Review: HP Photosmart Plus (210a)

Our score: 4/5
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October 12, 2011 4:59 PM
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Published: October 11, 2011 11:00 PM
By Marine Goy

A 3-in-1 colour inkjet, the HP Photosmart Plus (210a) is part of the 2010 range, which is something of a nightmare in terms of reference numbers. Like all the Photosmart Plus e-All-in-One (eAiO) models, it's connected to the Internet and has its own email address.

This model is designed for individual consumers and promises simplicity of use thanks to a TouchSmart touchscreen and pro quality prints.

Hardware

The touchscreen at the front of the machine looks a bit like an iPhone positioned vertically. The only physical button is the on/off button. This compact (45.2 x 39 x 19.9 cm, 7.45 Kg) multifunction printer is intuitive and easy to use. The inclusion of wi-fi means it can be shared among several users as well as printing from other devices without the need of a computer. You can print in colouring pages or a page of Yahoo! news as well as Sudoku panels, calendars, music or graph paper, all at the press of a button...

The paper loader has a capacity of 125 A4 pages and 40 pages of photo paper (10 x 15 cm) and is at the front, as is the SD card reader. There's no double-sided on the Photosmart Plus, unlike the higher end HP Photosmart Premium e-ALL-IN-ONE C310.


Front of the screen: printer connected to Internet apps via wi-fi

Inside, you'll find four separated cartridges (black, cyan, magenta and yellow). Standard cartridges are supplied but high capacity versions are also available.

Speeds

Speeds of 12 pages per minute (ppm) for colour and 13 ppm black & white means this is a fast machine. It should be plenty quick enough for home use.


Photo mode prints are faster than those measured for the Premium 310. These times are pretty standard for all-in-1 printers, though lower than those for the Canon Pixma MG6250 (56 seconds for an A4 and 23 seconds for a 10 x 15 cm).


Quality

Print quality is, overall, comparable to the previous HP multifunction models with separate cartridges. The four-star rating given here holds for colour document and photo prints but black & white prints are only worth a three. The colours are accurate but the droplets remain visible both on office documents (in the shaded areas in particular) and for certain tones on photos.


The quality of photo prints will do as long as you don't look too closely. Apart from the droplets, if you examine them more closely you'll see that the black & white prints lack depth. There's also the problem of a moiré pattern. While the results are okay, we're a long way off the sort of quality you get on the Canon Pixma MG6250 (which has six cartridges compared to four here!).



Scanner and copier

The CIS type scanner will be okay as a backup solution (maximum resolution 1200 dpi). You can change the contrast and brightness and there's a rotation tool to alter the positioning of documents. Scanned images can easily be sent to a memory card or a computer. It'll take you around 12 seconds to scan a page at 300 dpi which is good enough. As always with multifunction scanners, quality is somewhat compromised and colour accuracy is reduced, with a colour difference of 6.9%.

Copy mode is fine for text but it doesn't do as well with documents that require more nuance and finesse: the reproduction quality on our graph is almost illegible.

Copy times are pretty good: a black & white copy takes 14 seconds and a colour 23 seconds.

Energy consumption & noise levels


This printer consumes too much power in standby (3 W) but is okay when printing (15 W). It's a quiet machine, never exceeding 47 dB(A).

 

Cost per page: 8.9 pence.

With a cost per page, in colour with XL cartridges, of 8.9 pence, this Photosmart Plus is more economical than average.

Try and avoid the standard cartridges as they'll increase costs by another 50% or so.

ISO lifespan for text - XL cartridges

Cartridge Price ISO lifespan
Cost per page
364 XL (black) £18 800 2.3 pence
364 XL (cyan) £15.50 750 2.1 pence
364 XL (magenta) £15.50 750 2.1 pence
364 XL (yellow) £18 750 2.4 pence

 


4/5 HP Photosmart Plus (210a) DigitalVersus 2011-10-12 00:00:00

Pros

  • Cost per page: 8.9 pence for XL cartridges
  • Connected printer to print Internet content without going via a computer
  • Touchscreen
  • Wi-fi
  • Quiet

Cons

  • No double sided
  • Energy consumption in standby is too high: 3 W
  • Lack of depth for black and white photos
  • Poor quality copies
  • Visible drops on prints

Conclusion

This is an affordable touchscreen connected printer, both in terms of its asking price and consumables. It will suit users who want it for home use but print quality remains a good deal down on the Canon Pixma MG5150 for example.

OUR SCORE 4/5
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