HP doesn’t make outrageous claims for the speed of the Deskjet 3050A. The spec sheet states 5.5ppm for black print and 4.0ppm for colour. Our 5-page black text print gave 5.4ppm, which is very close to spec, but the longer, 20-page test gave 6.4ppm, which is faster than the claim and very refreshing.
Colour print isn’t quite so refreshing. Our black text and colour graphics test returned 2.2ppm, a good bit slower than the claim, but still reasonable for a budget printer. A colour copy took 31 seconds, which is comparatively quick, and 15 x 10cm photos took a fairly laid back 1:08 at highest quality, printing from a PC. At normal quality, it gave a hot off the blocks 39 seconds from a Samsung Galaxy Mini Android phone over ePrint.
Prints from the HP Deskjet 3050A are mixed in quality. Black text is less neat than we’re used to from HP printers, with slight smudging on leading edges and thin ascenders and descenders in places. Against this, draft mode text is better than from many similar printers and colours on plain paper are smooth and well-saturated.
Colour copies are close to the shades of originals, too, and photos are reasonably well reproduced, though with slight banding and loss of some detail in darker areas of images. Photos aren’t the main use for this machine, though, as witnessed by its lack of photo card sockets.
The two ink cartridges are available in standard and XL versions, though neither is particularly inexpensive. Using the best prices we could find online gave page costs of 5.5p for ISO black and 12.5p for ISO colour. Neither of these is particularly cheap, though we’ve seen printers with higher running costs, some of which are priced considerably higher, too. You may be able to find lower cartridge prices, too.
The HP Deskjet 3050A really is something of a bargain. For £30, you get a very serviceable home all-in-one printer, with many of the latest mobile print facilities. Running costs are high, but still less than from, for example, the £100 Dell V515w. Print quality’s fair and there’s little to quibble with; if money’s tight, you won’t do much better.