It’s unusual to see a price of £30 attached to an all-in-one printer, but HP’s Deskjet 3050A attracts that low figure from at least one online source. Once the price has sunk in, the next question is ‘what do you get for that kind of money’? In this case, a surprisingly serviceable home printer.
With nicely rounded lines and a deep cut-away front panel, the printer looks workmanlike and neat, when closed. Folding up the paper feed tray from its closed position on top of the scanner lid and hinging down and sliding out the output tray at the front produces a very straightforward paper path.
A simple, flip-up control panel offers a 50mm, mono LCD display, with rather unattractive fonts, surrounded by seven membrane buttons, including three soft keys to the right and the power button at bottom left. The buttons are surprisingly sensitive and it's almost like using a touchscreen, though with more positive feedback. Two LED indicators show wireless connection and ePrint registration.
The scanner lid lifts to reveal a flatbed scanner with a dramatically brown base, which is repeated in a key-line around the machine's edge. The scanner head is a Contact Image Sensor (CIS), but one which works well when scanning or copying single sheets.
At the back of the machine is a single USB socket and another for the small, black block power supply. With such a small PSU, it's a great shame HP couldn't engineer it into the case – there's plenty of room.
To fit the twin cartridges, one black and the other tri-colour, you fold down an internal cover at the front, which triggers the machine to reposition the head carrier, so you can get at it. Even so, sliding the cartridges in from the front and clicking them up into position is a fiddly task.
Software provided with the DeskJet 3050A includes HP's PhotoCreations app, as well as connection to its ePrint service for remote print from just about any device which can email, and AirPrint, which works with iOS devices.