The HP Photosmart e-All-in-One D110a wireless printer reaches beyond the standard print, copy, and fax functions of the typical multifunction output device to add ePrintCenter, Hewlett-Packard's ePrint remote printing service that gives access to downloadable content. Priced at $100, the D110a is a less fancy version of the HP Envy 100 with the same two-ink cartridge bay and a smaller 2.4-inch LCD touch screen. Although we're disappointed by its print speeds and other mechanical missteps, the HP Photosmart D110a is an affordable printer with useful Web-connectivity features for families, travelers, and business professionals.
Design and features
At 17.4 inches wide, 15.9 inches deep, and just 7.1 inches tall, the HP Photosmart D110a takes up so little real estate on your desktop that others might mistake it for a single-function inkjet. In fact, the printer has a copier and a flatbed scanner that tucks neatly into the top of the unit, and the rest of the front panel is limited to a paper tray, a memory card reader, and a 2.3-inch color touch screen LCD on the left with virtual buttons surrounding it that control the typical menu functions.
In terms of general printing functionality, the D110a is limited in two ways that you should consider before buying it: first, the media reader just underneath the display can only read Secure Digital (SD) and MultiMediaCard (MMC) storage cards and there's no available USB port for direct camera connections. That means Sony Memory Stick and Compact Flash card users are forced to use a computer to transfer photos for printing.
Second, the D110a works best for low-output work stations, as the printer has an 80-sheet paper input tray and a maximum monthly output capacity (also called a "duty cycle") of 1,000 pages. If you know you'll be printing a high volume of documents, you'll find yourself wishing for competing printers like the Lexmark S405 that hold up to 135 sheets of paper and can print over 5,000 pages a month.
We also wish you could adjust the angle of the touch screen, which instead is fixed in place, but we'll let that slide. The home screen has a set of scrollable icons for your favorite applications as well as four shortcut buttons at the bottom to bring up controls for photo printing, copy, scan, and fax. You can drag your finger across the list of apps to select one, delete ones you don't use, or download any apps from the growing list in the ePrintCenter.
The touch screen works well enough, although entering router passwords and other lengthy content on the small screen will certainly test your patience, and we also found the touch screen less sensitive than we like; it's not as responsive as the Apple iPhone, for example, and the touch delay sometimes causes unintentional button presses, although it's not nearly as frustrating to use as the e-Print-enabled HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One C310a, which omits all hard-button controls in favor of a clumsy touch screen.
The back of the printer is equally spare, with only a USB connection on the left and a thin power cord on the right--there's no wired Ethernet port available. Instead, HP offers a USB port for a wired connection to a host computer, or you can alternatively connect wirelessly with the built-in 802.11b/g/n print server inside, making it necessary to use both the ePrint feature and HP's ePrintCenter app store.
HP requires the printer and the host computer to access the Internet on the same wireless router to take advantage of the ePrintCenter apps, so you get no wired Ethernet port option. You do get the option to install the printer via the USB port on the back, but you'll be limited to the printing functions.
The ePrintCenter is an online hub where you can view job history, change settings, add printers to your account, browse and install apps, and cancel print jobs. All of the extra applications are free and HP breaks them down into categories within the App Store: entertainment, home, kids, news/blogs, photo, and tickets. Each one promises to streamline the printing experience by offering shortcuts to your favorite coupons, news articles, weather reports, recipes, and so on. HP tells us that it plans to release a Software Development Kit (SDK) in the near future so that software engineers can design their own shortcut apps for the store.
Using the onscreen Wireless Setup Wizard, we were able to connect the printer through CNET's protected network and took off browsing in less than 10 minutes. The Get More button took us directly to the store, where you can rate each app and even add comments for other potential users to read. The apps have potential, but prepare to battle long load times that require you to navigate through several submenu layers.
For example, the Google Maps app is an intriguing idea that could save time, but the touch-screen delays and irritatingly small virtual keyboard kept us in hunt-and-peck purgatory for so long that we began longing for the convenience of a simple keyboard and mouse for navigation. Another example is the Fandango Ticket function: we thought the process would be as simple as using the kiosks offered in actual theaters, but searching for movies and show times in the correct theater is hard enough to do online without waiting for a tiny map and listing to show up on a 2.4-inch screen.
