HP Photosmart 3310 review

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For the digital photographer, the latest addition to HP’s already large range of multifunction devices is the most temptingly specified yet. A six-format memory card reader, a stunning 3.6in screen and an integrated 4,800ppi scanner/copier mean that you can get decent use out of the 3310 without ever connecting it to a PC. The PictBridge-compatible USB port on the bottom right of the fascia can be used with many digital cameras, and you’ll find a number of powerful editing options through the intuitive menu interface. Not only that, but the 3310 will happily integrate into networks, with both 10/100 Ethernet and 802.11b/g as standard.

HP Photosmart 3310 review

Photos look superb. HP’s new Vivera ink system eliminates the occasional banding problems that slightly marred the previously top-end 2710, and skin tones were vibrant without being oversaturated. Print economy is good too. The six ink cartridges have different page yields, but using HP’s page-yield estimates at 15 per cent ink coverage per colour, each 6 x 4in print will cost just 11p – more than a match for any dye-sub printer or high-street developer. We also liked the twin paper trays: one for A4 paper and another for 6 x 4in photo paper. Our only complaint is print speed: in best mode the 3310 took one minute, 26 seconds per 6 x 4in photo, on the slow side compared to its peers.

Text printing is equally good value – just 1.8p is superb for an inkjet in normal mode. Mono output on uncoated paper was slightly disappointing, though. For best text quality on a inkjet multifunction device, the Canon MP780 still rules the roost. HP’s claims of 32ppm proved optimistic: we found the fastest we could print was 17ppm, and even this varied as the 3310 occasionally performed self-maintenance. In some cases, draft speeds dipped to as low as 13ppm. At the default quality settings, print speeds dropped to a very sluggish 4ppm.

Scanning to a PC resulted in slightly disappointing images. There was a faint red cast to our images and some under-saturated areas, resulting in less detail. While we applaud the built-in transparency scanner, results were adequate rather than phenomenal: the Epson 3490 produced superior results. For editing the scanned photos, HP supplies its slightly underwhelming Image Zone software. This offers a reasonable number of basic functions, although it isn’t capable of replacing dedicated image-editing software.

The slightly disappointing scanner also led to slightly disappointing copying performance. Although no-one will complain about the quality of text copies, copying a photo in best quality mode onto HP’s Premium Plus photo paper resulted in a slight loss of detail in bright areas, as well as more pronounced grain; acceptable, but only for personal use. This A4 copy took a ponderous two minutes, 54 seconds but speeds were more reasonable for text-only documents: normal mode hit 3ppm and draft mode 14ppm.

So despite the HP’s excellent printing ability, enthusiasts should consider a dedicated printer and scanner combination. More general users should consider the Canon MP780, which costs £70 less.

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