Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
HP Photosmart eStation All-in-One printer
HP Photosmart eStation review: This printer uses a portable 7in touchscreen Android tablet and prints detailed photos
- Good photo quality, good document print quality
- Tablet interface is far too complicated, touchscreen is not very responsive, no Ethernet port, no automatic document feeder
The HP Photosmart eStation All-in-One multifunction inkjet printer has great specifications and can produce good quality photos and documents. However, we think that touchscreen tablet interface is far too complicated and full of features for its own good.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
The HP Photosmart eStation All-in-One multifunction inkjet printer is controlled via a 7in Android tablet. It's great for printing photos and documents, but the touchscreen tablet offers features we don't think are necessary or useful for a printer.
HP Photosmart eStation All-in-One multifunction inkjet printer: Design and operation
The HP Photosmart eStation All-in-One has a fairly standard design for a printer: a front-loading paper cassette holds 125 sheets of A4 paper with an optional 6x4in photo insert, document printing runs through an automatic duplex unit and the printer's flatbed scanner can be found up top. What's most interesting is the off-set cradle on the printer's front that holds the eStation Zeen, the Photosmart eStation All-in-One's 7in touchscreen tablet.
The eStation Zeen tablet runs the Android mobile operating system, but doesn't have access to any Android Marketplace content — you can only use the applications HP wants you to. The Zeen has access to a variety of online news, weather, e-mail and photo services and, as you'd expect, you can easily print off hard copies of content. It also coordinates the printer's ePrint functionality, which allows you to e-mail documents to the HP Photosmart eStation All-in-One for automatic printing.
While the eStation Zeen is a good idea in theory — it provides direct access to a huge range of information which can be easily printed — it's difficult to use. The unit is often slow to respond to touches, which makes scrolling through pages of text a tedious process. There's also a lot of on-screen clutter on the main page, with too many features and functions available. We wish it was possible to hide them away and clean the interface a little — if you just want to print, the eStation Zeen is overkill.
You can connect the HP Photosmart eStation All-in-One printer to your PC using USB 2.0, but it makes more sense to connect wirelessly to your router for direct Internet access and printer sharing. There's no Ethernet port for wired networking.
HP Photosmart eStation All-in-One multifunction inkjet printer: Print quality, speed and ink pricing
According to HP, the Photosmart eStation All-in-One printer is capable of printing up to 33 pages of monochrome text or 32 of colour text per minute. We were only able to reach speeds close to these figures when printing in Draft quality mode during print runs of more than 50 pages. Over shorter print runs of around 10 pages in length, we calculated that the HP Photosmart eStation All-in-One produced around 20 black pages per minute in Draft quality. Changing to Normal or Best quality modes affects print speeds significantly — a top quality A4 colour photo print can take over a minute.
The HP Photosmart eStation All-in-One offers consistently high print quality. Photos printed in Best quality are well saturated and contain plenty of fine detail, with results on par with similarly specified inkjet printers like the Canon PIXMA MG8150.
The HP Photosmart eStation All-in-One printer uses five HP 564 ink cartridges: cyan, yellow, magenta, black and photo black. A full set of refills will cost you $81, with individual colour cartridges costing $16; black cartridges cost $17. The standard cartridges have a monochrome document yield of 250 pages and a full colour yield of 300 pages. You can also buy high-yield tanks — $27 for colour and $33 for black — which can produce 550 black and 750 full colour pages.
This translates into a per-page cost of 6.8 cents per monochrome page and 16 cents for a tri-colour page. Buying extra-large cartridges lowers the ongoing cost to 6 cents for black and 10.8 cents for colour.
HP Photosmart eStation All-in-One multifunction inkjet printer: Conclusion
The HP Photosmart eStation All-in-One is a great inkjet printer that's hamstrung by an unnecessarily complicated interface. Gadget geeks will love the idea of the printer's touchscreen tablet, but anyone who just wants to use the printer to print off photos and documents won't be using its full potential.
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