HP's PSC 2510 Photosmart all-in-one integrates photo-quality printing, faxing, scanning, and copying into one seamless and easy-to-use device. Unfortunately, this inkjet multifunction printer is a jack-of-all-trades but a master of only a few. While we obtained excellent photo quality and fast photocopying speeds, we also experienced abysmally slow print and scan speeds, plus some blurry scanned text and slightly imperfect printed text. The news isn't all bad, however; the PSC 2510 includes wireless 802.11b capabilities, an Ethernet jack, and full standalone fax capabilities right out of the box. The built-in network features and the fax capabilities alone make the PSC 2510 a good value for small businesses that want a photo-quality multifunction printer but don't need speed. Multifunction printers, which combine various hardware components into one unit, never win beauty contests. The HP PSC 2510 is no exception, although its sleek silver accents, pop-up 2.5-inch color LCD screen, and classic-HP stacked input/output tray give it a touch of style. Measuring 19 inches by 15.4 inches by 9.3 inches (W, D, H) and weighing a mere 20 pounds, the PSC 2510 is about average size.
The color LCD serves two purposes: it displays digital images from the media cards you insert into the printer (CompactFlash Types I/II, SmartMedia, Secure Digital/MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick, and xD), and it shows menu options for each of the PSC 2510's many functions. Right below the LCD live buttons for scan, photo, copy, and fax menus, along with a navigational cluster for getting around within said menus. Below that, four buttons automatically launch the most often used photo features: Slide Show, which presents the images in a predetermined order; E-mail, which sends via e-mail the photo that's currently displayed; Rotate, which changes the orientation of an image; and Proof Sheet, which automatically prints a sheet of thumbnail photos.
Finally, there's a numeric keypad on the front panel to use the PSC 2510 as a standalone fax machine. This is an important distinction, considering that most multifunction printers these days offer only computer-based faxing, while some, such as the Epson RX500, have a keypad but require you to install your own computer fax software. The HP PSC 2510 Photosmart provides several built-in small-office features that cost extra elsewhere. For example, the PSC 2510 includes support for Ethernet (HP provides the Ethernet cable) and 802.11b-enabled wireless networks. The PSC 2510 also bundles a 33.6Kbps fax modem and full-function standalone fax software, which is a rarity. HP even includes a phone cord for the built-in telephone jack.
Although the PSC 2510 makes it easy to perform the most-basic printing functions without a computer, you'll need the included Windows- and Mac OS X-compatible software should you require more advanced photo editing or want to scan a text document. HP's Director is an umbrella interface that displays icons for common tasks such as Scan Document or Picture, Send Fax, Transfer Images, or Buy Supplies (ink and paper) from HP. Director will also find other installed HP peripherals and let you switch among the various devices. The HP Photo and Imaging Gallery software helps you manage your photos; create special projects such as photo album pages, cards, and flyers; and perform basic editing tasks such as cropping, red-eye removal, and adjusting colors and brightness.
By far our favorite feature, however, is the ability to print a proof sheet from your media card, then use that proof sheet to print only the photos you select. Additional features include the ability to save data from your media card to your PC or Mac and to print frame-by-frame images from a digital video. If you don't mind paying extra, there's an optional automatic, two-sided printing attachment available for $9, plus a faster Ethernet printer server available for $249 and two faster wireless options for $199 and $249.
One thing that's missing from the PSC 2510 Photosmart package, however, is the ability to scan slides and negatives. This capability is not something we'd expect, but it's a great extra, and one that's included with only Epson's RX500. Printing performance
The PSC 2510 ran into trouble in CNET Labs' speed tests. It printed our 10-page text document at 1.43 pages per minute (ppm)--very slow considering that the inexpensive Epson Stylus C84 averages 5ppm. It took the printer 10 minutes per page (mpp) to print our 8x10 photo, which is shocking considering that 4mpp to 5mpp is slow in our book. Keep in mind that 4x6 photos will print faster.
The HP PSC 2510 Photosmart's print performance is decidedly mixed. It does an outstanding job of printing photos. They look crisp and clear with smooth shading, excellent rendering of skin tones, and no visible dithering. Text and graphics on inkjet paper are also quite good. Although text isn't completely sharp, you can see the blur only when looking very closely. Graphics look a bit faded and dithered, but the overall effect is pleasing to the eye and the color matching is excellent.
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The PSC 2510's scanning speeds are slow, too, and in CNET Labs' test, it produced less-than-spectacular-looking images. The PSC 2510 scans a monochrome document at 3.7ppm, much slower than the RX500's 7.6ppm. The PSC 2510 scans a color document at 3.3ppm, while the RX500 speeds along at 7.5ppm. The quality of the PSC 2510's monochrome and color scans is merely fair. Our monochrome text looked very blurry, while the color-test scan produced images whose color was off and washed-out. As a photocopier, however, the PSC reproduced images at 1.1ppm, which is very close to the RX500's 1.5ppm.
The PSC 2510 is, at least, thrifty with ink. We squeezed 85 copies of our high-resolution 8.5x11 test photo out of one set of ink cartridges. This works out to a very low 53 cents per page. If you're printing mostly 4x6 photos, your costs should be about half this.
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