If you want to be the life of the party, this portable photo factory has everything you need except a lampshade chapeau. Tote the lunchbox-size HP Photosmart 475 GoGo Photo Printer by its convenient carry handle, and set up the 9.5-by-4-by-5-inch, 3.3-pound printer by the poolside--no worries about AC power if you have the optional internal battery. Then crank out borderless 4x6- or 5x7-inch, 4,800x1,200dpi inkjet prints all night with the aid of the multicard reader, a 2.5-inch color preview/menu LCD, and a handheld remote control. When your camera's memory card fills up, you can copy as many as 1,000 images to the printer's built-in 1.5GB hard disk and keep shooting.
Although it's a good match for on-the-go event situations, the HP Photosmart 475 has other tricks up its sleeve, including limited but useful editing features, the ability to print frames from video clips, and a 4x12-inch panorama print mode. It links to your PC or Macintosh, PictBridge-enabled cameras, and with an optional wireless adapter, to camera phones and other Bluetooth devices.
A totable photo printer should be easy to set up, and the Photosmart 475 fills the bill. Once you install the single tricolor (cyan, magenta, and yellow) long-life Vivera ink cartridge or the optional Gray Photo cartridge for monochrome prints, getting started involves little more than pressing a button to flip open the rear paper-input tray, while a front panel/output tray drops down to expose the infrared sensor for the remote; the PictBridge port; and the slots for Compact Flash Type I and II, MicroDrive, Memory Stick, Secure Digital/MultiMedia Card, SmartMedia, and xD Picture Card media. Swivel the top-mounted 2.5-inch LCD, and you're in business.
The top control panel includes dedicated buttons (duplicated on the remote control) for picture rotation, print photo, cancel, and delete image. There's also an image zoom rocker switch, a four-way menu cursor array with an embedded OK button, and keys that provide access to the well-designed nine-page menu system and the keyword entry system. As many as 10 predefined keywords, such as Vacations, Holidays, Birthdays, Family, Friends, or Pets, can be assigned to each image stored on the hard drive, then retrieved according to the categories you've applied. Images can also be viewed by date, individually, in slide shows, or via nine-at-a-time thumbnails.
You won't need a computer to make some quick fixes. The Photosmart 475 can reduce red-eye, apply autoenhancements, adjust brightness, or crop your images. You can dd frames, clip art, or a text greeting, as well as print any photo with a 3:1 aspect ratio in panorama mode onto 4x12-inch paper. Photo stickers; multiple passport photos on a single sheet; and color effects such as sepia, antique, and black-and-white are available, too. Layout options include two-up, four-up, and index sheets. Images can be transferred to your computer, where a printer driver offers basic printing and printer-maintenance options, including saturation, brightness, and color-balancing sliders, or they shared by e-mail using HP Instant Share. The supplied HP Image Zone application offers additional image-editing options.
Replacement ink cartridges include a $24.99 version with 7ml ink tanks and a more economical 14ml version for $34.99. The 100-sheet packs of HP Premium Photo Plus paper cost $21.99, but combo packs of ink and paper are available for $19.99 (with ink and paper for 50 prints) and more. HP estimates that the larger packs bring the cost of printing down to between 24 and 29 cents per 4x6-inch print. That's about as much as the Epson PictureMate Deluxe Viewer Edition, but HP sweetens the pot with its 5x7 print capability, the internal hard disk, and the remote control. Although a little lighter than the PictureMate, the HP cranks out prints more slowly, about 105 seconds for a 4x6-inch print at best quality.
Our test prints generally looked good for a snapshot printer, although there was a slight cyan cast in flesh tones and neutral colors. The ink dots that made up the image were clearly visible under 8X magnification. There was a slight reddish tinge in the white, gray, and black areas, too, because the tricolor ink cartridge uses cyan, magenta, and yellow inks to approximate neutrality.
Wilhelm Imaging Research estimates that the 475's prints will last more than 80 years when framed under glass, but don't get 'em wet if you're printing by the pool or sipping a martini: HP's dye-based inks will run.
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