So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Hewlett-Packard Australia Photosmart 8450
- Fast printing in both black and colour
- Its colour printing is more expensive than competitors
If blistering print speed is crucial--particularly if you're looking to make regular use of the lower quality settings--you'll find this a stunning printer.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
The HP Photosmart 8450 has room for three ink cartridges, using up to eight inks at once to great effect; both its snapshots and photos printed on letter-size glossy paper showed sharp details and natural colours.
For the price, the Photosmart 8450 offers many features for operation both with and without a PC. You can preview your pictures on the 2.5" colour LCD and make basic edits using the buttons on the control panel. The media card slots read all the common flash memory formats, and you can print directly from a compatible digital camera via the direct-print port. Also, the Photosmart 8450's direct-print port reads USB flash drives, so you can print photos stored on these small, handy devices.
The Photosmart 8450 is one of the rare photo printers with an Ethernet port; it's easy to put the printer on a network, making it accessible to multiple shutterbugs. Alternatively, you can connect the Photosmart 8450 to a single PC using its USB 2.0 port, or add a Bluetooth adapter to send photos from compatible camera phones and PDAs.
Ongoing costs for the Photosmart 8450 could be steep, however. According to our tests, photo paper and ink cost considerably more than average.
Although it takes time to install HP's large software suite, the wait is worth it. The suite offers a wide range of features for editing and organising photos, and has a slide show creation tool.
The Photosmart 8450 is on the bulky side, but it stashes dual paper trays neatly into its base. The main drawer holds 100 sheets up to legal size. Up to 20 sheets of 4" x 6" photo paper fit in the second tray. You can add an optional 250-sheet drawer; if you want to cut your paper consumption, there's an optional duplexer.
As we typically see from inkjets, prints on plain paper were less impressive than on glossy paper. The Photosmart 8450's colour graphics looked a bit faded and showed some banding. Text printed in a strong black, but fine characters such as italics failed to form completely.
The Photosmart 8450 printed text at 5.6 pages per minute, a little faster than average. You have to be patient for its photos, however. The Photosmart 8450 took over 2 minutes to print a 4" x 6" photo at best quality settings.
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