August 22, 2014

AirPrint-Compatible: HP Photosmart e-All-in-One Line

HP AirPrint Series

The HP Photosmart e line is the easiest and cheapest way to get into AirPrint

I’m trying to determine which AirPrint printer is best prior to selecting one for home. I first turned my attention to the basic Photosmart e all-in-one printers. These range from the cheap D110A (street price under $100) to the fax-capable Photosmart Premium offering.

HP Photosmart e-All-in-One Line

All of the below have 3 names. See my previous post for my frustration about HP’s naming system.

The “Photosmart e” is the latest in a series of Photosmart printers from HP. These have historically combined document and photo printing in an affordable package, with all-in-one models including scanning, copying, and fax capabilities.

The “e” signifies HP’s “e-print” feature, which assigns an email address to each registered and compatible printer. Any device with email can then send a document to the printer and, assuming it is correctly configured, the printer will spit out a hard copy. These printers also offer built-in Apple AirPrint support for iPad use sans email as well as the use of a variety of “Print Apps” that encourage you to print everything from coloring pages to airline boarding passes directly from the printer.

All of these “Photosmart e” printers include document and photo printing, flatbed scanning and copying, and wireless networking built-in. The main differentiating feature is the size of the built-in color screen, duplex printing, and sheet-fed fax capability.

Photosmart e-All-in-One D110A/CN731A
The basic Photosmart e model, the D110A, offers lots of features at a very low price. Although it lists for $130, I’ve seen it dip below $60 on sale. It lacks two-sided printing, has a small 2.36″ screen, and the scanner is single-sheet flatbed-only. It uses HP’s model 60 inks in a two-pot configuration, impacting quality and value for the money.
Photosmart Plus e-All-in-One B210A/CN216A
The “Photosmart Plus” B210A is a step up, with a fancy 3.45″ screen. Listing at $180, the B210A is currently on sale for just $90. It uses HP’s better individual-color 564 inks for better printing than its baby brother but still lacks two-sided printing and the scanner is single-sheet flatbed-only.
Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One C310A/CN503A
The “Photosmart Premium” line denotes two-sided printing, apparently. The C310A features the largest screen at 4.3″, but it’s not clear what value this really adds. Does anyone really edit photos on their printer? It uses the 564 inks like the B210A and also shares that printer’s single-sheet flatbed scanner. The C310A lists for $250 but is currently on sale under $125.
Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One Fax C410A/CQ521A
The “Premium Fax” model (C410A) is more of an office machine, skipping the big, fancy screen but offering duplex printing, a sheet feeder for scanning and faxing, and wired networking in addition to wireless. Continuing the half-price trend, the C410A is available on sale for under $170 even though it lists for $370. This is the most-direct replacement for my old Photosmart C6180. In fact, it’s pretty much identical apart from the duplex printing and new 564 inks!

Stephen’s Stance

Selecting a printer from this lineup is simple: Do you want Duplex printing? Step up to the Premium models and decide if you want faxing or a sheet-feeder. Otherwise, you might as well buy the B210A “Photosmart Plus” for its better inks and print quality.

The C410A is especially tempting to me. It’s a drop-in replacement for my C6180 with all the features and more. I definitely want duplex printing, and do occasionally send multi-page paper faxes so the sheet feeder and modem are useful to me. It’s not sexy, but it’s solid and affordable.

Speaking of sexy, it’s easy to be tempted by the next two printers in HP’s AirPrint-capable lineup. The slim Envy 100 is pretty and pushes my buttons by transforming from a glossy-black monolith to a printer at the touch of a button. And the eStation, with its bundled “Zeen” Android tablet, is interesting as a gadget. I’ll look at those next.

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  • Moe

    Which HP e-all-in-one printer is best for light home use for printing, scanning and faxing?