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HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One CN503B review



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Review Price £100.14

HP seems to have problems naming its printers. It would appear to be happiest if we all called its new ePrint all-in-one the Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One. This is not to be confused with the Photosmart Premium All-in-One, which is a completely different model; the ‘e’ is vital. We’re using its type number, CN503B, for clarity, though this is rarely quoted in product listings and doesn’t feature on the product itself.

All decked out in high-gloss black, the machine is striking to look at, mainly because of its unconventional control panel. Looking like an oversize iPod stuck to its front, the panel has a 109mm multi-touch screen and other, dedicated touch buttons down either side.

It’s very easy to use, with only light touches needed to press buttons or select menu options. You can sweep across the display to scroll sideways through, for example, the list of available apps you’ve downloaded from the ePrint site. The list continues to grow, though they’re still predominately from big players like Disney, offering colouring pages. How long before they’re chargeable?

The scanner is a conventional Contact Image Sensor (CIS) device, with a good solid lid, though solid hinges, too, which don’t allow for scanning books easily. Below the control panel to the left is a single slot for SD and MemoryStick cards, though there’s no support for xD and no PictBridge/USB socket.

The main, 125-sheet paper tray has a powered, 20-sheet photo tray piggy-backed on top, so you can keep both media loaded at once. Pages and photos feed to the top of the tray cover, and need support of an extension, which slides out from its front lip.

Around the back of the machine are sockets for USB, Ethernet and wireless support includes WPS quick setup, so if you have that feature on your router, a couple of button presses is all that’s needed.

The driver is easy to install, though if you don’t already have an ePrint account, you’ll need to set one up before you can print via the Internet or download print apps. You’ll also need to build a security list of people allowed to send to your printer. Bizarrely, the driver labels itself Photosmart Prem C310, which is a little disconcerting, given the model number of this machine is CN503B.

This is a five-ink printer, with a dye-based photo black, as well as the pigmented black used for text. All five tanks clip into the print head with a minimum of fuss and the printer then automatically aligns them.

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December 28, 2010, 4:47 pm

I've had no end of problems with HP printers, paper tearing, mis-feeds, jams, all sorts of problems; building a mechanical printer with the necessary robustness and tolerances for £90 is ludicrous, resulting in too many corners being cut, too much creaky plastic and way too high failure rates.

HP has proved time and time again in the last few years that they are not capable of the necessary manufacturing quality at such a low price. They should stop trying.

Alas, the economic model that HP and others choose to follow is to provide a cheap base unit, with absurdly expensive consumables. Even the ink cartridges have DRM!

I'm sure this is profitable, but I am getting rather fed up with the shoddy hardware on offer, and HP stopped caring about quality some years ago. We'd be far better served by a £400 robustly built printer with cheap ink and paper. I can't see this happening soon, though.


December 29, 2010, 5:03 pm

The £400 well built printer is a Colour Laser printer. At that price the running costs tend to be pretty reasonable as well, well below inkjet costs but still some way off being the cheapest.

HP used to have the Business Inkjet line that filled this space, but they seem to have dropped those now in favour of tricked up consumer models at a lower price point.

Of course it is possible to spend much more on printers as you increase the size. I've got a Xerox A3 colour laser in the office that when new (2005) cost the best part of £5k. I got very lucky and got it for virtually nothing a couple of years ago. Toners cost £120 each from ebay, but last for 20,000 pages each. The only downside is that it is as big as a washing machine and weighs over 100KG. Not practical for most people.

For the most part people would be better served by having a B+W laser for printing homework/documents, and getting their photos professionally printed. *Ahem*


August 30, 2011, 4:08 pm

It worked really well out of the box. The next time I tried, it failed to print altogether, so I went through the set up procedure - from the CD provided, and from driver software downloaded from HP site, but to no avail. Called HP, who spent 2 weeks on the problem, in the course of which I spent hours on the phone (at my expense), at my computer (running diagnostics and sending them the results) and waiting for them to return my calls (usually without result). As a final insult, they changed all the numbers on thier contact line, leaving me tearing my hair out. When I finally asked for customer complaints, I was sent 2 (black) ink cartridges - which I have no use for, since I have just sent the whole thing back to Amazon. Maybe I'm just unlucky, but I shall in future avoid HP and its products like the plague - dysfunctional kit, dysfunctional support organisation! Only sorry I couldn't award zero stars.

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