HP PhotoSmart 812xi

The Good Makes printing and online sharing easy; compact and lightweight; simple user interface.

The Bad Almost no manual overrides; slow autofocus; LCD is hard to see in daylight.

The Bottom Line This camera provides hassle-free automated printing and online photo sharing--at the expense of advanced features and shooting flexibility.

Editors' Rating
5.8 Overall

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HP PhotoSmart 812xi
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Design
9
Features
8
Performance
8
Image quality
8

Review

HP PhotoSmart 812xi

If you'd like a simple camera that gives you a trouble-free way to print and share your pictures, then Hewlett-Packard's 4-megapixel PhotoSmart 812 is worth a look. Its Instant Share system, which can be used with or without the camera's optional dock, largely automates the process of printing photos, posting them online, and sending them via e-mail. But photo enthusiasts should look elsewhere; this compact camera is automatic with a capital A.If you'd like a simple camera that gives you a trouble-free way to print and share your pictures, then Hewlett-Packard's 4-megapixel PhotoSmart 812 is worth a look. Its Instant Share system, which can be used with or without the camera's optional dock, largely automates the process of printing photos, posting them online, and sending them via e-mail. But photo enthusiasts should look elsewhere; this compact camera is automatic with a capital A.

Simple and understated
Though not striking, the PhotoSmart 812's simple styling is pleasing, and the camera's ultracompact form fits the hand well. Weighing only a little more than eight ounces with batteries and a Secure Digital/MultiMedia Memory card installed, the camera is also highly portable. Its overall feel, however, is less than luxurious, the product of an all-plastic body combined with small, somewhat mushy buttons. Those buttons are well positioned, though, and handle nearly every task that you're likely to perform, with just a few functions left over for the very straightforward LCD menu system.

Automatic for everyone
The PhotoSmart 812 has fewer buttons and menus to fiddle with than almost any other 4-megapixel digicam; one reason for this is that it also has fewer features. Aside from the zoom control, the picture-quality setting, the macro mode, the self-timer, and four flash modes--auto, auto with red-eye reduction, flash cancel, and fill flash--every picture-taking function is automatic and nonadjustable. This means that there's a troubling lack of exposure compensation and any white-balance setting other than auto. You could make a strong case that this approach is taking the concept of snapshot simplicity a bit too far. On the other hand, the 812 can record one-minute video clips with sound and has a voice-captioning feature that lets you annotate still shots.

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Specs / Prices

  • MSRP $446
  • Brand HP
  • Digital Camera Type compact
  • Weight 6.4 oz
  • Sensor Resolution 4.1 pixels
  • Optical Sensor Size (metric) 14.1 mm (1/1.8")
  • Optical Sensor Type CCD
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