The D110a works with any modern Windows or Mac computer, but with ePrint you can also print from mobile devices like tablets or smartphones that don't have a USB port to connect with a traditional printer. ePrint bypasses this issue by enabling you to send jobs directly to the printer using a unique e-mail address. With that address, you can print from virtually any device that can send out messages.
It's important to note your home networking situation prior to buying the D110a, as you absolutely need a wireless network to take advantage of ePrint and the multitude of apps available for download--remember, the D110a has no Ethernet port. The first part of the ePrint setup process is to connect the D110a to your wireless network using the printer's Wireless Set Up Wizard. Once you establish a wireless connection and establish a partnership with your home computer (note that the printer and computer must be use the same wireless router), you can enable Web Services through the printer's settings menu, at which point the D110a will print a document with the unique ePrint e-mail address that identifies your printer to HP and lets you begin downloading applications through the ePrintCenter.
The ePrint system can print e-mail message attachments in the form of images, document files, PDFs, and photos, and it will send a separate job for any text that appears in the body of the e-mail. The default preferences let anyone with the address print wirelessly, but you can also set up a list of verified senders to allow on a private network. We confirmed in testing that the ePrint functionality works with a wide variety of Web clients: we used Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, and Microsoft Outlook with positive results, and you can even e-mail articles directly from an RSS feed like Google Reader.
You can track the progress of print jobs sent to the assigned address through the HP ePrintCenter. The printer recognizes and begins printing a job immediately after it receives an e-mail, and we like that you can queue up several jobs and track them all just as you would using a desktop client. Still, we'd also like to find some of this functionality on the printer itself.
Although the D110a gives you the additional benefits of ePrint and the ePrintCenter and its app store, the retail price is low for a reason--the two-ink cartridge system can't produce pictures as vivid as those from a five- or six-ink printer, and you'll end up spending more money refilling the $32 color cartridge since it bundles three colors into one package.
Fortunately, HP also sells extralarge-capacity cartridges and value packs that save money in the long term, but the cost of replacing these consumables (especially with ePrint and HP Print Apps encouraging you to increase your printing output) sooner than others in the same price range may ultimately be higher than the cost of the printer itself.
In the same vein, you can see that the D110a's dual-ink cartridges are easily outpaced by multicartridge printers in the same price class, especially in our graphics and photo speed tests. Our timing results show that the D110a printed photo and color graphics much more slowly than the rest, with text document and presentation print speed coming in just below average.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Presentation speed (PPM)||Photo speed (1 sheet)||Color graphics speed (PPM)||Text speed (PPM)|
Finally, the overall print quality also suffers as a result of the tricolor cartridge. Outbound prints, especially graphics-intensive samples, are marred by various line patterns that run throughout the images, and colored bars look faded and blotchy even in the best-quality print option. The biggest offenders are 4x6-inch snapshot photos, and it doesn't take a printer editor to see the color inconsistencies and the overall lack of vibrancy.
Service and support
The HP D110a printer is backed by HP's exclusive enhanced support services: a dedicated toll-free number, troubleshooting over online chat with an HP expert, and a one-year warranty that guarantees repairs with "Next-Day Business Turn Around" and offering brand-new replacement units for the first 30 days after purchase.
In addition, HP offers an added Accidental Damage Protection and a Pick-Up-and-Return program that sends an authorized courier to pick up your failed equipment and deliver it directly to an HP-designated repair facility.
You can find more warranty information by visiting the HP Support Web site, which also features online classes, FAQs, driver downloads, and troubleshooting tips, as well as a new shopping buddy that puts you in a chat room with an HP sales rep so you can ask questions before you buy.
The HP Photosmart e-All-in-One D110a wireless printer is not without its faults; it's slower than the competition and prints average-quality graphic documents and dismal photo prints, but we're excited about using ePrint and the HP ePrintCenter Web apps for things like news updates in areas without Internet, quick coloring-book printouts for the kids, and easy access to flight itineraries and boarding passes. With room for growth and future apps, the D110a is the least expensive way to try out HP's extended printing features, and we recommend it as a light-duty printer in the home.
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Editors' note May 9, 2011: This review initially misstated the size of the touch screen on the printer. It is 2.3 inches.