HP launches four Photosmarts for summer

Returning to its most well known market, four new HP Photosmart printers were launched today, the 335 and 385 being the biggest of the quartet although all four place the accent firmly on portability as well as quality. The HP Photosmart 335 Compact Photo Printer. Weighing less than 1.4 kg, this photo printer is a perfect portable device that can be taken anywhere and used to print high quality pictures.

As HP's latest addition to its range of award winning portable photo printers, the HP Photosmart 335 Compact Photo Printer has five built-in memory card slots for direct printing from from CompactFlash, IBM Microdrive, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Duo (with adapter), Mini SD (with adapter), Secure Digital/MultiMedia Card and XD-Picture Card and a front panel USB port which connects to any PictBridge-enabled camera and to most USB flash drives, this printer is ideal for occasions when people want to share the moment as it happens, capture stunning scenery, or video stills in an instant. The optional HP bt300/400 series Bluetooth wireless printer adapter (sold separately), means users can print straight from a Bluetooth enabled camera phone or PDA - allowing more freedom to print photos as and when needed.

With a standard power supply, for maximum mobility, the 335 can be equipped with an optional battery allowing 75 pictures to be printed on a single charge. A custom made case to make carrying easier and the in-car adapter (sold separately) which can also be used to recharge the optional battery means users can remain truly portable and print whenever, wherever - when you're not charging your phone or lighting your cigarettes of course. Other optional accessories available for use with this compact photo printer include an HP inkjet print cartridges and HP papers.

A simple one-touch command button and clear 3.8 LCD screen allows users to easily view and select photos and also print still sequences from video action clips - meaning that fun events caught on video with a digital camera can be printed instantly. The delete button enables keen photographers to free up space on memory cards, whilst HP Real Life technologies can be used to further improve images such as removing red-eye and adjusting contrast - all without a PC, though you may want a monitor sized screen to be totally happy with what you're printing if it's the extras on top of the wedding photos we're talking about.

Also announced at the same time was the Photosmart 385 Compact Photo Printer, a take-anywhere photo printer that combines a wide range of connectivity options with a host of impressive, on-board tools for selecting, editing and printing photos in either rich colour or professional quality black and white. At £200, it'd better do what it says on the tin though. Also weighing little more than 1.4 kg it comes with a standard power cable for use at home, or away. An optional in-car adapter is available for travelling and for complete freedom, whilst an optional rechargeable battery lets users print up to 75 photos between charges, whether indoors or out.

For enhanced freedom, a bank of card slots allow direct printing from the same range of card formats as the 335. The front USB also allows the whole family to print from any PictBridge-enabled camera and most USB flash drives. The HP Photosmart 385 Compact Photo Printer also comes complete with its own Bluetooth adapter for easy direct printing from Bluetooth enabled camera phones. If you're not fussed with frills though, you can even connect it to a PC like any other printer.

A large 6.4 cm built-in LCD flips up will allow easy selection of photos, while in-printer features deliver intuitive access to creative options such as zoom, crop, add frames, rotate and brightness control - all of which can be previewed on the clear colour screen. In addition, HP Real Life technologies such as red-eye removal and adaptive lighting can be used to improve results further still - all without using a PC (as long as you don't reckon you need a monitor sized screen to check the final results). Photo-quality printing can be achieved in around a minute per shot with standard snapshot-sized 10 x 15 cm (6 x 4in) photos printing in less than a minute.

The other two models begin with the Photosmart 475 Compact Photo Printer, which can store up to a thousand photos internally. In HP's opinon, this eliminates the need to store images on a PC or camera, but since a CD-R isn't even £1 anymore, we'd disagree. As well as printing both colour and monochrome photos, they can be viewed on a TV as a photo album by using the included remote control or directly saved to CD or DVD by connecting an external CD/DVD writer - all without using a PC. Finally the Photosmart 422 Portable Photo Studio, is a three-in-one solution offering ultimate photo simplicity with printer, docking station and camera in the style of Kodak's home offerings. Featuring a high quality HP 5.2 megapixel (MP) camera and compact photo printer with built-in camera dock, this package is the perfect travelling companion - enabling users to print their photos on the go or at home and this last package also marks how quickly this megapixel level is crashing in price if it's already getting bundled with extras we'd only seen on much lowlier cameras.

HP certainly haven't been sitting around and it'll be interesting to test the new breed and see if it's worth an upgrade for anyone running their old Deskjets into the ground and sticking with existing Photosmart papers for their pictures.