HP Photosmart Premium C309a

HP has packed this Photosmart multifunction printer range full of features.

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HP Photosmart Premium C309a
  • HP Photosmart Premium C309a
  • HP Photosmart Premium C309a
  • HP Photosmart Premium C309a


  • Comprehensive connectivity, automatic duplexing, great photo print quality, fast printing


  • Small LCD screen, can't broadcast separate Wi-Fi network

Bottom Line

With a host of features, the HP Photosmart Premium C309a multifunction printer is a great option for almost any task. Though not perfect, not much is wrong with this printer.

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  • Buy now (Selling at 9 stores)

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HP packs more features into the Photosmart Premium C309a than you can poke a stick at. With premium pricing to match its moniker, this multifunction printer's core strength is its diverse range of abilities. Although it isn't the perfect photo printer, it will provide decent results for families and home offices.

With a gloss white finish, the HP Photosmart Premium C309a multifunction printer could be mistaken for an Apple product. It offers direct printing from MemoryStick and MemoryStick DUO, CompactFlash, SD, xD and a PictBridge USB port. Connectivity options include a USB port, Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. For the business-minded, HP has added a fax, an automatic document feeder and, most surprisingly, an automatic duplexing unit for double-sided printing.

Wi-Fi is limited to existing wireless networks; you can't create a new ad-hoc network. Bluetooth direct printing is almost too easy — once paired to a mobile phone, the Photosmart Premium C309a will automatically print any photos sent to it (this prevents any editing of photos received via Bluetooth, however).

Like the HP Photosmart C6380 multifunction printer, the Photosmart Premium C309a separates 4x6in photo paper from standard A4 media by using a motorised photo tray. The CD/DVD printing palette slots neatly into the media input tray.

We prefer Canon's Easy Scroll Wheel (as found on the PIXMA MP980) to the small buttons on the HP Photosmart Premium C309a but navigation is still straightforward. Basic photo editing capabilities allow you to rotate, crop and fix red eye issues prior to printing, but the 2.5in LCD display is a little restrictive.

The print speeds of the HP Photosmart Premium C309A fall short of those attained by the Epson Stylus Photo TX800FW, but it is still quite fast. It manages to print the first page of draft mono documents in 10.4sec (it takes 16.9sec when printing draft colour documents). It prints draft mono documents at an average 17.6 pages per minute; it averages 9.4ppm when using normal quality. Colour documents are slightly slower at 15.7ppm in draft mode and 5.6ppm when using normal quality.

Standard 4x6in photos were fast, taking 26sec, while an A4 photo took roughly 1min 9sec. Unfortunately, although it's quite fast the HP Photosmart Premium C309a is one of the noisiest printers we've reviewed.

The HP Photosmart Premium C309a has a maximum hardware print resolution of 9600x2400dpi, but mono printing is restricted to 600x600dpi. This is a common restriction in home multifunction printers, and it limits the quality of text documents. Although text is readable and lacks aberrations, characters aren't defined or accurate enough to be considered laser quality. Reducing the text to 7pt size causes slightly blurry letters.

The Photosmart Premium C309a multifunction printer delivers vivid colours that work well in documents. In photos, colours are comparatively toned down but the accuracy is still adequate. Thankfully, there are no banding or image noise problems in photos. Scanned images are detailed and have accurate colours.

The HP Photosmart Premium 309a's running costs don't quite rival those of laser printers. Though 21.2c per A4 page (using high yield cartridges) is a reasonable figure, it isn't the cheapest inkjet multifunction either.

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Ross Cowan


This is the second one of this type printer that I personally know of that has the wireless radio crap out. This is a hardware problemm and the printer is just over a year old and out of warranty. This printer ($399.) worked well while it worked but just over a year old and I need a new one I think I'll try something other than a HP.

William Li


This printer is pure rubbish. No offence to hp but i had a photosmart 2710 and it worked better than my 309a. It's loud, bulky and it vibrates a lot. I just decided to warn you off from this product because it's a waste of your money. Not only does it not print when you want to but the User interface on that small screen is almost frustrating to use. Throw in the navigation bar and you feel like smacking the thing. In addition, I place the printer on a very stable and rigid desk and it vibrates to the point where the table shakes when it prints. However, one of the most annoying things about the 309a is that it breaks down very easily! I had warnings that my printer head was not genuine hp and then in another occasion the printer just simply refusing to print at all. I had my printer replaced 2 times by hp. They said they couldn't fix it and gave me a new 309a which i was very disappointed. Good customer support but very dissatisfied with the product.

Linda Y


I have a MAC computer and purchased this printer at the MAC store when I bought my computer. I cannot get the scan feature to work wireless or pluging the printer into the computer. I have unistalled then reinstalled, I downloaded drivers from HP and still it does not work. Can anyone out there help. I am very disapponted with this printer.



If you go to the this URL it might be able to help you as I had to go through something similar today.



Good Luck.



