HP PhotoSmart 2710 review

Price when reviewed

The multifunction device market is still relatively uncrowded, giving room for good products to shine. The PhotoSmart range from HP has so far done just that, with the superb 2510 spending over a year on our A List before being discontinued.

HP PhotoSmart 2710 review

The PhotoSmart 2710 is largely the same as the somewhat cheaper 2610, but there’s one significant difference: it comes with embedded 802.11b/g wireless LAN, as well as 10/100 Ethernet.

As an inkjet printer, the PhotoSmart 2710 is superb. Mono text pages zip through at 18ppm on the Draft print setting. Quality is mostly good, with only the occasional misalignment error from the print heads. Changing to a higher quality resolves the problem, but also results in a longer printing time – a more pedestrian 6ppm at the Medium setting. This was true for all our text-based print testing.

The finishing times clocked aren’t bad, but they do notably differ from the HP’s rated speeds on all four print quality settings: Draft, Low, Medium and High.

Although pages take longer to appear at higher quality settings, the results are impressive. Text documents are up to just about any purpose, if not quite laser quality, with dark and solid characters. Large blocks of solid colour showed no banding or break up (except in the Draft setting), and photos printed with fantastic detail: colours were vibrant and well defined, and skin tones natural.

The optional six-ink colour photo cartridge (£16 inc VAT) is worth investing in if high-grade image reproduction is important. It vastly increases the available colour gamut, and adds a rich quality to the prints – substantially more than the standard three-ink colour cartridge.

The PhotoSmart 2710 can also benefit from an optional grey ink cartridge (£17 inc VAT), which increases the number of shades of grey on offer, reducing problems with banding and pixelation on monochrome. The addition of these cartridges makes little difference to the overall print time, courtesy of HP’s Gen II cartridges. These feature twice the number of print nozzles, thus doubling the amount of ink sprayed onto the page with each pass of the print head.

Elsewhere, the 48-bit, 2,400 x 4,800dpi flatbed scanner is capable of superb, if a little sluggish, results and offers a decent 220 x 297mm maximum document scan size.

As with all PhotoSmart models though, the supplied software does take a traumatic 22 minutes to install, with occasional clicks required, so it needs supervising. However, it’s a one-off inconvenience, so use this time to familiarise yourself with the many pages of the user guide.

We found the paper-collection tray a little on the flimsy side, but this is otherwise a sturdy and well-built machine that doesn’t take up much room on the desk. It’s packed with features, including colour faxing, borderless photo printing, a video-freeze option that prints each frame like a storyboard, support for up to five networked users and a reader for every common variety of memory card. There’s even a huge 3.5in (diagonal) TFT screen to make operation with or without a PC that much easier, including basic photo-editing functions.

But the problem is that, for many people, the PhotoSmart 2710 (along with its high price tag) will simply be overkill. If you want all the features money can buy, it’s worth considering, but the 2610 will be more than enough for most.

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