HP rates the Photosmart Plus B210a at 8.4ppm printing black and 7.5ppm printing colour. We got somewhere close to these speeds on larger documents, where are 20-page black text test produced 7.1ppm, though the shorter, more typical, five page document only racked up 5.3ppm. Our five-page black text and colour graphics test gave a speed of 4.4ppm.
These speeds, while not spectacular, are in the same range as machines from rival manufacturers in the same price bracket. This machine has no duplex facility, unless you want to turn the pages over by hand.
A single page colour photocopy took 29s and a 15 x 10cm photo print at best quality took 1:17, which is better than most. Surprisingly, a photo printed from an SD card at standard quality took 1:21, where we might have expected something quicker.
The print quality on plain paper is good. Black text comes through clean and with no noticeable spatter and there’s very little sign of any misalignment from pass to pass of the print head.
Colour graphics are intense and arresting, showing very few signs of dot patterns or banding. Photos are good with subtle, natural colours, as well reproduced as brighter shades, when the image calls for them. There’s plenty of detail and this is true for darker shades which can tend to print black with some inkjets.
The four ink cartridges are available in two yields and using the XL, Value consumables gives page costs of 3.2p for ISO black and 7.1p for ISO colour. These costs lie in the middle of the field so are certainly not punitive, as they sometimes are with budget printers.
HP’s Photosmart Plus B210a is a great little home all-in-one. It has many of the features you would only expect in a more pricey machine: touchscreen control, dual paper trays and wireless connection, for example. Although it misses out on duplex print, it’s running costs are reasonable and print quality is excellent for a £70 printer.