HP Photosmart Plus (B209a-m) inkjet multifunction

HP's mid-range inkjet multifunction printer has integrated wireless networking

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HP Photosmart Plus (B209a-m)
  • HP Photosmart Plus (B209a-m)
  • HP Photosmart Plus (B209a-m)
  • HP Photosmart Plus (B209a-m)
  • Expert Rating

    3.00 / 5

Pros

  • Prints quickly, touch-screen control panel, integrated Wi-Fi

Cons

  • Touch screen is too small, poor photo print quality, expensive consumables, no CD/DVD printing, can’t choose quality settings when scanning directly from the multifunction

Bottom Line

We were largely disappointed with the HP Photosmart Plus' photo print quality and the inability to select quality settings when initiating a scan from the multifunction itself. It will produce decent quality documents, however.

Would you buy this?

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HP’s Photosmart Plus (B209a-m) inkjet multifunction is affordably priced and looks good, but it lacks the print quality of competitors — and even of its own predecessors. The touch-sensitive control panel is a nice addition. However, some tasks, like connecting to a wireless router, are more difficult than they should be.

Aimed at the home, the HP Photosmart Plus (B209a-m) lacks an Ethernet connection but can connect to computers over USB or 802.11b/g Wi-Fi. It also has a multi-card reader that supports MemoryStick, SD and and xD media, as well as a PictBridge-capable USB port that can scan to and print from USB flash drives.

The HP Photosmart Plus inkjet multifunction printer boasts a touch-screen control panel, but at just 2.39in it’s small and can be difficult to use. It's also slightly recessed, making it difficult to press buttons on the edge of the screen. You won’t be able to access your Snapfish account like you can with the Photosmart Premium C309g-m, but the control panel has touch-sensitive quick access buttons on either side of the display. A button only lights up when its particular function is usable.

Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) PIN or button-based set up can be accessed directly from the printer, which makes it easy to connect to a compatible wireless router. However, if your router doesn’t support this, you’ll have to initially configure the Photosmart Plus inkjet multifunction’s Wi-Fi support by connecting the printer to a computer. The extra step is disappointing if you only want to use the Wi-Fi interface.

The HP Photosmart Plus printer can hold 125 A4 sheets at a time in a front paper cassette, as well as a further 20 sheets of photo paper in a separate tray. The photo tray is mechanical, so you won’t have to make manual adjustments to use it. Unfortunately, the Photosmart Plus lacks CD/DVD printing and automatic duplexing (double-sided printing), both of which are reserved for the more expensive Photosmart Premium.

Print Speed Results
Model Price Type B&W Draft
(ppm)
B&W Normal
(ppm)
Colour Draft
(ppm)
Colour Normal
(ppm)
4x6in photo
(seconds)
A4 photo
(minutes)
HP Photosmart Plus B209a-m $219 Inkjet 18.9 11.5 14.2 6.6 24s 1m 9s
HP Photosmart C5380 $219 Inkjet 20.6 10.9 18.75 6.3 27 1m 14s
Canon PIXMA MP560 $229 Inkjet 10.2 8.7 5 4.6 34s 1m 35s
Epson Stylus Office TX610FW $249 Inkjet 19 15.1 20.1 8.4 57s 2m 40s
Canon PIXMA MP640 $299 Inkjet 10.4 8.7 5.7 3.8 32 52s
HP Photosmart Premium C309g-m $299 Inkjet 18.5 10 16.2 5.6 26 1m 8s

Document print quality is accurate across both small and large font sizes, with no sign of feathering or overuse of ink. The HP Photosmart Plus will even produce decent quality monochrome and colour documents when in draft mode.

The quality of photos is largely disappointing. The colour palette as a whole is under-saturated, particularly when using HP’s own Advanced photo paper. Black and white prints are particularly worrying, as blacks often appear grey and lacking any real depth. At 25.3c per A4 page, these results don’t come cheap.

Though you can access preset profiles from the control panel when scanning to a USB-connected computer, there is no way to change quality or size settings when scanning directly to flash drives and memory cards. Quality is acceptable for basic use.

There are better inkjet multifunctions available for the price of the HP Photosmart Plus. Though the touch-screen control panel can make some functions easier to carry out, the inability to easily configure wireless access or print directly to CDs and DVDs are frustrating omissions.

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