Olympus Camedia P-10 Digital Photo Printer review: Olympus Camedia P-10 Digital Photo Printer

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CNET Editors' Rating

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The Good Very, very fast. Quality prints.

The Bad Extremely noisy. A one trick pony. Tied to specific printing media.

The Bottom Line While it's a visually appealing photo printer with solid quality output, unless you only want to print in a couple of smallish sizes, it's hard to recommend the P-10.

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Design
The P-10 is a cube-shaped printer, strongly reminiscent of Apple's ill-fated G4 cube, and not just because of the shape-based similarity -- it shares the same strong lines and striking visual appeal as well. The front panel is decked out in an aquamarine blue colour with activity lights to indicate access, paper and ribbon usage. On the top right hand front facing is the power button, and at the base sits a flap which hides the unit's paper tray. Just to the side of that is the Pictbridge connector -- the P-10 should work with any Pictbridge compatible camera, although naturally enough Olympus would prefer you to use one of their models -- and for what it's worth, that's what we tested with. Flip the P-10 around and you'll find the power port as well as USB connector for direct PC connection, although in the model supplied to CNET.com.au, no USB cable was provided.

Given its size (196x190x166mm and 2.3kg)  the P-10 isn't exactly a portable printer, but it is small and compact enough that it can more or less be tucked away in any handy corner.

Features
The P-10 is a dye sublimation printer, which means it uses specific custom print ribbons and paper to print rather quickly to 4x6" paper only. Fast is nice, but the specific downside, as with any dye sublimation printer, is that you must use the specific designed ribbons (which load in from the side) and paper -- a quick bit of online trawling revealed an average selling price of around $99 for this pack, giving you a rough costing of 99c/print, which isn't spectacular for prints of this size.

The P-10 can manage a few print tricks even given its limited paper capabilities -- it'll do borderless prints up to its maximum paper size, and can print to a smaller 3.5x5 inch size. While you can connect to your PC via USB, or to a Pictbridge capable printer, the P-10 lacks any kind of memory card slot, so if you're looking for that kind of functionality you'll need to search elsewhere.

Performance
There are two main things you'll notice while using the P-10. Firstly, it's not a good idea to put the printer on a desk right near yourself, as it's one of the noisiest photo printers we've tested for a while -- all that compact space didn't leave much space for noise buffering, obviously. The other thing you'll notice -- and for a printer this noisy, it's a real saving grace -- is that compared to a traditional ink printer, the P-10 is blindingly fast at pumping out 4x6" prints. During our testing the P-10 stuck to its manufacturer's claim of 40 seconds per print extremely closely, and for a consumer-level photo printer, that's quite impressive.

We noticed one odd quirk when hooking up the P-10 to our test desktop -- for some reason under Windows XP, it kept pointing to the Spanish language version of the printer driver. It really doesn't matter much, as the P-10's driver is on the simpler side; you'll find few of the colour compensation tricks that printers from manufacturers like HP or Canon offer with their colour photo printers in the P-10's driver.

The P-10 is a nice, albeit noisy, printer, but it is hampered within its price range by being something of a one-trick pony, and many consumers would be well served to consider their options in the larger printer area, where it's possible to perform other print jobs. But if you know you're only ever going to want 4x6 shots, and you're going to want them as quickly as possible, it's certainly a solid option.

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Where to Buy

Olympus Camedia P-10 Digital Photo Printer

Part Number: CNETOlympus Camedia P-10 Digital Photo Printer

Typical Price: $199.00

See manufacturer website for availability.