The $99 HP Photosmart 5510 e-All-in-One registers competitive performance in print speed and overall image quality, but I prefer the Epson Stylus NX430 because it offers more features like manual two-sided printing and a higher sheet capacity that means you won't find yourself refilling paper as often. For homes and offices that take printing seriously, the $99 Epson NX430 offers similar performance to the HP with more-versatile features that earn it a higher score.
Design and features
The Photosmart 5510 combines the functionality of a printer, scanner, and copier into a low-profile chassis finished in matte black that jells with HP's current design aesthetic. It measures 17.2 inches long by 5.8 inches tall and 12.8 inches wide, so it won't occupy your entire desktop like more full-fledged multifunctions. The Epson Stylus NX430 is still the smallest all-in-one printer, though, coming in a full 2 inches shorter.
HP extends its touch-compatible display trend to the 5510 with a 2.4-inch color LCD positioned on the left of the device. Most of the controls reside on the display itself, with virtual buttons on the right side that help with navigation and making onscreen selections. Additionally, HP makes choosing the right buttons a little easier by only illuminating the necessary options for each feature, as opposed to other panels that ask you to pick through a list of every available icon.
It's no surprise that this $100 device doesn't include the extra flair of its pricier linemates, so you won't see features like an auto-document feeder or a duplexer on the back for double-sided printing. In fact, the driver included on the installation disc doesn't even include an option for manual double-sided printing -- a must-have for anyone interested in saving money on consumables or environmental conservation.
The paper input and output trays both sit on the bottom of the device, though the minimal 80-sheet paper capacity may frustrate you if you're a high-frequency printer. Anyone not relegated to printing the occasional e-mail or plane ticket will likely prefer the extra 20 sheets you can fit in the Epson Stylus NX430.
In addition to a direct USB connection (like most vendors, HP does not include a USB cable with the printer), you can set up the Photosmart 5510 on your network via Wi-Fi, which also lets Apple users make an easy connection through AirPrint on a compatible iOS device. Using AirPrint, you can print out a photo from your iPhoto library by simply choosing the connected printer and hitting Print.
I tested the Wi-Fi connection process and found it simple to navigate through the initial setup screens with help from the instructions on the driver disc. All it takes is a quick input of your network username and password details on the virtual QWERTY keyboard and the printer should immediately connect. Macs and PCs alike on CNET's lab network were able to see the printer without the need to install any additional software.
In addition to Apple AirPrint, the 5510 also features HP's ePrint technology that lets you send jobs from any connected device to the printer using the uniquely assigned e-mail address. You can even navigate through the settings and change the e-mail address to an easier designation to give out to friends and family that you deem responsible enough to take control of your printer -- you can take ownership of that in the control panel (Wireless > Web Services > Display Email) and it's supereasy to set up, but it comes with a few restrictions. For one, the printer must be on and also connected to your network. For another, it can't print Web pages, although you can simply copy and paste the text into a document as a workaround.
Since this is a $99 model, HP omits the ability to register the printer with the company's ePrintCenter app store online. Units higher up in the Photosmart and Officejet line include the ability to download a suite of apps designed to increase workflow and offer bite-size entertainment for easy printing directly through the display, but the use of such apps would require more screen real estate that would bump up the price well over the $100 mark.