If HP's super budget 1050A printer just didn’t offer enough in the way of features for you, then you might want to try the company's 3050A on for size.
For a mere £9 more than its sibling, this multifunction model adds Wi-Fi support into the mix, and as a result it'll even work with Google's newservice. But can a sub-£40 printer really take care of all your printing needs?
The 3050A is a multifunction model that includes printing, scanning and copying features, but doesn’t have onboard fax facilities. The build quality is a little on the flimsy side as you might expect given the low price tag, but the design actually looks pretty tasty thanks to its two-tone grey colour scheme and the dark orange band that runs just underneath the scanner lid.
Paper handling is in line with other budget inkjet printers we've reviewed. Rather than a bottom-mounted cassette paper feeder, this one has a flip-out tray at the rear into which you vertically slot sheets of paper. The printed results are then fed into a fold down, telescopic tray at the front. The paper feeder handles just 60 sheets, but that should be enough for most home users.
Unlike the 1050A, this model has a flip-up monochrome 38mm screen with buttons mounted on either side that make it easy to select various menu options.
It doesn’t take long to get the 3050A up and running. After you've removed the various protective tapes, it's simply a matter of plugging in the external power supply, turning it on, and loading the two ink cartridges. Getting the cartridges into place is a little tricky, as there isn’t a lot of clearance to get your hands into the belly of the printer, but once you do reach the slot they click firmly into place.
After this, the printer will produce a test page that you then scan to align the print heads. Once this is complete you can load the driver software on your PC via the installation disc and choose whether you want to connect via USB or Wi-Fi. You should be up and running in about five minutes.
If you choose to set the printer up to use Wi-Fi, you can also make use of Google's Cloud Printing service that lets you connect to the printer from a range of devices across the Internet, including mobile phones and laptops, to remotely send jobs to the printer.
Scanning and copying
The top of the printer is home to the flat-bed scanner. This has a maximum resolution of 1,200dpi and produces results that are more than good enough for home use, as scans are accurate on the colour front and capture decent levels of detail.