Thanks to a number of mobile devices that have introduced the wonders of touchscreens to a receptive audience (we're looking at you, Apple), it seems that the next device to receive the tactile interface is, curiously, a printer. HP's Photosmart Premium C309g uses a touchscreen to drive its every command when it is not tethered to a computer, and alongside Lexmark's recently released touchscreen professional printers, it sits at the precipice of a brave new world of printing technology.
Perhaps that's a little far-fetched. Still, it's a novelty that we're happy to run with — for now.
Design and features
Like a number of other printer manufacturers, HP has taken the "black is back" aesthetic to its latest range of Photosmart multifunction printers. This one (let's call it the C309g to be a bit more affectionate) is clad in matte black plastic around the sides, and glossy piano black at the top. The look and feel of the C309g is particularly appealing thanks to its streamlined and fuss-free exterior — and trust us, it's not that often that we fancy a printer.
At the front, things look fairly conventional for a multifunction until you realise that the 3.45-inch screen is in fact a touchscreen. There are no physical buttons, save a lonely power button next to the screen, and PictBridge connections at the front (Memory Stick/Memory Stick Duo/SD, xD, USB). There are two paper trays, the top for photo paper and smaller sheets, and the bottom tray for A4 paper and envelopes.
The touchscreen at the front of the C309g. (Credit: HP)
Inside sits a print head that takes five cartridges — cyan, magenta, yellow, photo black and plain black — plus a flatbed scanner that sits underneath the top flap. There's an automatic duplexer built in as well.
Equipped with Bluetooth and wireless connectivity the C309g can happily sit in one end of the house while your computer is at another. To complement the whole "eco" tag, a reusable accessories pouch is provided in the box, inside which you'll find the CD with the drivers and software, power brick and cable, USB cable and some sample photo paper to get you started.
As with most printer set-ups, installing software and drivers for the C309g will take a fair chunk out of your day. The C309g also takes an aeon to align and install cartridges when you first put them in the device. Make yourself a cup of tea or five while you're doing this.