HP Spruces Up Its Compact Photo Printers

Two revisions and one oddball introduced.

HP’s name is synonymous with printers, I’m sure sometimes it wishes it wasn’t, but it is. Fittingly then it has performed a welcome spit and polish on two of its most popular photo printers and introduced a curious third.

Now compact photo printers are (still) all the rage, so we’ll start with the upgrades to two of its most popular existing models. The Photosmart 385 (above) and 335 (below) replace last year’s 375 and 325 respectively and weigh a portable 1.4Kg each, have super high print resolutions of 4800 x 1200 (optimised) dpi and wide ranging memory card support (including CompactFlash, SD, MiniSD, Memory Stick and Memory Stick Duo) for direct printing. Both are also PictBridge compatible and come with a front mounted USB port, though Bluetooth and a separate battery allowing 75 prints on a single charge are optional extras.

The key differentiator between the two models is the LCD display. The 335 is fitted with a rather small 3.8cm screen, while the 385 gets a far more generous 6.4cm option. The 385 also claims to have a marginally faster reproduction time, with borderless photos produced in just under 60 seconds, while the 335 takes the full minute.

In truth, you’ll know instantly whether you need these extras features, since it makes a substantial difference to the price. The 385 will set you back a hefty £199.99 including VAT when it is released in August, £50 more than the 335 which debuts at exactly the same time.

The oddity of the pack is the 475. Curiously without picture (though we are assured it looks just like the other two), it breaks new ground after being fitted with 1.5GB of internal memory. This should be enough to store about 1,000 photos (depending on resolution) and is meant to help free us from storing images on our PCs and cameras.

Personally speaking, this strikes me as a rather odd idea since digital cameras are far more portable than compact printers and PCs make better viewing and editing arenas that the 6.4cm screen on the 475. HP does boast that the 475 can be hooked up to a TV for browsing, but so can most of today’s digital cameras. It does offer a larger print size at 18 x 13cm (”thanks Steve”), though it still costs are king’s ransom at £249.99.

My advice if you want one of these Photosmarts: Buy yourself a 335 and spend the left over £100 on a super fast 1GB memory card for your camera. I’m like Annie Leibovitz, just without any of her talent.


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