HP DeskJet 450

HP DeskJet 450

Summary: The DeskJet 450 is compact, and battery power allows you to use it in unlikely places. However, despite its good print quality, it's neither a budget printer, nor the fastest way of printing photos.

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  • Compact;
  • can run on battery power;
  • good photo quality using optional photo cartridge.


  • Not the cheapest inkjet available;
  • very slow when handling large photo images.

HP thinks you need to be able to print on the move, and has produced the DeskJet 450 to meet this need. This compact colour inkjet is not only small enough to carry around, but it can also be powered from a battery. Although it's admirably suited to mobile professionals, the DeskJet 450 should satisfy home users equally well.

The DeskJet 450 is available as two models; the 450ci and 450cbi, the only difference being that a battery is supplied with the latter. If you want to add it separately at a later stage the battery is available for £51 (ex. VAT). You could also have more than one battery if you're planning on being away from the mains for a long time. When we printed 50 pages of standard text -- a software manual -- this used 15 percent of the battery's capacity, so around 300 pages is a reasonable estimate of its life.

The DeskJet 450's print engine has a native resolution of 1200 dots per inch (dpi), with enhanced resolution up to 4,800 by 1,200dpi. Draft mode black text can be produced at up to 9 pages per minute. Turn the quality up and the print speed drops to 1ppm for best-quality mixed colour and text. A full-page photo takes anything from a minute to around ten minutes to produce, depending on print size and quality. Using the top quality setting -- which is only possible when using special photo paper -- you're warned that you may need hundreds of megabytes of disk space to store the metafile for the image. We found that printing a high-resolution image (3,700 by 2,500 pixels) at nearly full A4 size with the top quality settings took almost half an hour. However, you're unlikely to print many such images in a typical day.

The DeskJet 450 uses two combined ink/print head cartridges. One of these is the tri-colour cartridge used for printing standard colour documents, while the other is interchangeable between a black cartridge and a photo colour cartridge. Obviously the former is used when printing text, but you can swap it for the latter when you're printing a photographic image. You're supplied with the black and tri-colour cartridges as standard, but the photo colour cartridge costs £18.57 (ex. VAT) extra. The small case that protects the unused cartridge costs £10 (ex. VAT).

Measuring 33.8cm by 16.4cm by 8.2cm, the DeskJet 450 is certainly a small printer, especially considering it's a colour device. However, it weighs around 2kg without its battery, which adds another 150g, so it's going to double your travel weight if you carry a typical ultraportable notebook. This assumes that you're leaving the AC adapter behind, saving yourself a further 350g. Portable in this case means on a luggage trolley or in the boot of your car, not in a shoulder bag all day.

The DeskJet 450 is supplied with a parallel cable, but supports USB and infrared printing as well. There's also a Type II CompactFlash slot at the rear of the printer, into which you can add a Bluetooth adapter (£62.95 ex. VAT extra) to support wireless printing from handhelds, for example. HP supplies Bluetooth printing software for Palm OS 4.0 or higher on the included CD.

The driver software includes a utility called HP DeskJet Toolbox. This allows you to monitor the ink levels in the cartridges, and the level of battery charge. This latter option is essential if you're planning on using the DeskJet 450 on the move, as there's no indication on the printer's front panel of the amount of charge you have left. The front panel lets you perform any maintenance tasks on the printer, such as aligning the print heads after a cartridge change.

The driver software includes a facility to upload your usage information to HP, as part of a service it calls myPrintMileage. This monitors how much ink you're using and allows you to see the results on a personalised Web page. In reality it's just another way for HP to sell you more ink cartridges, and you have the option to disable or enable the upload at any time.

The DeskJet 450 is a good quality portable printer. It's not the best quality inkjet you can for the price, nor is it so lightweight that you could take it everywhere. However, its size and reasonable photo quality also make it suitable for home users who may be short of space and don't require the very best in photo output. They obviously won't need the battery or more exotic connectivity, but stick the special photo ink in and you have a respectable printer that will fit on a windowsill or shelf -- vital if you're out of desk space.


Dimensions (W x H x D) 33.8 x 8.2 x 16.4 cm
Consumables included Black Ink cartridge; Colour ink cartridge; photo ink cartridge
Weight 2.1 kg
Printer features
Printer technology thermal inkjet
Printer language support PCL3
Built-in devices none
Maximum resolution (b&w)
Maximum print speed (b&w) 5 ppm
Paper handling
Media sizes A4; legal; letter
Media feeders none
Total media capacity 45 sheets
Monthly duty cycle 500 pages
System components
RAM installed 16 MB
RAM capacity 16 MB
Service & support
Standard warranty 1 year RTB
Connectivity / expansion
Parallel yes
USB yes
System requirements / software
Operating systems supported Windows 98; Me; NT 4.0; 2000; XP; Mac System 8.6 or above
Software included none


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Topics: Printers, Hardware, Reviews

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  • 4.0

    I have the DeskJet less then a year and I have already had it replaced. It is fine for normal paper or high-resolution paper, but after a few prints with photo paper (specifically HP photo paper was used), it just ceased. It made some incredible noises, but I can still print normal paper but NO photopaper. I will again contact HP and expect the printer to be replaced, but I have no confidence now to print anything other than normal paper.

