is locked to 200dpi unless you jump through a few hoops. While this may stop an absolute beginner from overdoing things, it seems a shame to shackle those of us who know what we want.
Despite this foible, the device isn't an impossible wrangle - far from it. But there's certainly room for improvement.

Value for money
Price is the real winning point for this model - it only costs £89. Compared to £199 for Lexmark's touchscreen device, you're getting superior prints and scanning, even if you are missing out on Lexmark's flashy controller. Ease of use is important, but it's hard to argue with this kind of price difference.