HP Photosmart Plus review

The HP Photosmart Plus pumps out great-looking output quickly – something that few other models in its price class can achieve.

HP makes things easy from the get-go. The installation wizard includes a library of animated instructions for setup and basic operation. The control panel features a 2.3in colour LCD, surrounded by touch-sensitive LED buttons that light up only when needed. Menu items include how-to animations, as well as troubleshooting instructions for clearing paper jams, replacing cartridges, and other everyday tasks you need to perform.

In our tests, the Photosmart Plus generated 8.9 pages per minute (ppm) for plain text and 4ppm for graphics. On plain paper, text looked crisp. Even photos looked sharp and smooth, improving even more when we printed on HP’s own glossy paper. The unit’s scanning speeds were slower than average, but images were realistic and detailed. Although a text scan was slightly fuzzy, the Photosmart Plus rendered fine lines better than any inkjet multifunction we’ve seen to date.

While performance is impressive, the Photosmart Plus’s feature set is pretty basic. WiFi connectivity is a bonus, as is the second, 20-sheet photo-paper tray. The 125-sheet input tray is more pedestrian, but adequate; its lid serves as the 50-sheet output area (and houses the photo tray). The output tray’s extension arm is sturdy, and you’ll need it: our printed pages slid off the edge otherwise. This model has no automatic duplexing; check out the Canon Pixma MP560 if you want that feature (and cheaper ink). Two media slots accommodate Memory Stick, SD Card, and XD-Picture Card media, and the machine has a PictBridge port. HP sells a Bluetooth adaptor.

The ink costs are better than you’d expect for a low-cost multifunction device. A 250-page black cartridge and 300-page cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges ship in the box. The standard-size ink cartridges have nicely mid-range pricing, but the high-yield versions are the best deal. Replacing cartridges is idiot-proof, as an illustrated label guides you through the process, or you can view an animation on the touchscreen.

OUR VERDICT

The HP Photosmart Plus packs a lot of performance into a low-cost multifunction package, with well-priced inks to boot. Other models in this price range can’t boast quite as much.

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