Nuggets: HP's 1218 printer thrills photo buffs

Bypass your PC and print direct from SmartMedia or CompactFlash cards

The curvy dark grey HP photosmart 1218 is a versatile high-resolution colour printer with a few tricks up its sleeve.

While connection is by serial cable or USB, the 1218 means you can avoid fiddling with connecting cables and having to use a PC. Instead you can print directly from either smart cards or via infrared. You have seven buttons, two slots and a LCD panel to play with.

The HP Photo Printing bundled software seems limited in some areas but provided you are content with the preset formats it is adequate. You can of course print direct from various applications. The 2,400dpi high resolution output is impressive and using glossy or matt HP photo paper makes a significant improvement in quality. With such high resolution you can now print ultra sharp A4 pages for impressive corporate presentations.

Bypassing your PC is the ultimate in convenience for digital snappers: eject the smartmedia or flash card from your camera, and bung it in the 1218 side slot -- upper for smartmedia, lower for flash cards. The LCD text panel reads instantly how many images are stored. The centre rocker button selects the image number. Next tap the top right button a couple of times to choose the image size and you've printed.

Infrared printing from laptops and PDAs is also possible. Install the drivers and then scroll the tools setting to "Default IR type" and beam your file into the 1218. Top marks for cool tech here. You can even print from your mobile phone if it is infrared enabled.

In brief, the 1218 photosmart is a seriously impressive printer, that delivers high quality output at a reasonable price and is ideal for infrared using compact flash snappers.

Overview 17ppm black, 13ppm colour, colour layering technology with PhotoRet III, 2,400dpi resolution, Direct Connect Printing: Supports CompactFlash, Type I & II and SmartMedia memory cards, faster back channel card access, expanded IR connectivity.


  • Total print quality, photo realistic images with colour layering 2400dpi

  • Convenient, direct connect "walk-up and print" from a wide range of digital cameras

  • Fast, convenient direct connect save to the PC

  • Easy to use "beam and print" wireless printing from cameras, PDAs, laptops, mobile phones

  • Automatic two-sided printing and optional networking

  • £292.47


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