The two print cartridges use a dye based ink where the black cartridge’s resolution is up to 600 x 600 dpi whereas the color cartridge renders 4800 x 1200 dpi. The printer is capable of borderless printing, up to 4 x 6 inches. There are three ways to connect to this printer: USB 2.0 connection, Pictbridge connection and Bluetooth. The duty cycle lasts about 500 pages before you’ll have to replace the ink. Using HP’s standard printer language (HP PCL3 GUI), this printer is capable of 8 built-in fonts and typefaces, which are scalable.
The media types that are supported are paper (plain, inkjet, photo), envelopes, brochure paper, transparencies, labels, and cards (index & greeting). The sizes of the media are: letter, legal, statement, executive, envelopes (No. 10 & Monarch), cards (3 x 5 in, 4 x 6 in, & 5 x 8 in), and photo (5 x 7 in & 4 x 6 in). You can create your own custom media size, but it has to be between 3 x 4 in and 8.5 x 14 in. For those of you interested in duplex functionality, this model has that paper handling option.
According to the press release of this printer, it can hold up to 90 lbs. in cards. I really highly doubt you’ll need to support more than 2 lbs. of paper in this printer. However, if you’re using some of the heaviest compounds in the universe, this printer supposedly can handle it. Unfortunately I do not have access to cards made of Einsteinium. The recommended weight for any media is around 20 lbs. Since many of you are going to be using this printer to print documents, the 50 pages you can stack in there does not add up to 20 lbs., so don’t worry about the weight requirement.
This model printer is more powerful than a desktop I had in 1996. With a processor speed of 220 MHz and 64 Megabytes of RAM, communication with the device you’re printing from should be very smooth. On that note, it’s compatible with Windows 7 (32 & 64 bit), Windows Vista (32 & 64 bit), Windows XP Professional (32 bit), Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Mac OS X v 10.5+, Windows Mobile 5.0 and 6.x (Pocket PC) and Linux.
The minimum requirements are pretty low compared to the hardware that’s been out in the last 10 years. For a machine running Windows 7, you’ll need a 1 GHz processor, 1 GB RAM, 1 GB of free hard disk space, USB 2.0 port and a CD/DVD drive or internet connection. For machines running Vista, you’ll need an 800 MHz processor, 512 MB RAM, 900 MB free hard disk space, USB 2.0 port, and a CD/DVD drive or internet connection. For those running XP, you’ll need to have service pack 2 (which I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to have SP2 if they have XP), as well as an Intel Pentium II, Celeron, or compatible processor running at 233 MHz+, 512 MB RAM, 500 MB of hard disk space, USB 2.0 port and a CD/DVD drive or internet connection.
For those of you have Macs, Mac OS X v 10.4.11/v 10.5 is required along with either the PowerPC G3, G4, G5 or Intel Core processors. In addition to the processor you’ll also need 256 MB of memory along with 500 MB free of hard disk space. Also, you’ll need a USB 2.0 port and a CD/DVD drive or internet connection.
I touched briefly on the duty cycle of this model. The ink cartridges it came with, the HP 95 Tri-color Inkjet Print Cartridge and the HP 98 Black Inkjet Print Cartridge lasts for a duty cycle of around 330 pages and 440 pages respectively. The HP 94 Black Inkjet Print Cartridge you can get will have a duty cycle of 500 pages. Note that you can also get the HP 97 Tri-color Inkjet Print Cartridge (~560 pages) and HP 99 Photo Inkjet Print Cartridge (~100 pages) with this particular model as well.Design & Features
As soon as I unpacked this printer, I noticed that it had some weight to it. 5.1 lbs. (5.5 lbs. with battery) doesn’t seem like a lot, but throw another 5 lbs. laptop into the mix and already you’re carrying over 10 lbs. worth of gear without even considering paper and other documents. Not to mention I also noticed that this printer is bigger than some other portable printers I’ve come across. To be exact, the dimensions are 13 X 6.91 x 3.32 in. I’d suffice to say, yes, you can label this as portable, but you can’t slip this into your laptop carrying case. I took two pictures using a Playstation 3 controller so that you can get an idea for the size of the printer. Also, I took pictures of the battery so you can take a look at it.
The color scheme is gray and black. I wouldn’t consider this design to be rugged at all. The materials don’t feel like some of HP’s other products. When you put your hands on it, it’s smooth on just about every surface. However, it has a plastic feel to it. For something portable, with the intention of business use, I would’ve hoped for materials used similar to the last laptop I reviewed, the HP 6560b Notebook .
A design feature I liked is that the lid closes tightly to the printer. This is great because when you’re on the go, you don’t want to worry about the lid opening and then cracking off. Once the printer opens, the lid becomes a paper tray. The paper tray has a max capacity of 50 pages. I happened to test this out. I was able to put 50 pages of paper in the tray. When I tried to print it fully stocked, it would feed 2 or even 3 pages at a time. I wasn’t necessarily a big fan of that, especially if I needed to print important documents to be signed immediately. If you’re not loading too many sheets in at once, the paper jam scenario should not arise.
I’ve always considered HP to create elegantly designed hardware. They didn’t fail with this model. When the lid is up, the button layout of the printer is simple and stylish. From left to right we have a Bluetooth connectivity button, a cancel button with a big red “x” prominently shows, a page feed button and the power button. To the left of the buttons, there’s a battery indicator, a plugged-in icon, and ink indicators (to let you know if the cartridges need to be changed). The ink cartridges are very easy to access. You just lift up a panel below the indicators and buttons.
The tray, rather the lip, where the printed paper comes out of is located on the front end. If you forget to release the lip, the printer will release it for you so that you don’t succumb to a paper jam. It would’ve been much nicer is there was something else you could extend out of the lip to make the tray a little bigger. I find that printed pages just get spit out and depending on how much you’re printing; it could become a sloppy mess quickly.
On the backside we can see the battery jutting out the back. It’s easy to take out the battery, you just slide the mechanism and it comes right out. The battery is about the size of a laptop battery, just slightly smaller. Also in the back there’s a PictBridge connection. For those of you who don’t know what PictBridge is; it’s a port that allows you to directly print from a camera. Next to the PictBridge port (which is located on the far left side), we have a USB connector like you would find on most, if not all, printers. On the right side, there’s the power jack and a Kensington Security Slot. Performance & Quality
I timed the printer to take one minute per 5 full pages of text. Since the printer was made to be portable and not have extensive work loads, I’d say that printing 5 pages in a minute is really good. I printed a full page photo and it took about 40 seconds. I found the photo quality to decent, if not poor. I printed out the penguin photo that’s out of the box with Windows 7 Ultimate and found that it was moderately pixelated. For color logos and graphs, it wouldn’t matter so much because it’s good enough. As far as printing quality prints on paper, I wasn’t at all satisfied.
The battery life will last quite a while. I printed over a hundred pages and this printer kept on going. I wasn’t surprised by this because of the size of the battery. I couldn’t see too many scenarios where someone would print more than one hundred pages on the go without plugging it in.
Conclusion & Price Point
This printer is worth the $229.99 ($279.99 w/ $50 instant rebate) listed on HP Shopping. It’s a little bulky and heavy for travel, but it would be great to throw in your car or work truck to print out documents. It will fit in your luggage and is durable enough to withstand the flight without any parts being compromised. I can rely on this printer to do the job sufficiently enough to get out basic information. I would never expect a printer like this to print top quality photos; however, they could’ve done a little better job. Overall, this printer gets a 7/10 rating. It loses points on its weight, size, and quality of pictures. Other than that, it’s versatile and much smaller than most printers on the market.