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HP PhotoSmart Premium C309: A printer, but not as we know it

The HP Photosmart C309 is one of a new breed of machines that can be controlled via an integrated touchscreen display, but that doesn't mean it's any good

Here at Crave, we don't often test printers, so when we do, you can be pretty pigging sure they're among the best printers in the world. The new HP Photosmart C309 should theoretically fall into that category, as it's one of a new breed of machines that can be controlled via an integrated touchscreen display.

The touchscreen, which resembles an iPhone, allows users to access the printer's functions and settings. It can also be used to view previews of photos stored on USB, or online storage services such as HP's Snapfish system, thanks to the built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi adaptor.

This should make the C309 the most awesome printer in existence, but if our early tests are anything to go by, it is not. We can forgive the software installation taking approximately four weeks to complete, and the fact it constantly whirs, whines and clicks like a cheap, plastic R2D2, but we can't forgive the fact it's not particularly good at basic tasks you'd expect from a printer. Such as printing.

Loading the C309 with paper was like feeding a particularly obnoxious baby. It would persistently beg us to load A4 sheets, then vomit them back out, then ask us to load the paper again, clacking loudly as it did so. When it did finally accept some paper, it printed everything all wonky and no amount of cartridge alignment would cure it.

Despite our negative initial experience, we intend to give the C309 time to prove its worth, or further expose its flaws in a full, in-depth review. In the meantime, if you want one, and you're fond of janky, leaning text, you can buy the C309 now for anywhere between £200 and £300.