More and more people are venturing into the world of do-it-yourself photo printing now that it's easier and cheaper than it used to be. The quality, too, is comparable even to lab-quality prints, if you have the right printer/ink/photo paper setup (a good photo editing software doesn't hurt either). My wife enjoys scrap-booking as a hobby and I like to print photos to give to family. Hence, we have lots of different types of photo paper lying around the house. We have everywhere from 4x12 panorama paper to three different thicknesses of 8x11 photo paper and everything in between. This review is going to be about HP's Everyday 4x6 Photo Paper, Semi-gloss, 100 pk. Other reviews will follow, all taking into consideration Epinions' 100-word difference guideline.
Recommend this product?
Paper Build/Using the Paper
Since this is 4x6 photo paper, you may want to make sure that your printer will handle 4x6 photo paper as some older printers only handle 8.5 x 11. This paper otherwise will work in any inkjet printer.
This is HP's lowest-quality photo paper, and has only a 6.5mil thickness, as compared to HP's higher 11.5 mil paper. Thickness of photo paper can affect photo quality. Thicker paper can hold more ink, so higher dpi prints are possible (like 4800dpi, for example). However, for the HP Everyday Advanced photo paper, I wouldn't recommend anything higher than 600dpi, which is generally what printers print photos out by default anyway. The paper itself is semi-gloss, this being the only finish available for this paper.
This photo paper comes in a pack of 100 at a cost of around $10, at a cost of around 10 cents per sheet. Adding the cost of ink, each printed photo should cost your between 20-30 cents, depending on your printer. HP offers this paper along with ink in a few bundle packs for a discounted price. This is a pretty reasonable cost per print, considering that you would pay around the same at a photo kiosk. This would make the paper ideal for those who print photos that aren't important, or for children who want to print photos.
If high quality prints are what you want, overlook this photo paper. Although inexpensive, this paper is simply a cheap alternative to plain paper photo prints. It will offer better photo quality than plain printing paper, but will not offer the results that a high-mil photo paper can. Here is the usage as recommended on the package:
"This photo paper's semi-gloss finish gives your photo paper sharper, more vivid colors than plain paper. Print proof sheets, e-mailed photos, and internet downloads using this affordable, everyday photo paper. Get fast-dry, smudge- and smear-resistant photos you can quickly print and share."
Like I mentioned, being a thinner photo paper, you definitely don't want to print high resolution photos on this paper, 600 dpi being the highest you'd want to go. Printing with higher resolutions will likely leave your paper a soggy mess. True to the packaging, photos do come out much better on this paper than they do on regular printing paper. The photos do lack some definition though, and contrasts are lower than when compared to higher grade photo papers. Colors appear fine, though, and after being printed, a photo can almost pass off as a legitimate photo.
Previously, this paper was pretty bad about taking a long time to dry after it was printed, and smudges and smears were a problem if the paper was handled to soon. Now, however, the photo paper is a little better about drying more quickly and is now smudge- and smear-resistant.
Generally, I use this paper for test prints. I've also used it to pass off humorous Photoshopped photos to my brother, who shows Mom and eventually throws the print away. Others will find the photo useful for children, who like to print photos for fun. The paper is not water-resistant, so caution should be taken when it is raining. For archiving important photos, though, this photo paper will disappoint. Overall quality is slightly lower than your average photo paper and image quality will be affected. Not to say that this photo paper is horrible, it's just simply below average.