The third prong of HP's connected printer strategy is ePrint. The C310a works with any modern Windows or Mac computer, but ePrint also lets you 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 letting you send jobs directly to the printer using a unique e-mail address. With that address, you can use the printer to print from virtually any device that can send out messages.
It's important to take note of your networking situation at home prior to buying the C310a, 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 setup process is to connect the C310a to your wireless 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 the unique e-mail address that you can use to print from the cloud.
The ePrint system can print e-mail message attachments in the form of images, document files, PDFs, and photos, and it will 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.
We confirmed in testing that 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 feed 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 where you can 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 like that you can queue up several jobs and track them all just as you would using a desktop client. Still, we'd also like to find some of this functionality on the printer itself.
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. The standard cartridges cost $10, but we used 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. High-volume users can save more money on consumables with the HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless, a CNET Editors' Choice that will cost you only 1.6 cents per page for black-only ink and 1.9 cents per color.
On the other hand, we're impressed with the print speeds of the C310a, at least through the wired USB connection. Our tests show the C310a printing all four test documents faster than the competition, aside from the Epson WorkForce 310's fast 12.51 pages per minute.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Presentation speed||Photo speed||Graphics speed||Text speed|
We're also pleased with the output quality of the C310a. We printed a number of photos from the desktop client and in all cases the printer lived 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, and we wouldn't think twice about presenting documents produced by the C310a at a professional business meeting or a school report.
Service and support
The HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One C310a is backed by HP's exclusive enhanced support services, which 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 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, and a new shopping buddy that puts you in a chat room with an HP sales rep in an effort to answer your questions before you buy.
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