I purchased a C309a Photosmart Printer about 15 mths ago. It stopped working shortly afterwards. HP replaced it. Some weeks/months later it broke down so again HP replaced this one too. Now, just a couple of months after the warranty has run out it stopped working again(HP only gives 3 mth warranty even on completely NEW replacements). I rang HP Support Centre, went through an exhausting 3+ hrs with tech which included me having to clean the bloody thing yet prob not fixed. Eventually, I had to terminate call as I was too exhausted to continue(bad back due to car accident). I got back to HP Support recently (I had been away Dec/Jan) & went thru the whole thing again without prob been found/fixed. Also, had to pay $20. HP basically said 'bad luck, out of warranty now'. Despite a number of friends saying 'Just ditch it & buy another one'I made escalated call to Cust Assurance, told whole story to employee who arranged replacement of the now discontinued model for the 3rd time. I felt very grateful & relieved as I can't just throw away a $330 printer when on a very limited income (Disability Support Pension). Printer arrived on Friday (Feb 11 2011) and have a guess what? That's right - PRINTER DOESN'T COPY AND SOME OF THE BITS JUST FELL OFF. I am so stressed with all this. I rang HP about 10 am today & have been assured they will get back to me today. I'm still waiting. This is the abridged version of my story. I could go on & on about all the calls, the waiting, the notes under my name that state printer has been replaced twice not three times, the inconvenience of not being able to print. I am becoming ill with this but why should I lose $330 because of a dud product. Please no matter what happens to me DO NOT BUY AN HP C309a PHOTOSMART PRINTER. Jan

M J Franklin


I wished I had read your comments before agreeing with HP to purchase the 309!!! I had had so much trouble that I repaired my old HP with online help.

I think I will just take out my frustration on the printer with a HAMMER!!

Richard Pizza


I just bought a Dell 560 with wondows 7. Now I find out that my HP 2780 will not work with my new PC. I called HP about this and they said it was a compatibility issue and offered to trade out my HP 2780 for a C309a. They also said that this printer would be shipped in 1 day with full ink cartridges, not the half full ones they send to the stores. (What!!!) Now I read about all the troubles they are having with the C309, and they want me to trade out for $189. HP has been ripping us off on cartridge costs and messages about needing to replace the cartridges when they are not yet needing replacement for some time. Time to look elsewhere for a printer.



Worst printer i have ever owned. Endless problems with trying to connect over our home network (both wirelessly and wired). Only hope is to use it with short usb cable. If this review stops one other peson buying it, then i will be happy.



Worst piece of electrical equipment I have ever purchased. I have had more control over my cheap remote controlled hellicopter in gale force winds than I have had over this useless pathetic piece of garbage. Wireless network issues from day 1. A year later, no improvement. It is not even donatable. It is a real shame to waste money like that, but I cant put anyone else through what I have been through TRYING to get it to run smoothly. My HP C309a is on its way to landfill in about 6 hours!! HP you just lost yourself a long time customer.

Dorothy Sinkler


I purchased this printer a couple of years ago. It has been a great printer but missing from it is the CD/DVD holder and I am unable to print on a CD/DVD. I called HP and they do not have the holder in stock and do not plan to have it in stock in the future. Is there anyone out there who can tell me where I might purchase this CD/DVD holder? I would certainly appreciate it.

T. Harris


Hi Dorothy
Did you find a CD/DVD holder for your HP C309a yet? If not I may have an extra one. Let me know.


Vince C.


Hello and thank you all for your comments regarding this printer. I was just given one of these by a customer who claims his daughter does not need it anymore...Huh? I was going to purchase 5 ink tanks before I read these posts. After reading about the misfortunes of many, I think I'll just toss this thing in a dumpster and save myself and any prospective customer the headaches of owning one of these. Thanks for your comments...

Bunita Marcus


I have had this piece of junk for two years. It breaks down frequently and sucks up ink horribly. I have bought millions of XL ink cartridges that don't last through a few printings. The info they give about how many copies can be made only refers to printing copies all at once. (read the small print) If you wait a day or two between printing, you will have practically no ink left no matter how large the cartridge is.

There should be a Class Action Suit against them for this. HP knows exactly what it is doing and how to screw the consumer. Epson had to give rebates to many of it's purchasers because of a similar problem.

Andy Lego


I've owned this printer 4 years. It's outlasted 3 previous HP inkjets. It still works great. I've used all of it's functions, as well as hardwire, wireless, and bluetooth network connectivity. Printing photos with an inkjet requires a lot of ink, that's what they do. The only issueI've had is the HP software. It occasionally loses it's mind requiring removal, several reboots, and re-installation.

Ian B


My C309A is about 4 years old. Amazed to read of so many problems as it works very well for me.

James Holloway


The HP C309a sucks!!! I've owned mine for 2-3 years and the photo print only worked one time. The wireless radio card briefly stopped working and then stopped working permanently. The printer is noisy and takes too long to print. The document feeder barely draws documents through the system. I honestly believe the updates HP sends out are designed to cause the wireless radio card to malfunction.

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The look and the idea
• • •





Lots of features and options
Need a bigger screen, slow printing, many paper jams
• • •

I was so happy to get such a fully featured printer but it didn't take long to continuously have paper jam problems, time and time again. What a waste of money. I ended up purchasing a new Lexmark. No problems with that one and a lot less money.




Constantly breaks
• • •

I had high hopes for this all-in-one printer but I was let down over and over. Now I'm ready to throw it in the trash. I've had this printer for 2 1/2 years and it has been nothing but problems for me. This is about the 5th time that it just stops printing - the paper is pulled through but nothing prints. I've wasted a ridiculous amount of money on ink cartridges, done all the diagnostic checks (which uses up all the ink) cleaned the print heads and printer assembly and still it keeps happening. This printer is junk.

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