- Excellent photo prints;
- easy to setup and use;
- compatible with multiple removable media formats;
- useful software included.
- Only prints 10 x 15cm photos;
- no USB cable included;
- not the fastest photo printer we've seen.
Unlike many photo printers, which are basically conventional inkjets with improved photo-printing skills, HP’s diminutive Photosmart 130 prints only 10 by 15cm photos. For digital camera enthusiasts, this is hardly a shortcoming: the £106.37 (ex. VAT; £124.99 ex. VAT) toaster-sized 130 does one thing, and does it well -- printing gorgeous photographs with minimum fuss. You don't even need to hook up the Photosmart 130 to your PC: this printer works straight from your digital camera. If you want larger prints, however, look to a more conventional product.
Setting up the HP Photosmart 130 won't take long, thanks to a colourful setup poster and a comprehensive user manual. But this documentation merely tells you how to print directly from one of the many removable media cards the printer accepts. To take advantage of the included image-editing and management software and to print through your PC, you have to be experienced enough to connect the printer to your system via the USB port (cable not included), insert the included CD-ROM, and then follow the straightforward installation directions.
If you opt not to get your PC involved, you'll find that printing from a removable media source such as CompactFlash, Secure Digital Multimedia or SmartMedia cards, as well as Memory Sticks, is straightforward. Just insert the card into one of the slots on the front of the printer, load special photo paper into the tiny input tray and use the 130's easy-to-navigate LCD panel to start printing.
The LCD's layout and controls follow the same simple paradigm as those of a digital camera or monitor menu. The icons are arranged in a semicircle and depict, for example, photo size (10 x 15cm, or thumbnail for printing an index sheet of all the snapshots on your media card), paper and print card status and number of copies. You use the tab button for navigating through these icon categories and the plus/minus button for selecting within each category. To choose which pictures to print, select their numbers from the LCD (photos are numbered according to their order on the source media).
HP Photosmart 130 may be a one-trick pony, but it's Ascot material. Our 10 by 15cm test photos outclassed the best prints from conventional inkjets we've tested, including the Canon S900 and the HP Deskjet 995C. The Photosmart 130 accurately rendered colours -- especially tricky reds -- with rich pigments, and skin tones looked remarkably smooth. Unlike most inkjets, the printer produced even, detailed backgrounds. To top it all off, the Photosmart 130 took a reasonably quick 2.5 minutes per page. We've seen conventional inkjets that print an 8 by 10in. glossy in about the same amount of time, but the output quality can't compare with that of the Photosmart 130.
If you'd like to smarten up your digital images before printing them, or want to print from email or the Web, you'll find the included HP Photo and Imaging Gallery software quite useful and understandable. In addition to two programs that help you organise and store your digital images for easier printing, you'll find HP Image Editor, a simple program that lets you resize and rotate your photos, as well as adjust colours and brightness and correct red-eye. The included printer drivers are comprehensive enough for more sophisticated users who wish to fix saturation and colour tone, yet they're easy to use and provide basic settings for print quality, paper type, ink volume and ink dry time.
As with most printers, the HP Photosmart 130 comes with a one-year warranty. You're entitled to free phone support for the length of warranty, and you can also check the company's Web site for software updates, printing tips and manuals.
Compared with some of the better photo-capable inkjets we've seen, including the Canon S900 (which prints full-sized documents of all kinds), the HP Photosmart 130's printing options are limited. However, if you just want to print a truckload of digital snaps, this Photosmart 130 may be the easiest and most cost-effective solution available.
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||22.5 x 12.5 x 20.2 cm|
|Accessories included||built-in media readers:Type II CompactFlash; SmartMedia; SD; Memory Stick|
|Consumables included||tri-colour cartridge|
|Printer technology||thermal inkjet|
|Printer language support||PCL 3; PML|
|Maximum resolution (b&w)|
|Maximum print speed (b&w)||3 ppm|
|Media sizes||102 x 152; 102 x 165 (10 x 15cm with tear-off tab)|
|Media feeders||optional 2-sided printing module|
|Total media capacity||20 sheets|
|Service & support|
|Standard warranty||1 year limited|
|Connectivity / expansion|
|System requirements / software|
|Operating systems supported||Windows 98; ME; 2000; XP; Mac OS 9 or X 10.1 (on G3 or above CPU)|
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