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HP All-In-Wonder SE
Apr 26, 2004 (Updated Apr 26, 2004)
by Guy Techie
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
User Rating: Excellent
Ease of Use:
Pros:Inexpensive, quick text, all-in-one, no PC needed to copy
Cons:Slow color printouts, loud
The Bottom Line: A multifuction printer that costs under $100 and it's NOT a Lexmark? Where do I sign up!?
If you follow ATI's nomenclature, SE is a light version of their video cards. With HP, their PSC 1210 is the SE version of HP's PSC 1350. So what is the 1210 lacking compared with the 1350?
Recommend this product?
They both share the same look and chassis. Both have are 3-in-1 printer, scanner, and copier. But the 1350 prints faster, adds a multimedia memory card reader, and adds the ability to use a photo cartridge (which adds 3 more colors for a total of 6). However, the 1350 costs almost $50 more than the 1210 ($149.99 vs $99.99).
Not being able to foot the extra $50, I choose the PSC 1210 for being under $100, and able to do copies on the fly. It does, in fact, fit in most consumer's lives just perfectly: compact form factor, low price, and the ability to scan, fax, and print. You don't have neat features like the memory card reader, but for those on the budget with not a lot of space, the 1210 is juuuuuust right.
In fact, while most would agree that I go all out with most computer purchases (hey, I'm an enthusiest, afterall), I rarely print, and when I do, they are not photos. Copying would be a nice convience to have without firing up my PC and dealing with the scanner/printer driver of dedicated units. And, of course, I rarely scan. Even so, they are usually for scanning reciepts and rebate forms for paperless record keeping. And...again, even so... the PSC 1210 still looks pretty good printing occasional photos - especially on glossy paper.
The 1350 is rated at 17 ppm black, and 12 ppm color, while the 1210 is at 12 ppm black, and 10 ppm color. However, in practice, they feel the same. Copies are usually slower, since everything is treated as graphics (even text). However, printing Word documents were surprisingly quick! A full page of text was produced in 5 seconds! It takes 15 seconds for a black and white copy. Color copies, however, took 30 seconds to produce.
For a consumer device, I was surprised to see many steps required to get it up and running. One such step is to stick the plastic label next to the buttons to show you what those buttons do! Could they not have installed it from the factory? And there was many more tape holding parts together than most printers and all-in-ones I've used before. However, I am glad that the power cord it uses was a standard PC power supply cord (3 prong). This is important, as I've seen many customer come by and ask for replacement AC adaptors. Of course, retail stores do NOT stock these, as they are specific for each manufacture and model. With a standard cord, you can find a replacement anywhere easily.
Before you plug it in, pull out EVERYTHING in the cartridge area, as the power cord, manuals, and ink cartridges are in there. Once you empty this area out, plug her in, and install the cartridges. The PSC 1210 will print an alignment page at this point, and you will need to put it on the scanner portion of the device and hit "scan" (without it being plugged into the PC yet). This will let the pritner see what it printed and it will adjust itself this way. Very cool, since a regular printer would require you to look at the print out and select the closest aligned lines via the printer driver software.
Unlike most users, I usually download my drivers off the manufacturer's site instead of installing it from the included CD. Usually, by the time a customer gets the device, the drivers on the bundled CDs already have been rotting a while. To my surprise, though, the download was about 170 MB! There is no bare-bones driver. Only one choice: a 170 MB setup file that bundles the driver with HP software and applications to support the scanner and printer. This includes "HP Album Printing", "HP Photo and Imaging Director", "Image Editor", and "Photo Gallery". I haven't used any of these software for the sake of my own suite of hand-picked apps. Even looking at the program names make it seem like there is a lot of overlap of what each program can do for you. However, use them or not, they must take up a lot of precious hard drive space to get the inexpensive multifunction device to work. Unfortunately, the 1350 is the same ordeal.
During the installation, it will ask for you to plug the printer into the PC's USB slot. It will detect the device, and keep on going until all of the software is installed.
Text is crisp and sharp for an ink jet printer. Graphics are just as sharp. Photos, on the other hand, gets saturated too easily on plain paper.
On glossy paper, photos do not look as clean and bright as outputs from Canon's stand-alone photo printer (i560), which also costs $99.99. The i560 is also a 4-color printer. Just a different printing technique (pressure, not thermal, like the HP), and ink. It is in my experience that the Epsons and Canons print the best looking photos, while HP should be better off for normal home and office printouts. Of course, if you are less disconcerning about photos, the HP printers such as this one will satisfy you - especially on glossy photo paper. Photos from this printer would look good, so long as you do not compare it with the Canon or Epson side-by-side.
Since it is new, there is still no paper jams or misfeeds (picking up two or more sheets at a time). However, if such an occasion arise, the rear has a latch door you can remove to access the entire rear of the print engine. You can remove gobbled up paper here.
There is no getting around it... I have yet to see a perfect copy from ANY all-in-one device, and the 1210 does not change this trend. Although black and white copies comes closest to the originals, color is almost always washed out. It is always a shade or two lighter, making it hard to copy charts and graphs with near-same colors, as it would come out the same color on the copy. Also, this hurts in photo reproduction.
If you choose to copy in color when, in fact, the original is in black and white, you are needlessly wasting time (as it takes longer) and ink (since it uses the color cartridges most of the time). Also the output would show a shimmer of color at the fine edges of the line art and/or text. Not too noticable to the naked eye, but definately there.
Lets face it... 1200x1200 is considered low when compared to dedicated scanners that are already rated at 2400x1200 at worst. However, this is quite alright for most users. Colors are even and near perfect. Details can be blown up without much pixelization at the maximum optical resolution. So do we need any resolution to be much higher? Only for photos, as I see it. However, this multifunction printer wasn't really designed for this in mind in the first place, and if you are the targeted consumer (most college students, home user, etc.), you should be satisfied with the results. Heck, even I am satisfied, and I'm a computer junkie!
You can't find too much to fault on a multifunction printer for under $100, especially since it NOT a Lexmark. And the fact that if the print heads clog, just replace the cartrdige, as the heads are on the cartridge themseleves.
The 56 (black) cart is only $21.99 at Best Buy, while the 57 (tri color) cart is a whopping $36.99. However, there is a 56/57 pack that has both in a single package for only $52.99, saving you $5.99. I hate to say it (since I work at Best Buy), but Circuit City is a buck or two cheaper, though I am not sure if they sell the 56/57 pack. This is about $10 lower than a comparable Lexmark pair of carts.
So far, after 100 pages of mixed text and graphics, I am about 65% full on both carts, which is pretty good yield for a consumer-based ink jet printer.
All in all, I am happy with the Hewlett Packard PSC 1210. Although, for $50, I may be even happier with the PSC 1350. ;)
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Amount Paid (US$): 99.99
Operating System: Windows
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