HP Photosmart eStation C510 review: HP Photosmart eStation C510

It's important to take note of your networking situation at home prior to buying the C510, as you absolutely need a wireless network to take advantage of ePrint and the multitude of apps available for download--remember, it has no Ethernet port.

The first part of the ePrint set up process is to connect the Zeen tablet to your local network. After that's finished, the printer will attempt to connect to the same network and link the two devices together, at which point the printer will release a printout with your unique e-mail address that you can use to print from the cloud.

The ePrint system can print various e-mail message attachments in the form of images, document files, PDFs, and photos, and it'll also send a separate job for any text that appears in the body of the e-mail. The default preferences let anyone with the address print wirelessly, but you can also set up a list of verified senders to allow on a private network.

As verified by our testing, the ePrint functionality works with a wide variety of Web clients--we used Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, and Microsoft Outlook with positive results, and you can even e-mail articles directly from an RSS reader like Google Reader as well.

You can track the progress of print jobs sent to the assigned address using the HP ePrint Center, the online hub to view job history, change settings, add printers to your account, browse and install apps, and cancel ePrints. The printer recognizes and begins printing a job immediately after it receives an e-mail, and we also like that you can queue up several jobs and track them all just like you would using a desktop client. Still, we'd also like to find some of this functionality on the printer itself.

HP ePrintCenter
The C510 represents HP's vision for the future of printing with devices that don't rely on an accompanying desktop computer to dictate outgoing print jobs. Along with ePrint, the HP ePrinterCenter is a key component of that untethering, and it's essentially an online control center to browse applications and load them onto the Web-connected Zeen. You can also add more software directly from the Zeen's home screen using the "Get More" icon.

All applications are free to download and are broken down into categories within the App Store: entertainment, greeting cards, kids, news/blogs, photo, and tickets are just a few, and each give you shortcuts to discount coupons, news articles, weather reports, recipes, and more.

HP also told us of plans to release a Software Development Kit (SDK) in the future so software engineers can create their own apps for distribution in the ePrintCenter.

Performance
The printer uses five standard HP model No. 564 ink cartridges for black, photo black, cyan, magenta, and yellow, each with its own dedicated slot under the hood. The standard cartridges cost $10, but we'll use the XL high-capacity option for our cost-per-page calculation to measure the best deal you can get from HP. The XL colored inks cost $18 apiece and, according to HP, they'll yield 750 color pages, while the XL black replacement cartridge costs $35 for 800 yields.

By our calculations, a page of color will cost you 2.4 cents, and a page of black strangely costs double at 4.3 cents. You can save more money on consumables with the HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless, which will cost you 1.6 cents per page for black-only ink and 1.9 cents per color, but you obviously you don't get a Zeen to go with it.

On the other hand, we're impressed with the print speeds of the eStation C510, at least through the wired USB connection. We assume most will use the Zeen with the printer, so expect increased lag times per job as the Zeen searches for your C510 on the network.

Although it couldn't beat the Officejet Pro 8500, our USB-connected eStation printed all four test documents faster than the competition, aside from the Epson WorkForce 520's ridiculously fast 12.51 pages per minute. Granted, the eStation is at least $100 more than all the comparison printers you see below, but at least we know the printer can do its job quickly.

Speed test
Presentation speed (PPM)  
Photo speed (1 Sheet)  
Graphics speed (PPM)  
Text speed (PPM)  
Canon Pixma MP495
2.55 
1.1 
2.15 
4.07 
Kodak ESP 5
2.21 
1.37 
2.13 
4.39 
Lexmark Interact S605
3.63 
2.07 
3.96 
7.83 
HP Photosmart eStation C510
4.78 
1.6 
4.41 
9.09 
Epson WorkForce 520
2.73 
2.61 
2.26 
12.51 

We're also pleased with the output quality of the eStation C510. We printed a number of photos from the desktop client and directly through the Zeen as well, and in all cases the printer lives up to HP's standard for sharp, clear photo and text prints. We were able to read decreased font sizes down to 8 points with few noticeable jagged edges. Text quality is also suitable for professional documents, despite HP marketing the C510 as a printer for the home.

Service and support
The HP Photosmart eStation C510 is backed by HP's exclusive enhanced support services that offer a dedicated toll-free number, troubleshooting over online chat with an HP expert, and a one-year warranty that guarantees repairs with "Next-Day Business Turn Around," offering brand-new replacement units for the first 30 days after purchase.

In addition, HP offers an added Accidental Damage Protection and a Pick-Up-and-Return program that sends an authorized courier to pick up your failed equipment and deliver it directly to an HP-designated repair facility.

You can find more warranty information by visiting the HP Support Web site, which also features online classes, FAQs, driver downloads, troubleshooting tips, as well as a new shopping buddy that puts you in a chat room with an HP sales rep to answer your questions before you buy.

Find out more about how we test printers.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Type fax / copier / printer / scanner
  • Printing Technology ink-jet
  • Max Original Size 8.5 in x 11.7 in
  • Optical Resolution 1200 x 2400 dpi
  • Functions fax
About The Author

Justin Yu covers headphones and peripherals for CNET. When he's not wading through Web gulch or challenging colleagues to typing tests, you can find him making fun of technology with Jeff Bakalar every afternoon on The 404 show.