Review: HP Photosmart Premium

Our score: 4/5
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August 25, 2009 5:50 PM
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Published: August 24, 2009 11:00 PM
By Nilofar Hadjanadjiboudine
Handling: Interesting features--and it's easy to use!

The Photosmart Premium from HP, also known as the C309, is a professional multifunction inkjet printer that includes both wired and wireless networking.  It features a fax machine, a document loader and a small 2.5'' screen.

The printer uses four separate cartridges, that are available either in either standard or XL sizes.  It also has an automatic double-sided printing mode.

Sharing printers is made easy, as you can either use WiFi or Ethernet.  The Photosmart Premium is also compatible with Bluetooth, which is incredibly easy, although it's impossible to either save or edit the files that you send to the printer this way.  As soon as the printer receives a photo from your mobile, it starts printing straight away.  While it's printing, it uses around 37 W.




WiFi is also very easy to use.  Once you've provided your WEP key when the printer asks for it (which is all explained clearly in the manual), all you need to do is install it on your computer in 'wireless mode' and away you go!

Office Printing: Top marks for speed and quality

HP claims that the Premium can reach speeds of 33 pages per minute (ppm) in draft mode in black-and-white.  In reality, we only managed 23 ppm using our test documents in draft mode.  In standard mode, the Premium printed at 10.5 ppm in both colour and black-and-white, which is a perfectly reasonable speed.

Text produced in draft mode looks the same as it does in standard mode, but the individual drops of ink tend to spill over and the staircase effect is visible on curves.

The colours are darker than in the original documents, and text on a coloured background is difficult to read because of the ink drops that run.  However, large blocks of colour are even, and gradients are rather nicely done.


Compare the HP Photosmart Premium to other printers in our Product Face-Off

Photo Printing: Fast, but too red

The quality of photo printing is acceptable, and the drops of ink aren't too visible to the naked eye.  The contrast found in the original photo is well-respected, and coloured gradients are well-defined.  On the other hand, there is a very strong dominance of warm colours (reds), which makes photos look less natural.  What's more, some details lack sharpness and look blurry.

The printer is as fast at is for office printing.  A 4 x 6'' photo print in colour without a margin takes around 30 seconds from the moment you press 'Print'.  That's fast!

Cost per page: cheaper with XL cartridges

All of the cartridges for this printer are sold as number 364.  HP has two different sizes, standard and XL.

Cartridge RRP ISO Lifespan
Cost per page
CB317EE (black photo) £8 130  6.15 p
CB322EE (black photo XL) £15 290 5.17 p
CB316EE (black) £9 250 3.60 p
CB321EE (black XL) £25 800 3.13 p
CB320EE (yellow) £8 300 2.66 p
CB325EE (yellow XL) £15 750 2.00 p
CB319EE (magenta) £8 300 2.66 p
CB324EE (magenta XL) £15 750 2.00 p
CB318EE (cyan) £8 300 2.66 p
CB323EE (cyan XL) £15 750 2.00 p

Using standard cartridges, the cost of office printing is very high: 17.73 p.  With an XL cartridge, though, the cost falls to 14.13 p, but that's still quite pricey.
4/5 HP Photosmart Premium DigitalVersus 2009-08-25 00:00:00

Pros

  • Fast printing
  • Bluetooth and WiFi both easy to set up and use
  • Accurate contrast

Cons

  • Colours in photo printing
  • High running costs

Conclusion

This printer includes powerful features that are easy to use. It prints quickly enough and the results are pretty convincing for documents, but a little less so with photos, which are a little too red.

OUR SCORE 4/5
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