Reviewed: HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One Printer CN503B


19 Dec 2010

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This printer offers Apple AirPrint capabilities, wiressless networking and fun printing apps. Is it a worthy addition to your home?

Design and interface

The printer has a black exterior, with curved corners, a glossy finish on top and a brushed plastic at the bottom. It has a 4.3-inch screen and users can adjust the angle of it to suit them. At the sides of the display are selectable icons: home, back and cancel.

As the interface is through touchscreen, the design of the printer is pretty minimalist. There’s the power on button, a slot for memory cards and a USB port. The memory card slot only accepts memory sticks, memory stick duos and SD cards.

The interface isn’t too complex. On the homescreen, at the top, there are five icons to look at and change settings, check ink and wireless connectivity. In the centre is a row of favourite printing apps. And at the bottom are large “photo,” “copy” and “scan” icons. It’s an easy printer to set up and it’s an easy printer to use.

That said, I found the touchscreen could be quite hit and miss. It was a bit unresponsive at times and found it took a few seconds to register button presses. Sometimes the icons at the sides were quite slow to use, too.

You can plug in a memory card or USB stick to print photos directly from those mediums, using the interface to select which files you want to print.

Connectivity

This HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One Printer has wireless capabilities for networking PCs. It also features ePrint. The printer basically has its own individual email address and users can send a PDF document, photo, image or Microsoft Office document to it. Within about 30 seconds to a minute, the printer receives this and prints the file out.

When sending an email with a document attached, it also prints out the body of the email, so users can write instructions for those at home who weren’t expecting documents.

This is incredibly convenient, considering the possibilities. You can book flights online from an internet café and send it to this printer to have a copy at home. You can take a photo from your smartphone while out and about and send it home to print straight away.

It also recognises the file type and uses the paper accordingly. For example, if you send a photo, it’ll use the photo paper installed, as opposed to printing it on an A4 sheet of standard paper. It’s a useful feature made quite straightforward – if you know how to send an email, you can use this no problem.

The printer also implements Apple’s AirPrint functionality for iPhones and iPads, which was surprisingly simple. Using an iPad, we opened an email, hit “share,” then “print.”

It detected the printer straightaway, due to Wi-Fi connectivity and once selected, it printed immediately. There was no set up required. Overall, the printer’s connectivity capabilities are very impressive and open up a new way of sharing and organising prints while on the go.

Printing and scanning

For actual printing, how does it handle? In terms of speed, it’s pretty good. It takes about three seconds per black-and-white sheet, calculating to 20 sheets per minute. For a heavy-duty full colour A4 sheet, it took 23 seconds for it to print, ranking at just more than two sheets per minute.

Print quality is quite crisp, too. Black-and-white documents appear solid, with fonts looking clear and defined. Full colour pages are also just as sharp and quite bright.

Scanning is also straightforward, allowing you to scan to a computer or directly to an SD card. Users can also scan it as a file, send it to an email or save it as a PDF document. Scanning a photo saw it save it a little bit brighter than the original, though with photo scans, it’s difficult to get them 100pc perfect.

It’s pretty economical on ink consumption, too. It takes five ink cartridges in the HP 364 range.

Photo

You can place their memory card into the printer and select from there. Useful enough, but one thing that annoyed me about the interface was that, even though it displayed the photos through a paned layout, showing up several prints at once, you had to pull up each one individually in order to select it.

While useful for taking a close look, it was a bit tedious when you had already determined which ones you wanted to print.

The device prints photos at a rate of two 6×4 photos per minute and the quality of the finished print is excellent. Colours are quite accurate and vivid. While I’m not 100pc convinced it’s at photolab quality, as HP claims, it’s still close enough that most users won’t notice the difference.

Apps

The device also features printing apps. Many relate to productivity, allowing users to print checklists and graphs. Others are recreational, offering travel guides (though nothing you couldn’t find quickly on a Google search), Sudoku games and recipes.

There are also cute children’s apps, featuring characters from Nickelodeon and Dreamworks. You can print out spot the difference challenges, colouring-in sheets and crossword puzzles. It’s a nice idea for a rainy day.

There are other apps available from the printer, which are quick to install. The selection isn’t huge, but there are a lot of good ideas for home purposes.

Overall

The HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One Printer CN503Bis a great device for home printing. While the touchscreen interface got a little frustrating at times, there are some great ideas implemented in the printer, particularly in regards to connectivity and apps, which makes it worth a purchase.

The HP Photosmart Premium e-All-In-One CN503B costs €199 and is available from Click.ie, Harvey Norman and Soundstore outlets.

66

DAYS

4

HOURS

26

MINUTES

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