HP Photosmart Premium review: an ink printer with Internet connection and TouchSmart technology

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In autumn the HP company introduced a new series of HP Photosmart printers. Their common characteristics are the iPhone-like touchscreens and direct communication through Internet services. They allow you to upload, download and print your photos from the Internet. All that without the need for any software equipment on your computer. You don't need the computer at all.

It was only the matter of time until technologies and hardware producers got to the point when they could offer their every-day use devices in such form that they no longer require to be connected to the computer. Working with such devices reaches maximal simplicity. Of course, the knowledge of some terms is still necessary, but entering several simple pieces of information is much simpler then operating a computer.

HP Photosmart Premium is a device that meets the aforementioned conditions perfectly. Although it is not the first multipurpose ink printer that does not need a computer to work, it combines several new functions in an interesting way. All the functions of the device, including printing, uploading photographs from memory cards to the Internet, scanning, image adjustments etc., can be controlled using the touchscreen. Yes, this printer is equipped with a wireless WiFi connection, which is not so exceptional by itself, but thanks to this feature it allows you to connect to the Internet.

HP Photosmart Premium connects to the Internet through the Snapfish service that is provided directly by the HP company. However, it is quite possible that support for other photo sharing Internet services will emerge soon.

HP Photosmart Premium

HP Photosmart Premium

Installation and connection

If we want to use the printer without a computer, the only thing that we need to do is to plug it in and to press the network settings icon on the touchscreen. If your WiFi router has been configured to assign the IP addresses automatically to the machines in your network, just run the wireless network connection wizard and wait a few moments. In a while, you will see a list of found WiFi networks on the screen. Select one of them, enter the login information and the printer is ready to be used. Upon request the printer will print summary information concerning the current settings for you.

HP Photosmart Premium

HP Photosmart Premium

At this moment all the installing necessary for using the printer within a network along with Internet is done. If you want work with the Snapfish service, just enter your login information after pressing the respective icon and wait until the albums and photographs from the Internet service are loaded.

HP Photosmart Premium

HP Photosmart Premium

Using the HP Photosmart Premium printer

HP Photosmart Premium is all in black. The top part of the matte plastic body is covered by the glossy cover of the flatbed scanner. The printer very much resembles the HP multimedia notebooks and it can very nicely be used in combination with them (Which however does not exclude its trouble-free use with anything else). Again, HP has moved the control concept using the panel and the display a bit forward with this model series. Apart from the ON/OFF button there are only two blue diodes signaling the WiFi and Bluetooth connection on the panel.

HP Photosmart Premium

HP Photosmart Premium

There are no other buttons, all the controls are realized using the raised touchscreen panel that markedly resembles the iPhone telephone or the iPod Touch player by Apple. There is a set of surfaces/buttons around the screen that react to touch. The screen itself works as a touchscreen as well, but that is where all the similarities with the iPhone ends. You can forget multitouch or moving display elements using fingers. On the other hand, the communication with the printer is easy enough even without these features.

HP Photosmart Premium

HP Photosmart Premium

Setting the parameters of the printer and displaying the ink level is very fast and the display responds immediately. Loading previews from a memory card or an USB key is a bit slower. That is of course given by the size of the photographs stored on the device. Before the images are printed, you can display them so that they fit the display size and possibly also adjust them - crop them, improve colors, add a frame... In a word, all the functions related to printing and adjusting photographs are available just as in regular computer managers and editors. Only in case of the HP PhotoSmart Premium C309g with the TouchSmart technology you can do without the computer.

HP Photosmart Premium

HP Photosmart Premium

The working speed with the Snapfish service depends on the speed of your Internet connection. Snapfish offers the same printing functions as if you load the photographs from your card and what is more, you can send the images to Snapfish directly from the printer. However, what I would change in the next firmware is the reaction speed when switching pages with image previews. I understand that it takes a while to download the pictures from the Internet, but showing a set of empty previews should be immediate. It should never happen that the printer stops responding and the user is not sure whether he or she has done something wrong or not.

Printing and HP Photosmart Premium drivers

I have downloaded the installer of the drivers from the HP web site, where you can find versions both for Windows XP, Vista and the new Windows 7. The drivers are available in two variants - in a standalone version and as a part of a package along with the operating software. If you wish to use the printer in the wireless mode and do not want to use the USB cable (the wireless mode is not obligatory), I recommend to connect the printer to the network first and only then to install the drivers.

