HP Photosmart 6510 B211a All-In-One Inkjet Printer Reviews

HP Photosmart 6510 B211a All-In-One Inkjet Printer

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Great Quality Prints and Quiet Too (UPDATED)

Apr 16, 2012 (Updated Sep 24, 2012)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Use:
  • Paper Handling:

Pros:high-quality results, very quiet, wireless

Cons:no fax, no document feeder, no legal-sized scanner, PAY ATTENTION TO INK model numbers

The Bottom Line: Solid performer, some limitations but high-quality results at low cost. You'll need to educate yourself about ink cartridge expiration dates. 4.25 stars out of 5

In recent years, I’ve owned HP’s Photosmart 8150 and their behemoth OfficeJet 7680. Basically, this Photosmart 6510 and their 5510 and 7510 models combine the best of both technologies – a photo printer and a small office machine. This time around, the interface is a tilt-able touch screen (about the size of an iPhone) and very user-friendly.

Connecting this printer to a PC or Macintosh computer or a network couldn’t more simplistic. You can connect to one PC via a USB cable (not included) or via your wireless router. Drawbacks to using a USB cable include not being able to update the printer and its apps via the web or ePrint.

So I got it home, unpacked it, went through the instructions, loaded the software and ... ERROR. My PC would not recognize the USB device. So I tried to sync it with my wireless router - no go. I spent the better part of two days on HP's website, tech forums and with Geek Squad and I could not get the printer to work. As a last-ditch effort, I asked if I could swap it out for a new one. If it didn't work, it's probably the PC's issue - the BIOS? The motherboard? The USB drivers? After all of that work, it turned out to be the printer - it was a dud. When I tried hooking up the replacement printer, it booted right up and worked perfectly. What a waste of time and gas!

Once I got the printer to behave properly, I printed out my first image on 4x6 photo paper. The detail and color saturation was gorgeous! The day before, in a panic, I printed it out on my mother in-law's Dell color laser printer. The details were diminished and the colors were not right. That surprised me. But this Photosmart puts out some amazing quality images and graphic reproductions. I'm very happy.

By the way, I originally paid $149 at Best Buy. On my return trip to Geek Squad, they price-matched it to Target's price of $134.99. When i spotted Staples and Office Max's price of $109.99 - yup, they matched that too.
The printer, a manual, a power cord, a sample packet of 4x6 photo paper, a software CD and four (starter) ink cartridges (cyan, magenta, yellow and black)

My overall impression is that for a multi-function machine, the 6510’s smaller 17.2” wide x 15” deep  x  6.3” tall footprint (compared to other multi-function printers) is really nice and compact and it’s surprisingly lightweight at 12.3 pounds. The only real noise this machine makes while printing is moving paper into position. While the cartridges glide over the paper, it’s pretty quiet compared to other printers I have used.

I had this long-lasting smile on my face when the first print came out of the printer. It was a 4x6 print - the details were sharp and the colors were right on the money. Drawbacks include a mere 20 pages in the output tray and only 80 sheets in the input tray. The 7510 brings those numbers up to 50 and 125. The 6510 does print from a memory card or directly from a camera, but it doesn’t include “Air Print” or ePrinting. It should be noted that the smallest media size this machine will handle is 3x5” and the largest is 8.5 x 14” so if you ever need to print a banner, the HP 7510 will handle 8.5 x 30”. The speed of the 6510 is rated at (up to) 22 ppm color or black) while the printing resolution is rated at 4800 x 1200 (color) and 1200 x 600 (black). The 7510 is rated at 9600x2400 (color). For that reason, the 7510 would be better for someone printing photographs most of the time.

One thing I love is the 4x6 / 5x7 photo tray insert. It keeps the smaller sized paper aligned perfectly. The only drawback is that you need to tell the printer that it should pick paper from the photo tray during the print set-up stage. Another minor quip is that when you print 5x7 or 4x6, you'll need to load at least two pieces of paper otherwise the printer might not pick one up to print and ask for paper. I find myself having to remove one of the sizes to print on the other.

These three HP All-in-One machines will print labels, cards, envelopes, transparencies as well as plain and photo papers.

What is ePrinting? I’m glad you ask. This printer actually has an email address. You can send it documents to print from any email-enabled device. In the case of spam, you can set up who or what gets to utilize this service to your printer. There’s even an “ePrintCenter” on the net at hpeprintcenter.com

One negative remark here is that the scanning bed is only letter sized (8.5 x 11.7) and not the full legal size my previous HP OfficeJet 7650 all-in-one printer had. Otherwise the scanning is pretty good for this price point. If you need legal sized scanning it’s best to opt for HPs 7510. If you need higher-quality scanning, best to turn to a stand-alone professional-level scanner. The scanning dpi is set at 1200x1200 dpi while the 7510 scans up to 1200x2400 dpi. Scanning can be saved to a computer, a memory card or simply reprint a scanned image by way of “photo to file”, “photo to email” or “PDF document.”  Sorry, no scanning directly to a flash drive with the 6510 although you could save it to a PC and then copy it to a flash drive plugged into that same PC.

