- Good text and colour printing, especially on coated paper;
- includes removable media card readers;
- colours scans on par with those of dedicated scanners;
- Windows and Mac support.
- Tends to pick up multiple sheets, causing paper jams;
- no USB cable included;
- relatively expensive to run.
By definition, all multifunction devices (MFDs) print, copy and scan, and they often fax too. But only a handful, such as HP’s PSC 2210, also read memory cards from digital cameras, and very few manage to cram these abilities into a compact, easy-to-maintain unit. The PSC 2210 does all of the above, with performance that rivals that of standalone printers, both in speed and output quality. For a small office or a home requiring a convenient, space-saving unit, this is an excellent choice -- unless you intend to send a lot of faxes. In that case, you'd be better off with Canon's MultiPass F50, which has a sheet feeder that allows for speedy, multi-page faxes.
Setting up the HP PSC 2210 shouldn't take much time, as it’s simple to insert the delivery tray or to insert ink cartridges, for example. The USB cable is sold separately, however, so this process comes to a screeching halt when you're ready to attach the MFD to your computer. This is standard industry practice for peripherals, but we find it annoying.
We do, however, admire the unit's design. With its reasonable dimensions (46.3cm by 37cm by 22cm) and shallow 100-sheet, front-facing paper tray, the PSC 2210 saves you more desk space than many other MFDs, such as the less capable Lexmark X83. The physical controls are easy to work out, even without the comprehensive manual. Colour and black copy buttons reside at the bottom of the control panel, while fax number controls sit in the middle. The semicircle of function buttons at the top of the panel let you select whether to copy, fax, scan or handle digital photo cards.
To help manage your prints and scans, the PSC 2210 ships with several straightforward applications. A control program called HP Director houses several push-button options that you would use, for example, to scan pictures or text. Before the device begins a scan, the program previews the image so that you can rotate and crop as needed. You can use the Image Editor to make simple photo adjustments (such as cropping and red-eye reduction, as well as brightness and contrast fixes) to your final scan. The PSC 2210 also ships with a reasonably accurate OCR package, Readiris. The program can't handle heavily formatted columns as gracefully as OmniPage, but it's accurate enough for most tasks, including reading and transcribing scanned words into editable text.
In the end, of course, performance counts above all. As handy as they may be, all-in-ones rarely match their standalone counterparts in terms of output quality. In ZDNet Labs' text-speed tests, the PSC 2210 couldn't keep up with the competition. Its 4.1 pages per minute (ppm) placed it third out of four, behind the HP Officejet d145's 4.6ppm and the Canon MultiPass F50's 6.4ppm. However, in terms of images, the PCS 2210 generally produced excellent output on all grades of paper. In fact, our jury decided that the PSC 2210's prints looked as good as those of most inkjet printers we have reviewed in the past six months. Naturally, however, it can't match dedicated photo printers, such as the Epson Stylus C60 or the Canon S900.
Sadly, the PSC 2210's fine output quality came at the expense of ink -- literally. In ZDNet's tests, the PSC 2210 set us back around a steep 4.4p per page of black ink, while colour pages came in at 20p each. Worse, during printing, our test machine suffered a few paper-feed glitches. We experienced several multi-sheet feeds, which led to ugly paper jams. Perhaps the curly, humidity-afflicted paper played a part.
As a photocopier, the PSC 2210 performs capably enough for a letter-sized flatbed that lacks an automatic document feeder. The PSC even lets you start a copy or a scan during a print job, then cues up each job without a pause. However, the PSC 2210 won't let you scan any legal-sized documents.
In ZDNet's scanner tests, the PSC 2210 maintained colour fidelity and contrast with ease, although its greyscale scans looked only fair. At first glance, these results may seem substandard, but our output jury found the scans on a par with those from dedicated scanners such as Visioneer’s OneTouch 8920. Unfortunately, the PSC 2210 scans about 30 percent slower than the OneTouch 8920.
You'll never get decent fax speeds out of this unit, either, because it has no document feeder to shuttle your pages from the input tray. If you have lots of pages to copy or fax, it'll take a while.
To help keep your PSC 2210 in working order, Hewlett-Packard provides a standard one-year warranty. You can also email a technician at any time through the company's online help site.
This compact and multi-talented MFD generates print output of a quality close to that of standalone inkjet printers. But it's a shame that its print speeds are so slow and that ink costs really add up. Still, for families, students and small offices, the £254.47 (ex. VAT; £299 inc. VAT) PSC 2210 has what it takes.