HP Photosmart Premium C309g review: HP Photosmart Premium C309g

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The Good Good touch-sensitive screen; excellent driver bundle.

The Bad Noisy; expensive.

The Bottom Line Good all-round performance and a great touchscreen make the HP Photosmart Premium C309g an appealing purchase for both home and small-office users. Its support for wireless networking is excellent and it's easy to set up, while the Windows software bundle is well thought-out and useful. We think it's a smart buy

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7.5 Overall

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HP's indulged in some bandwagon-jumping with the Photosmart Premium C309g. It's taken one of its multi-function printers and strapped what looks like an iPhone on the front. But, far from a phone, it's an 89mm (3.5-inch) 'TouchSmart' display that does away with the myriad buttons common to most all-in-one printers and makes the £180 C309g a cinch to set up.

Simple set-up
The C309g could well be the simplest printer we've ever set up. Plug it in, switch it on, and it'll look for wireless networks. Pick the one you want from the list on the built-in display, use the soft keyboard to enter the relevant password, and you're ready to go. The same bright, colourful and high-resolution screen displays the level of remaining ink, controls the copier and lets you print a range of pre-defined forms, including Sudoku grids, music paper and monthly or weekly calendars.

If you have a Snapfish account for sharing and printing photos online, you can log in via the display to upload photos from the integrated card slots or print pictures from your online album. It's a great bragging point and, once the photos have loaded, they print quickly enough, although scrolling through albums is slow and frustrating.

The downside of the smart display is the printer's bland appearance. There's just one button on the front -- for power -- lost in a sea of dark brown plastic. We also found that the C309g didn't always work happily with our PC. We asked it to scan to the computer, and it told us to 'Try starting scan from computer'. We did this, courtesy of the excellent driver, which makes it easy to scan multi-page documents into a single file and manipulate the results without using third-party apps. The editing tools are minimal, but they do let you crop, correct colours and sharpen the results, so they cover the major bases.

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