Here again, the quality of the copying is pretty good but it’s really designed for home users. If you need a multi-sheet copier, best to opt for a higher-end machine designed for an office environment. Copies can be 2-sided (duplexing is built-in) and you have a choice of black, color and draft modes. Yes, there are options for reducing, enlarging and margin shifting. The copying resolution on the 6510 and the 7510 are the same – up to 600 dpi. The 7510 adds a document feeder otherwise the 5510 and 6510 are manual single feed.

Note: Although called an “All-in-One” the 5510 and the 6510 do not have faxing capabilities. But who faxes these days? If you need faxing, you could scan and email a document or buy HP’s 7510 with its eFax option.

Ink Usage
: This printer uses HP’s 564 and 564 XL ink cartridges.
Difference being that the XL holds more ink. I’ve always been a fan of the four separate color cartridge systems over the single cartridges with three colors. With three-color cartridges if one color empties, it renders the entire cartridge useless and that’s a real waste of ink. The regular sized cartridges tend to go fast so it’s best to have at least one back up cartridge for each color standing by. There’s also a “photo” cartridge. And while I thought that would translate to more vivid colors for photo rendering, it’s intended for more detailed gray scale rendering in black & white photography. By the way, the 564 cartridges are fairly inexpensive compared to HP cartridges I’ve purchased in the past.

Monthly Duty Cycle: The 5510 is rated at 2500 impressions, the 6510 is rated at 1000 impressions and the 7510 is rated at 1250 impressions. Depending on your projected workload - choose wisely.

Apps: While there are advantages to using the wireless connection, there are a few surprises for everyone… Games. That’s right, games on a printer – well almost. Sudoku, Tic-Tac-Toe, Dots and Maze are included… for the REALLY bored. The machine prints out pages that you can then play on. I guess it’s fun for younger kids.

Once the printer is connected to the internet, you’ll be able to print from the web without a computer and download more apps.  You can even print lined “notebook” paper for students. Wish I had that when I was in school… but I really wish the internet was available when I was in college!

Snapfish:  With this app, you can upload, edit and share photos – Snapfish is a great program for those who don’t have Photoshop – which is what I prefer.

The 5510 sells for about $80 at Wal-Mart and is ideal for students and very small business owners. The 6510 sells for about $110 at Staples and OfficeMax and is better-suited for average small business owners who want a little more from their machine. The 7510 sells for about $40 - $50 more and is better suited for those who want a larger scanning bed, higher-quality photo prints, a document feeder, eFaxing and Air Printing. Depending on your needs, compare the specs at Cnet.com and make an informed decision.

Within the first week of using this machine, I did experience one paper jam. Removing the letter-sized paper was a fairly simple 3-step process. The printer will even show you how to accomplish this task via an animated sequence right on the interface.  I believe the jam happened because I loaded the inner “photo tray” incorrectly.

If you have pets or live in a dusty environment, I would suggest purchasing a printer cover on Ebay or Amazon. You really don’t want pet hair or dust getting inside your printer because it will ruin future printing quality. Ask me how I know!

For about $110, I don’t think there’s a better photo-grade printer out there. Still, the 6510 does lack in areas made up for by the 7510. I rate the Photosmart 6510 a solid 4.25 stars out of 5 - if its specs are good enough for you.

It should be mentioned that (like too many American companies nowadays) this machine is made in China. The three HP machines come with a 1-year warranty. For more information, visit them at hp.com

UPDATE - 5/31/12

A word about the 564 printer cartridges including XL versions:

There seems to be controversy surrounding "Genuine HP" (as well as refilled) ink cartridges.

When buying the 564XL cartridges for this printer AND the 5510 and 7510, be careful. HP did an update to the "chip" on the cartridges and the older style WILL NOT WORK with this printer series. Whether you buy OEM or remanufactured ink, MAKE SURE THE MODEL NUMBER FOR ALL COLOR AND BLACK INK is CNxxxWN... ie CN684WN for black, CN685WN, CN686WN etc  otherwise it will NOT work with this printer or any HP printer in this series. The CB322WN is one of the older versions with the older chip.  So when you search Ebay for ink, use "CN684WN" or "CN685WN" NOT "564XL" in your search window.

Recommend this product? Yes

Amount Paid (US$): 109.99
Operating System: Windows and Macintosh

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