HP PhotoSmart review: HP PhotoSmart

The Photosmart 145's drivers are intuitively designed and geared toward simple photo-adjustment tasks. Through a series of tabs, you can change basic settings, such as orientation and paper type, and adjust the color saturation, the brightness, and the tone. Via the main tab, you can access the more advanced HP Digital Photography interface. Through this, you can remove red-eye, add flash, improve the focus, and smooth your images.

The Photosmart 145 is quite slow. It took the printer an average of 2.7 minutes to print our 4x6 test photo; that's a bit slower than the Photosmart 245's 2.4 minutes per page, and it's dowright sluggish compared with the Canon CP-300's zippy 1.5 minutes per page.

The Photosmart 145 did a fine job on our test photos. Overall, however, we rated the Photosmart 145's print quality fair. The test photos looked decent at a casual glance, but closer scrutiny revealed visible dithering throughout; this occurred both on trickier elements, such as a white egg or pale skin tones, and simpler elements, such as a sunflower's petals.

Because the Photosmart 145 is a three-color inkjet--a rare breed in this age of six-, seven-, and eight-color printing--it accepts only one ink cartridge at a time: either a tricolor cartridge, which costs $35 to replace, or a $25 HP Photo Gray cartridge for printing black-and-white photos. Hence, the printer renders black elements in color prints by blending cyan, magenta, and yellow.

Inkjet color-photo speed test  (Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Minutes per page  
Canon CP-300
HP Photosmart 245
HP Photosmart 145

Inkjet printer quality
•Poor   ••Fair   •••Good   ••••Excellent
 Printer  Text  Graphics
 Canon CP-300 ••• •••
 HP Photosmart 245 ••• •••
 HP Photosmart 145 •• ••

HP backs the Photosmart 145 with a standard one-year warranty and one year of telephone technical support; toll-free phone support is now available 24/7. Online, &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ehp%2Ecom%2Fgo%2Fsupport" target="_blank">HP's Web site contains a wealth of additional support options. Through a tech-support page dedicated to your particular printer, you can access driver updates and setup and installation help, as well as peruse a problem-solving section, find tips on how to use your printer, and catch up on product information and documentation.

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