The HP Photosmart Premium C410a occupies the middle ground between a versatile, low-cost inkjet for the home and a high-volume multifunction for office use. It has a list price of $299, but you can find it online for $199--including direct from HP with a $100 instant rebate. It produces faster, higher-quality prints than competitive low-end all-in-one printers, and HP also includes its convenient ePrint and AirPrint technologies that let you send print jobs via e-mail and directly from Apple iOS devices. We recommend it for home offices with light-duty printing expectations or if you frequently print photos, but if you need a workhorse printer, bypass this device for the Editors' Choice award-winning Epson WorkForce 840.
Design and features
The HP Photosmart Premium C410a is of average size for a midgrade MFP, measuring 11.1 inches high, 18.4 inches wide, and 17.8 inches deep. It features one 125-sheet paper tray with a 20-sheet photo paper tray above it. In comparison, the Epson WorkForce 840's 500-sheet paper tray offers four times the capacity for busy offices that cycle through more prints.
The Photosmart Premium C410a's main paper tray can hold up to legal-size paper, and the small photo tray can hold up to 5x7 paper. A busy, high-volume office will constantly need to refill the 125-sheet paper tray, but it's highly convenient for home users to have a dedicated photo tray that saves the hassle of manually loading photo paper when alternating between document and snapshot photo prints.
On top of the printer, you'll find a 50-sheet auto-document feeder (ADF) that lets you slide in a stack of sheets for hands-free scanning, copying, or printing. The Photosmart Premium C410a also features automatic duplexing that can print on both sides of a single sheet of paper, and a button on the printer's control panel lets you easily toggle between single- and double-sided printing.
The Photosmart Premium C410a bucks the touch-screen trend, serving up a control panel littered with physical buttons. The control panel runs nearly the entire width of the printer with ample room for an organized button layout. A small, 2.4-inch status LCD sits on the left side of the control panel. The panel sits fixed at an angle, but the color LCD can tilt forward for better viewing when you're seated. To the left of the LCD on the front face of the printer are three media card slots (MemoryStick, SD, and CompactFlash) and a PictBridge USB port for direct printing from a compatible digital camera.
You'll also notice a button labeled "Print Photos" in addition to the usual buttons to initiate scans, copies, and faxes. When you attach a USB device or insert a media card, the printer will scan the drive or card for photos that you can view on the LCD and scroll through using the arrow buttons. You can also select the photos you'd like to print, perform a few basic edits if you so desire (though the small screen makes it very difficult to see how your edits affect the image), and hit the Print Photo button to output your project. Finally, the convenient automatic paper sensor will automatically draw media directly from the photo paper tray.
Installing the printer is no more complicated than installing the software and drivers from the bundled CD, and then connecting the printer to your PC or Mac using a USB cable. You'll need to supply your own for a direct connection as HP leaves it out of the box. The C410a also features Ethernet and Wi-Fi networking, and we connected it wirelessly on the printer by stepping through the setup screens, clicking on our preferred Wi-Fi network from a list, and entering our password.
You need no additional apps to print from an iPhone once you have the printer synched up to a wireless network. It also works with the iPad and iPod Touch, although we didn't test with these devices. HP calls this functionality AirPrint, and it's incredibly slick. Without the need to visit Apple's App Store, we were able to print directly from our iPhone. We printed out a photo from our iPhone photo library by simply choosing the printer, and hitting Print. You can't adjust any print properties, however, which resulted in some clipping on a square Hipstamatic photo using both letter-size paper and 4x6 photo paper.
In addition to AirPrint, the printer also features HP's ePrint technology, whereby you can e-mail the printer an attachment to print out. To set it up, hit the ePrint button on the Photosmart Premium C410a's control panel and it will print out a welcome sheet with a code that you then must enter on HP's ePrint Web site. The code then becomes the e-mail address like so: email@example.com. ePrint is a convenient feature, but it comes with a few restrictions. For one, the printer must be on and also connected to your network (you select whether anyone can e-mail print jobs to your printer or only those to whom you grant access). For another, it can't print Web pages, although you can simply copy the Web text into the body of an e-mail to get a similar page.
The printer also features HP's print apps, which let you print pages from outlets such as Financial Times, Yahoo, Reuters, USA Today. Others from DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, and Disney let you print coloring pages, paper airplane templates, and other crafts. You can also install additional free apps, but you must do so from HP's ePrint Center Web site after creating an account. It would be infinitely easier to simply download them directly to the printer. Also, the apps are much more useful on a printer with a larger LCD display.
The flatbed scanner/copier measures 8.5 by 11.7 inches, meaning it can scan or copy letter-size documents but not legal sheets. It features a 4,800 dpi resolution, and scanned and copied documents looked crisp and sharp. You can send scans to a PC, a memory card, or a USB drive. There is also an option for scanning photos to whatever paper you have in the photo tray. The front-right corner is used to align material to be copied or scanned, which is easier than other printers that make you align your pages or photos in the back-left corner. Unlike the Lexmark Pinnacle Pro901, however, the Photosmart Premium C410a's hinges do not detach, which is inconvenient when scanning or copying pages from thick textbooks.