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HP Photosmart B8550 A3+ Inkjet review

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HP Photosmart B8550 A3+ Inkjet
  • HP Photosmart B8550 A3+ Inkjet
  • HP Photosmart B8550 A3+ Inkjet
  • HP Photosmart B8550 A3+ Inkjet
  • HP Photosmart B8550 A3+ Inkjet
  • HP Photosmart B8550 A3+ Inkjet

Summary

Our Score:

7

A general purpose A3+ printer may not be that mainstream, but there are enough people who need prints larger than A4 to make it a worthwhile inclusion in most manufacturer's ranges. HP has just revamped its models and come up with a strikingly designed printer in the Photosmart B8550.

Decked in ice white and pale grey, the printer has a deep inset moulded into its front panel with a shallower cut-out folding round its left-hand side. As in previous designs, the extra support needed for large sheets -- this printer can cope with paper up to A3+ -- comes from telescopic input and output trays. Most customers will only print larger documents occasionally and it's useful to have this smaller footprint when printing A4 or 15 x 10cm photo prints.

There's also a separate photo tray, which is powered, as on some of HP's A4 Photosmart machines, so slides into position when needed, without you having to reload trays.

In the left-hand front corner of the printer's top there's a simple but effective control panel and a 65mm colour LCD display. These two work together to give the same kind of controls you'd expect on one of HP's A4 photo printers.

At the bottom left of the front panel are three memory card slots for all the popular types and a PictBridge socket for camera connection. Again, this kind of support hasn't always been available on wide-carriage printers, which is something of a surprise, given that many of them are bought by photo enthusiasts.

Also surprising is the single USB socket on the back. There's no network connection and no Wi-Fi though, again, you'd think a relatively expensive asset like this was ideal for sharing in this way.

Installation is pretty straightforward and HP includes its driver and a standard set of utilities. The driver includes support for manual duplexing and for the larger paper sizes and fair support for colour, including individual colour adjustment and support for Abobe RGB.

HP has had a good look at Canon's head and cartridge design with the five ink cartridges in this printer. From the clip-in print head, to the pull tabs on the shrinkwrap and the twist-off nozzle seals, the two designs are very similar. That's no bad thing, as Canon's PIXMA print systems produce some of the best results on the market and its clip-in ink tanks are very easy to service.

Brianne

February 3, 2013, 5:34 pm

I have this printer and bought it when I was in a college digital photography course. I purchased it mainly to print photos for class. I printed a lot of black and white photos with large amounts of blank ink and I was very pleased with the quality of photos and the richness of the black. However it does take a lengthy amount of time for printing to start and complete. I also noticed that when the printer went unused for a longer period of time than a couple days, the prints are completely ruined even when the ink cartridges are new. The ink seems to dry out after being unused for a week or so. The colors look bleached almost like the printer is out of ink. So even if I purchased brand new cartridges, printed a couple prints and then waited 2 weeks to print more, I would have to purchase a completely new set of cartridges before printing. This became extremely expensive. Also, now that I am no longer printing as many photos, I've moved to using it for more basic text print-outs such as emails and forms etc. The same problem goes for these documents. I can replace every cartridge and my black cartridge will be basically full, but if I don't use the printer for awhile, it prints faded black copies and don't even think about printing color. I'm tired of replacing the cartridges every time I print 2 pages.

Bri

September 30, 2013, 5:21 pm

Sounds like your print heads are simply drying up, you shouldn't need to buy a new cartridge to unblock them. Google Magic Bullet cleaning solution which may help as my printer also gets blocked if not used for some time

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