HP Photosmart Premium Fax CQ521B Review



  • Full duplex copying
  • Easy-to-use menu system
  • Direct download of useful print applets


  • Comparatively low black print yield
  • Slow duplex print and copy
  • Occasional failed paper take-up

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £90.00
  • Duplex ADF on scanner
  • Separate trays for plain and photo paper
  • Full fax functionality
  • Downloadable applications
  • Remote printing via ePrint

If you were to put together a list of features for an inkjet all-in-one, it might read like the spec sheet of the HP Photosmart Premium with Fax e-All-in-One CQ521B. Following HP’s bizarre model-naming convention, the only difference between this and the Photosmart Premium with Fax All-in-One is the ‘e’, but they’re quite different machines. The model number for this one, which HP seems reluctant to use, is CQ521B, while the earlier model was the C309A.

Designed for home and small office use, the printer is cased in black, using a lot of high-gloss, smudge-revealing plastic. It’s a tall machine, topped-off by a 35-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF), which ─ like the print engine ─ is a duplex device.

HP Photosmart Premium Fax CQ521B
The control panel has a hinged, 61mm LCD at its left-hand end and a lot of control buttons, including those for ePrint and Web apps. ePrint is HP’s technique for emailing your printer directly, though we’ve yet to see any devastating mainstream uses for this.

The range of applets is handier and includes a variety of special papers, such as music manuscript, Sudoku grids, and news printouts. Most of the news material has a strong US slant, if the science pages we printed are typical.

There are twin paper trays, with an automated 20-sheet photo tray piggy-backing on a 125-sheet A4 tray. Paper feeds round onto the top of the trays, where there’s a pull-out extension to catch the output pages.
HP Photosmart Premium Fax CQ521B
To the left of the controls are memory card slots – which include CompactFlash, as well as SD, MemoryStick and xD – and a PictBridge/USB socket. At the back are USB and Ethernet ports, but the CQ521B also supports a wireless connection, including WPS push-button setup. As long as your wireless router supports it, connection really is just a couple of button pushes.

HP provides Photo Creations and Solution Center software, which includes IRIS OCR, for scanning docs as editable text, and drivers for Windows and OS X. Separate Linux support is available through the HP Web site.

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