If you are looking for a fabulous last minute gift, HP’s TouchScreen, Web Enabled Multifunction Photo Printer delivers a full set of features plus web-enabled functionality in a stylish, well-designed unit and if ordered by Tuesday (12/22) from the HP site will arrive before Christmas.
Having just received the HP PhotoSmart Premium printer with the TouchSmart web feature to review, we unpacked the unit and took it for a quick spin. Overall, the entire family was quite impressed. At first glance, I love how easy it is to use, Tech Savvy Daddy is impressed by the ability to browse Snapfish and print directly from the screen, while the kids are in love with touching the screen to print.
First, the facts:
- Insert memory card from your printer, and the printer will upload the pictures directly to a new Snapfish album
- Browse your Snapfish albums (or your family/friends’ albums) and print photos directly from the printer screen
- Print out Google Maps
- Print movie tickets from Fandago
- Print sections of the USA Today
- Print recipes
- Print coupons from Coupons.com
- Print a customized newsletter of selected blog content (including Tech Savvy Mama, of course!)
- Print children’s coloring book pages featuring favorite Disney and Nickelodeon characters along with fun paper crafts
- And it has a link to the HP App Studio, allowing you to find and download more apps and content to your printer.
For example, in early December, HP added two new apps just in time for the holidays: A CNET Shopping Guide app and another one to print out all sorts of photo greeting cards.
With all of these different printing and imaging features, it’s a big like having your own home printing kiosk. Think of that big yellow machine at CVS, but shrunk down and sitting at your house. Yes, it’s that cool!
The unit is fully Mac and PC compatible. Drivers include XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OSX, including Snow Leopard compatibility. The unit can be shared by all of the machines in your house, whether wired or wireless. This includes the ability to scan from networked machines. There is no need to plug in the USB cable and tether the computer directly to one computer.
Setting up the unit was easy. It is fully configurable from the touch screen. It guides you through inserting the ink and putting paper in the tray. If you can’t figure something out, it shows you on the touch screen with an instructional animation. I got it to connect to our Wi-Fi network quickly and easily (not always the case). Once it is on the network, you can also view it from the PC/Mac drivers or point a web browser to it. It has an elegant and powerful embedded web server to let you see and change settings from any device.
HP’s Environmental Commitment
The product also displays HP’s commitment to the environment. HP designs packing materials to reliably and cost-effectively protect their products while helping to reduce waste. Instead of wrapping the printer in a giant plastic bag or thin bubble-wrap, the printer literally comes from the factory inside a giant-reusable shopping bag. The handles on the bag face up, giving you an easy way to get the printer out of the box. Genius! That’s so much better than trying to grab the slippery corner of a printer wrapped in a plastic bag that threatens to break under the weight, sending your new device corner first into the floor. Not that that has ever happened here.
Back to the environment…. The printer is Energy-Star rated, and the printer drivers include buttons and web links to show where you can recycle empty cartridges. The printer’s duplex feature lets you use half as much paper by printing on both sides. The printer cables come inside a zipper-pouch the size of a cosmetics bag, which could easily be reused as such or a pencil case or travel bag to hold your computer cables and device chargers.
Here are some of the highlights of the currently available Apps:
It has a weather app, which remembers your zip code and then can display or print the local weather conditions and forecast. It works well and displayed up-to-date weather information (unlike one product recently tested), but it would be more useful if it had bigger icons and was a bit more descriptive. I’d really like to see a live radar image. The printed weather page should have descriptions of the weather forecast. “Overnight lows in the 20s, chance of rain 50%, rainfall expected up to .5 inches.”
The Google Maps app really intrigued me. I thought “I’m always running upstairs to print Google Maps, now I can just do it from the kitchen.” The Google maps app does a nice job of printing a large full page map, not wasting space in margins or anything. As I used it, I wondered, “What? Where are the directions?” Interestingly enough, there was a button on the screen that said “XXXXX what about directions.”
It pulled up a polite note that directions are coming soon. The HP web site has a posting under “App News” that acknowledges this omission as well and says it is coming soon. (Dated Oct 27th).
Several of the applications need to know your location and time zone. These include Fandago because it requires your location to find nearby movie theaters, WeatherNews to print your local weather, and eventually Google Maps, to remember your start location. It would be great if these settings were incorporated into a global setting, instead of being App-specific.
HP’s web pages offer up many links for customers to provide feedback on the apps, including ideas for additional Apps that people would like to see. The HP team is also incredibly responsive to mentions on Twitter. This demonstrates insightful thinking because it’s the people who use the device every day that know how to make it better, not necessarily the engineers who developed it. Listening to the customers and incorporating their suggestions into the product will make it a better platform in the end.
For additional details and demo videos, see HP’s site.
HP provided me with a HP TouchScreen Printer for review purposes. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own.
Original post by Tech Savvy Mama