HP Photosmart Premium

HP Photosmart Premium

If you download the drivers from the Internet, do not forget to make sure that you are really downloading the right ones. Models C309g-m and C309s-n are easily interchangeable, which would result in the driver stubbornly claiming that the printer has not been connected - it is simply searching for a different model.

HP Photosmart Premium

HP Photosmart Premium

The operating software itself is very pleasant. The default is the HP Solution Center, where you will find buttons for running the most frequent printer activities when used with the computer - scanning and picture copying. The interface allows you to see the current ink levels and to run the Windows Live Photogallery with add-ons linked to the HP printing software. You can easily print both single images and their different combinations in one sheet. The drivers allow you to easily adjust the printing quality from any application.

HP Photosmart Premium

HP Photosmart Premium

In my opinion, the printing speed of HP Photosmart Premium is acceptable, the printing quality is excellent. Printing Word documents was absolutely without problems, when printing Excel tables short breaks before finishing printing each page might surprise you.

HP Photosmart Premium

HP Photosmart Premium

Printing photographs is usually a more interesting function than printing documents in ink printers. When printing in the default settings to an ordinary paper the result is slightly oversaturated, which leads to loss of some detail in darker areas of the photography. However, after we activate the photo printing mode, the image gets lighter and the entire photograph is printed correctly. Of course, the best results are achieved using photographic paper. In that case the colors are perfectly saturated and there is no loss of detail at all. Nothing is missing in a picture printed on such paper.

  • First page: 20,2 s
  • Text A4: 8,2 s
  • Document A4: 10,7 s
  • Excel table A4: 8,9 s
  • Photography A4 standard: 28 s
  • Photography A4, automatic paper detection: 61 s
  • Photography 10x15 cm to HP Advanced Photo Paper: 76 s
  • Photography 13 x 18 cm: 92 s

A4 document scanning speeds are listed in the following summary. There is virtually no difference in speed between using the gray scale mode and the full-color mode. Scanning starts almost immediately, you do not have to wait until the lamp warms up.

  • Black and white 150 DPI: 9,2 s
  • Black and white 300 DPI: 13,9 s
  • Grayscale 150 DPI: 10,7 s
  • Grayscale 300 DPI: 14,6 s
  • Color 150 DPI: 10,7 s
  • Color 300 DPI: 14,6 s

Since HP Photosmart Premium is a multifunction device, you will surely use it from time to time to copy documents as well. In that case you don't need a computer, the copying can be performed using the control panel functions:

  • A4 black and white: 19,1 s
  • A4 color: 20,9 s

HP Photosmart Premium C309g power demand

When compared to laser printers, the energy consumption of ink printers is much lower. When printing, HP Photosmart Premium consumes about 14 W, in a standby mode with the display on the consumption is somewhere around 6 Watts. After turning the display off, the consumption drops by 1 Watt. 5 W in a standby mode is probably a bit more than you would expect, but that is a tax to pay for the printer being ready to communicate through WiFi.

  • Sleeping mode: 5 W
  • Saving mode: 6 W
  • Printing: 14 W
  • Scanning: 6 W

Specifications

  • Name: HP Photosmart Premium C309g-m
  • Printing method: 5 ink cartridges
  • Height: 199 mm
  • Width: 452 mm
  • Depth: 473 mm
  • Input: 125/20 sheets
  • Resolution: 9600 DPI print, 4800 ppi scanner
  • Ports: USB 2.0, Ethernet 10/100, WiFi, Bluetooth
  • Drivers: Windows XP, Vista, 7, Mac OS X
  • Weight: 7,45 kg

 [inline:12_HP_Photosmart_Premium_C309g_s_technologii_TouchSmart.JPG=HP Photosmart Premium]

HP Photosmart Premium

HP Photosmart Premium

Final evaluation

Although HP Photosmart Premium C309g with the TouchSmart technology has a few slight drawbacks (the display is without multitouch, it is not possible to use WiFi and Ethernet at the same time, the printing quality of photographs in the standard mode is not that good), they are really only small imperfections. For quite a keen price you get an above-standard multifunction printer that can be largely used without the computer. Today almost all producers offer copying, scanning and printing pictures without a computer - however not every printer will offer you an Internet connection and the possibility to upload new photos to a web site. If you are fond of innovative technologies, this printer is highly recommended.

HP Photosmart Premium

HP Photosmart Premium

HP Photosmart Premium

HP Photosmart Premium

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