HP TopShot LaserJet 200 review

The HP TopShot is a small business-oriented printer but it also pushes beyond the expected features of such a device. Rather than just focus on fast, crisp document printing and wireless connectivity, which the TopShot handles with aplomb, HP has turned the proverbial dial to eleven when it comes to features in this new web-connected peripheral.

The most notable addition to the standard print, scan, share setup is what gives the TopShot its rather intriguing title. Instead of traditional flatbed scanning, the TopShot uses camera scanning via an adjustable arm that can be positioned around twenty or so centimetres above the scanning surface to capture images of bulky or unusually shaped items at up to 245 DPI using an LED flash. Of course, simple documents scan just as well this way too and can be sent to Preview, Image Capture or HP’s own Scan software.

Then there’s the addition of apps. Yes, apparently apps do exist outside of mobile devices and HP offers a wide selection from the powerful to the pointless that can be downloaded to the printer once you have set up a free ePrint account online.

With TopShot scanning and apps combined, the device truly comes into its own. For example, logging into Google Docs or Box.net from the printer and uploading scans wirelessly is a simple task and one that doesn’t require a computer. That is, of course, after the initial setup process is complete.

 

The main drawback we encountered while testing HP’s new box of tricks was that, not only were the included install discs unable to work with Mac OS X Lion (10.7) but the software installed automatically once the printer was connected by USB still only offered limited functionality. Not until we accessed new firmware and a compatible installer from the HP support site did all work the way it should. It all felt a little bit... Windows.

Once properly configured, however, both AirPrint and USB printing worked flawlessly and the addition of HP’s ePrint (printing from anywhere) service only serves to enhance the benefits of the TopShot.

Requirements: Mac OS X 10.5 and later, USB port, wireless network

OUR VERDICT

The TopShot won’t stun you with its print quality but it’s by no means a poor printer either. We found its setup a real drag using Lion but the addition of downloadable apps and painless scanning of 3D objects make it a serious option for the home or small business.

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