The HP Photosmart D5360 wants to be a compelling option for an inexpensive single-function photo printer. But it provides few of the photo options that would make it so. Standalone-mode options boil down to printing photos directly from a memory card; any edits have to be made using your PC. And while it does offer interesting features not often found on a $100 printer, such as a CD/DVD printer and auto duplexer, it's not enough. For the same $100, you can pick up the Canon Pixma MP470, a multifunction printer that lets you print, scan, copy, and print from both memory cards and PictBridge devices. And it offers more onboard photo features than the D5360, not to mention print speeds that are on par with the HP's and better print quality than the D5360. So, to review: more features, same speeds, better quality? Ditch the HP Photosmart D5360 and spend your C-note on the Canon multifunction.
The HP Photosmart D5360 features that standard Photosmart look: shiny white-and-light-gray exterior with rounded curves. This model measures 18 inches wide, 15 inches deep, and 7.2 inches tall, and weighs just 12.5 pounds. Four memory card slots are mounted on the front, but it's missing a PictBridge USB port for connecting PictBridge cameras.
The control panel is minimal on the D5360. The 1.5-inch LCD is mounted on a raised panel, though it's not adjustable. The only buttons are the Print Photos, Print Tray, Red Eye Removal, Cancel, and OK and menu navigation keys.
Paper handling is classic HP: The tray comprises two layers. The bottom tray is the main input and holds up to 125 sheets of regular paper. The upper tray is the output tray, but it includes an embedded, dedicated photo paper tray with a flip-up lid. The photo tray can hold various sizes, up to 5x7 (up to 20 sheets). The tray engages automatically when you direct the printer to print photos. One surprising aspect of the D5360 is that it comes with an auto duplexer standard--this option isn't often found on $100 printers.
The Photosmart D5360 uses a two-ink ink system. For standard printing, you'll use a black and a tri-color cartridge. HP offers an optional photo ink cartridge for six-color photo printing (it replaces the black) and a gray cartridge for more nuanced black-and-white prints (to replace the color cartridge). The black and tricolor cartridges come in standard and XL versions. The standard black costs $15, while the standard color costs $18. The XL versions cost $30 and $35, respectively. Using the XL versions, we estimate that a black-only page costs about 4 cents and a four-color page costs about 10.7 cents. Both values are reasonable for a low-cost inkjet printer.
The onboard features on the Photosmart D5360 are minimal. You can print pictures off a memory card, but not a USB PictBridge device or a USB storage device. To print from a card, insert one into one of the memory slots. Your only viewing option is to look at the photos one at a time, because the screen is too small for a multi-image view. If you press the Print Photos button without choosing an image, it will print the photo displayed on the screen. Or you can step through the images and select as you go. Each time you press the OK button for a particular image, you increase the number of prints by one. There's no way to select all the photos or those in a particular date range. But you can choose all the photos you want printed before starting the print job. If you're printing more than one photo at once, the printer will ask you if you want to do a 1-up or 3-up print. The former prints one image per page, while the latter prints three images per page.
When printing without your PC, your only edit option is to remove red-eye. Everything else has to be done through the included Photosmart Essential software. Here, you can import images, edit them, and print or share (via e-mail or Snapfish, HP's online photo-sharing service). Editing options include cropping, flipping, rotating, resizing, using color and light tools, and adding special effects.
The one feature of interest on the D5360 is the ability to print directly on specially coated CDs and DVDs. You'll have to install the Roxio Express Labeler software that comes on a disc that's included with the printer, as well as purchase the inkjet-printable discs (one is included). To print a disc, you'll need to use the special CD/DVD holder that's stashed in the input tray. The disc feed tray folds down from above the output tray. You can use the Roxio software to print discs, DVD case inserts, and jewel case inserts. For discs, you can use text or images and customize them by resizing or moving them around within the print area. You can find more information in the Features section of the HP Photosmart C5280 review.
We haven't reviewed many $100 printers lately, as the price structure has changed, such that $100 can get you an inkjet multifunction device. Compared to the Canon Pixma iP6310D that we reviewed last winter, the HP fared well. The Photosmart D5360 scored 5.53 pages per minute when printing text, a lot faster than the iP6310D's mere 1.44 pages per minute. The HP also came out on top with color graphics printing, with a score of 2.10 pages per minute. And it improved slightly over the Canon's speed with 4x6 photo prints, with a score of 0.61 page per minute. Sounds great, right? On a whim, we compared the HP's scores to those of the Canon Pixma MP470, a $100 multifunction printer. The HP was a touch faster with text prints, but fell behind on 4x6 photo prints. Interesting.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
The HP Photosmart D5360's print quality wasn't terribly impressive. The text prints showed wicking and fuzzy edges--definitely good enough for most home uses, but we wouldn't use it to print resumes. The color graphics print showed decent color reproduction, but all the color blocks were marred by graininess, reverse text prints (white text on a colored background) became illegible quickly, and the printer had problems handling barcode patterns. Finally, we found the 4x6 photos bland: The colors didn't pop, we saw lots of compression in the dark end of the grayscale and noticed muddled details in shadow areas, and again, color blocks were beset by distracting graininess. As in the speed tests, we were more impressed by the print quality of the Canon Pixma MP470 multifunction.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Service and support
HP backs the Photosmart C5360 with a standard one-year warranty. Toll-free phone support is available 24-7, or you can chat live online with tech support, also 24-7. HP's site has drivers, software downloads, FAQs, and troubleshooting guides, as well.