The HP Photosmart e-All-in-One D110a wireless printer reaches beyond the standard print, copy, and fax functions of the typical multifunction output device to add ePrintCenter, Hewlett-Packard's ePrint remote printing service that gives access to downloadable content. Priced at $100, the D110a is a less fancy version of the HP Envy 100 with the same two-ink cartridge bay and a smaller 2.4-inch LCD touch screen. Although we're disappointed by its print speeds and other mechanical missteps, the HP Photosmart D110a is an affordable printer with useful Web-connectivity features for families, travelers, and business professionals.
Design and features
At 17.4 inches wide, 15.9 inches deep, and just 7.1 inches tall, the HP Photosmart D110a takes up so little real estate on your desktop that others might mistake it for a single-function inkjet. In fact, the printer has a copier and a flatbed scanner that tucks neatly into the top of the unit, and the rest of the front panel is limited to a paper tray, a memory card reader, and a 2.3-inch color touch screen LCD on the left with virtual buttons surrounding it that control the typical menu functions.
In terms of general printing functionality, the D110a is limited in two ways that you should consider before buying it: first, the media reader just underneath the display can only read Secure Digital (SD) and MultiMediaCard (MMC) storage cards and there's no available USB port for direct camera connections. That means Sony Memory Stick and Compact Flash card users are forced to use a computer to transfer photos for printing.
Second, the D110a works best for low-output work stations, as the printer has an 80-sheet paper input tray and a maximum monthly output capacity (also called a "duty cycle") of 1,000 pages. If you know you'll be printing a high volume of documents, you'll find yourself wishing for competing printers like the Lexmark S405 that hold up to 135 sheets of paper and can print over 5,000 pages a month.
We also wish you could adjust the angle of the touch screen, which instead is fixed in place, but we'll let that slide. The home screen has a set of scrollable icons for your favorite applications as well as four shortcut buttons at the bottom to bring up controls for photo printing, copy, scan, and fax. You can drag your finger across the list of apps to select one, delete ones you don't use, or download any apps from the growing list in the ePrintCenter.
The touch screen works well enough, although entering router passwords and other lengthy content on the small screen will certainly test your patience, and we also found the touch screen less sensitive than we like; it's not as responsive as the Apple iPhone, for example, and the touch delay sometimes causes unintentional button presses, although it's not nearly as frustrating to use as the e-Print-enabled HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One C310a, which omits all hard-button controls in favor of a clumsy touch screen.
The back of the printer is equally spare, with only a USB connection on the left and a thin power cord on the right--there's no wired Ethernet port available. Instead, HP offers a USB port for a wired connection to a host computer, or you can alternatively connect wirelessly with the built-in 802.11b/g/n print server inside, making it necessary to use both the ePrint feature and HP's ePrintCenter app store.
HP requires the printer and the host computer to access the Internet on the same wireless router to take advantage of the ePrintCenter apps, so you get no wired Ethernet port option. You do get the option to install the printer via the USB port on the back, but you'll be limited to the printing functions.
The ePrintCenter is an online hub where you can view job history, change settings, add printers to your account, browse and install apps, and cancel print jobs. All of the extra applications are free and HP breaks them down into categories within the App Store: entertainment, home, kids, news/blogs, photo, and tickets. Each one promises to streamline the printing experience by offering shortcuts to your favorite coupons, news articles, weather reports, recipes, and so on. HP tells us that it plans to release a Software Development Kit (SDK) in the near future so that software engineers can design their own shortcut apps for the store.
Using the onscreen Wireless Setup Wizard, we were able to connect the printer through CNET's protected network and took off browsing in less than 10 minutes. The Get More button took us directly to the store, where you can rate each app and even add comments for other potential users to read. The apps have potential, but prepare to battle long load times that require you to navigate through several submenu layers.
For example, the Google Maps app is an intriguing idea that could save time, but the touch-screen delays and irritatingly small virtual keyboard kept us in hunt-and-peck purgatory for so long that we began longing for the convenience of a simple keyboard and mouse for navigation. Another example is the Fandango Ticket function: we thought the process would be as simple as using the kiosks offered in actual theaters, but searching for movies and show times in the correct theater is hard enough to do online without waiting for a tiny map and listing to show up on a 2.4-inch screen.
The D110a works with any modern Windows or Mac computer, but with ePrint you can also print from mobile devices like tablets or smartphones that don't have a USB port to connect with a traditional printer. ePrint bypasses this issue by enabling you to send jobs directly to the printer using a unique e-mail address. With that address, you can print from virtually any device that can send out messages.
It's important to note your home networking situation prior to buying the D110a, as you absolutely need a wireless network to take advantage of ePrint and the multitude of apps available for download--remember, the D110a has no Ethernet port. The first part of the ePrint setup process is to connect the D110a to your wireless network using the printer's Wireless Set Up Wizard. Once you establish a wireless connection and establish a partnership with your home computer (note that the printer and computer must be use the same wireless router), you can enable Web Services through the printer's settings menu, at which point the D110a will print a document with the unique ePrint e-mail address that identifies your printer to HP and lets you begin downloading applications through the ePrintCenter.