    I bought it because I do travel a lot, however it has not been worth it and wished I had never bought it.
  • 9.0

    I recently bought the 450wbt, that includes wireless Bluetooth. I am now able to print from my Nokia 3650 completely cordless. While the resolution from a phone doesn't truly test the printer, next I tried printing from my 3.3 megapixel digital camera. You have two options PhotoRet or 4,800dpi. At 4,800dpi, pictures look just as good as 35mm photos, but it does take a bit longer. PhotoRet is still great and isn't noticed by a casual observer. Overall I am extremely satisfied with the quality that this little printer puts out!
  • 8.0

  • 4.0

    Paper feed problems from day1. HP support is non-exsistent. Very disappointing. Simply is not worth it. HP is not what it used to be: they do not care and their products are now poor to average at best.
  • 5.5

    Worked fine for a while. Not impressed with speed, but sufficient for my needs. Less than one year after I purchased it, it will print only on first page. Further attempts will jam the feeder. Wished Canon portable had been available when I purchased my 450.
  • 4.0

    Paper jam city. After the warranty ran out the paper won't feed properly. So now it's absolutely useless.
  • HP deny this is a known fault - hmmm: only have to look below. Never again.
  • 4.5

    This printer has all kinds of paper feed shortcomings; it will not feed thicker than 20lb or narrower than 4in. Forget any standard photo paper or the better-looking 24lb bright whites You have to buy special thin photo paper that apperently only HP makes. It is a waste of time. Get the Canon i80.
  • 3.5

    Sanity or the HP 450 -- pick one.

    Paper Jams. Remarkably Slow. Paper Jams. Won't Feed. Paper Jams. Worthless. Paper Jams. The irony? Well, it worked for about a year (just like the other owners have described) - then it breaks. Every sheet jams; if you get one to print the next will jam. Failure is the only guarantee
  • 3.5

    If you can't print with it, it is useless, correct?

    After about 6-8 months, paper misfeeding and jamming and reluctance to print prevented me from counting on this printer on the road, which is why I bought it in the first place.

    Oh yeah, my HP fax machine also constantly misfeeds, but that was from about 3 weeks on. What's up with HP and their incompetent paper feeding engineering? BAH!
  • 3.0

    Had printer for a year, and have used it very rarely until recently. Terrible paper feed problems, prints blank pages, jams for no reason, fails to grip the next page. Would never recommend this. Don't know what the Canon i80's like, but it can't be worse than this. AVOID!
  • 3.5

    Worked fine for about a year with light use, then developed paper feed problems, requiring manual intervention every sheet, then refused to print at all, tried different operating systems, parallel & USB same problem, no help from HP, have spent in the region of 100 hours trying to trouble-shoot the problem, with no success, needless to say i will not be buying HP again and would advise prospective purchasers to seek alternatives, this bustard will drive you nuts.
  • 5.0

    Good quality prints, but too many problems with paper feed. There seems to be no technical support from HP. I would not purchase it again.
  • 3.5

  • 6.5

    Second printer I have had can rarely feed more than one sheet and when it stops it hangs so bad the printer and computer have to be rebooted. It is junk.
  • 4.5

    Bought about 18mths ago. It looked good aesthetically, and I needed a small portable printer (i.e. with battery) for my work. Since then I've only used it for light work, but a few weeks ago it suddenly developed paper feed problems. It won't grip or feed the paper, I have to feed each page separately to have a hope of printing anything. It can't handle even 90gsm paper. Very disappointed, will never buy HP again.
  • 4.0

    At the beginning was OK but when a problem with the paper feed started it turn out to be useless. This printer should be avoided and HP products as whole (it is not what used to be I am affraid).
  • 3.0

    Not repaired by HP either under warranty!
  • 4.0

    It was OK until about the time that the warranty ran out. Now it's almost useless. I struggle to get it to take one sheet without "jamming". I put 'jamming' in quotes because I'm not even sure it's actually jamming (the paper is hardly scathed). It may be a bogus jam indication. Whatever, nothing can be done by the use to help the paper go through.
  • 4.0

    Okay, I have been using the 450 a lot. I think I've emptied 6 ink cartridges in about a year. Apparently that's more than the printer can take. Mine has developed hopeless paper feed problems. I opened and cleaned it, hoping that this would solve the problem. It did, for a month. Then the problem was back. Sheets will jam halfway for unclear reasons. It looks like this model wears out very quickly. This printer is better avoided, unless you like to waste money.