HP Photosmart 2610 review

Price when reviewed

You have to hand it to HP, as the firm mastered the art of building all-in-ones a long time ago. The 2610 may have been pipped to the post this month by the Canon MP780, which is better for businesses than either the 2610 or 2710, but for home photo enthusiasts there isn’t a better printer in this Labs.

HP Photosmart 2610 review

The 1.8in LCD is partly responsible for this, letting you preview images from your camera’s memory card. This allows for a more intuitive menu system than the two-line LCDs seen elsewhere. There’s also PictBridge compatibility and readers for all major media cards.

We’ve come to expect great things from HP printers and you simply won’t find higher quality output at this price. Our A4 photomontage printed near perfectly. Realistic skin tones, smooth transitions and no banding or grain all make the 2610 an ideal choice for photo enthusiasts.

Mono text quality was excellent and in Draft mode printed at 20.8ppm, so sharing the printer through its built-in Ethernet port is a real possibility. Output slows to only 4.9ppm in Normal mode, but in return quality is excellent. Characters are sharp, and our DTP document had bold text and colourful images. There was, however, a hint of a struggle with white text on a black background, as the edges of some characters became fuzzy.

Scan speeds were respectable. A preview scan took 11 seconds, and our A4 text document scanned in 15 seconds. The 6 x 4in scans were faithfully reproduced, with natural skin tones.

Unfortunately, even with the latest-generation inks, HP doesn’t match Canon’s running costs. At 32.5p per 6 x 4in photo, it simply isn’t competitive. However, you get new print heads with HP cartridges, and the cost is offset by the superb quality of the prints and their fade resistance of 108 years.

There’s no denying that the 2610 is a superbly featured and competitively priced machine, but it can’t quite retain its A List standing in this Labs. It may have a built-in fax machine with a 60-page memory and 40 speed dials, but there’s no CD-printing facility, no duplex unit and no ADF for multisheet documents. Paper tray capacity is another drawback, being half the Canon’s 300 sheets.

However, none of these will be seen as problems for those wanting an all-in-one for photo and other home uses. The media card slots, colour LCD and superb print and copy quality make the HP a great alternative to the Canon.

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