The HP Photosmart D7460 offers a lot of great features at a decent price. For $180, you get a network-ready printer (wireless too!) with a handy touch screen that makes navigating menus a breeze. While we liked using this model, its performance gives us pause. Although it was speedy with text prints, it was much more pokey with 4x6 photo prints, and the print quality could use some tweaking. The Photosmart D7460 is a good fit for casual home users who want a photo-oriented general-purpose printer that can produce decent snapshots as well as fast text prints. If you don't mind slow text prints, check out the Epson Stylus R380: it makes quick work of 4x6 photos and offers the add feature of printing directly on specially coated CDs and DVDs. It's not networked, however.
The HP Photosmart D7460 looks a lot like other members of the Photosmart printer line. The brushed-silver-and-white body stands 18.2 inches wide, 15.3 inches deep, and 6.8 inches tall, and weighs a very manageable 17.6 pounds. Protected behind a clear plastic door live four memory card slots that accept most types of cards; some card types require an adapter, which is not included. The front-mounted USB port is PictBridge-enabled, which means you can print directly from PictBridge cameras. You can also use it to connect and print from storage devices such as USB thumb drives.
Although this printer does resembled older Photosmart models, the major difference is the distinct lack of buttons on the user interface. The reason for this is that the 3.5-inch color LCD is a touch screen. HP has moved most of the direct-print capabilities and functions to the touch screen, leaving the control panel clean. The only buttons are the cancel, red-eye removal, and print photos buttons. The touch screen is mounted in a panel that swivels through a 90-degree range, letting you optimize the viewing angle. The screen is large, colorful, and responsive.
The Photosmart D7460's paper-handling design is typical of HP's Photosmart printers. The unit comprises the output tray and two input trays. The main input tray sits at the bottom and pulls out for easy loading. Adjustable paper guides allow you to load various paper sizes--as many as 100 sheets of plain paper. Immediately above the main tray is the dedicate photo paper tray that holds 4x6 sheets and smaller. The nice thing about this paper tray is that it engages automatically, so you don't have to push it in manually in order to print from that tray. Above both input trays is the output tray, with an extendable arm for corralling long prints. A clear window lets you see if the photo paper tray is empty, while the output tray flips up for loading photo paper.
This printer uses six-color printing, with individual ink cartridges for less waste. The 10mL black cartridge costs $18 to replace and prints roughly 480 pages. Each color tank holds 4mL and costs $10 to replace. The number of prints each can produce varies by color, as some colors are more commonly used than others. For example, the light magenta and light cyan are rated to print more pages because they're used less often than the regular magenta and cyan. Based on HP's estimates of the number of pages produced per cartridge, we estimate that a black-only page costs about 2.6 cents and a full-color (six colors) page costs about 10.3 cents--both costs are good. Unfortunately, HP does not offer XL versions of these cartridges for this printer.
The Photosmart D7460 not only comes network-ready, but it offers both wired (Ethernet) and wireless (802.11g) connectivity to boot. A wireless setup wizard will search your area for available networks and walk you through the process of connecting to one. A small, blue LED on the front of the printer lights when you're connected wirelessly. This model does not come with an auto duplexer, but HP does offer an optional add-on unit. If you don't care to purchase the auto duplexer, the printer driver will assist you with manual duplex operations.
As mentioned above, you can print directly from a PictBridge camera, a memory card, or a USB storage device. The methods for printing from the latter two are the same. When you plug in either one, the touch screen switches to the Photosmart Express screen. Here, you can start by choosing View, Print, Create, Share, or Save. The View option automatically pulls up a nine-image thumbnail view. You can simply touch one of the images to zoom in on it, or scroll through your images, nine at a time. At this point, you can print all the images by pressing Print Photos button on the printer. Happily, the D7460 asks you to verify that you really want to do this. If you choose to zoom in on an individual photo, you can preview the print or edit the image. Edit options include rotate, crop, red-eye removal, photo fix, add frame, brightness, and color effect. As you step through the images, you can print them individually or go back and add images to the batch before printing.
If, from the main screen, you select Print, the wizard starts you off by asking you to select a print layout. Options include 4x6, 5x7, 8.5x11, and multi-image layouts on 8.5x11 paper, including an index. Because the D7460 lacks a scanner, the index is for reference only (file names are included). You can fit as many as 63 images on one sheet. After you select the layout, the procedure is the same as outlined above.