HP Photosmart 245 compact photo printer review

4.5 out of 5
£150

For

The HP functionality and print quality we expect

Against

Print too much red (= magenta+yellow) and colour dies quicker, limitation to papersize

If you've got a digital camera, chances are that from time to time you use it. But then what do you do with the pictures afterwards? For the majority of us it is simply a case of storing them on your PC, flicking through them occasionally and nothing more. HP is hoping to change that with a device the size of a washbag.

The Photosmart 245 portable printer is an ingenious device that not only allows you to print 15x10cm borderless prints from your PC or Mac, but also has the ability to read all the digital camera media formats on the market today (Compact Flash types I/II, IBM Microdrive, SD, MultiMedia, SmartMedia, Sony Memory Stick/Duo/Pro, and xD PictureCard). Wow in short. Better still the 4.6cm colour display that adorns the top of the printer allows you to view the files on the media card before you print.

Cased in a gun-metal plastic case, the printer also allows you to zoom into images, or print four images on one sheet. But the real benefit here is that this is a product available to everyone with a digital camera rather than being proprietary. This is a great change to the majority of printers that are dedicated to a manufacturer's digital camera.

Setup was simple and because of the screen and memory card reader (which even doubles up as a removable drive) you don't actually need the PC or Mac in the picture to print your images. While the Photosmart hasn't gone as far as Canon's portable printer and provided a battery pack they have realised the portability of the unit. Optional extras include a dedicated bag to carry everything in and a car-charging unit so you can print pics when you are out and about on the road.

Print quality and speed was very good with HP providing a colour cartridge in the box as well as offering a dedicated black and grey cartridge for black and white printing. The latter of the two cartridges is fantastic for producing said pictures purely because you don't suffer from the usual problems of printing a four colour black (ie green tones).

Verdict

Without a doubt this machine is a stroke of genius. Genius in that finally a manufacturer has decided that creating a printer solely for its own camera ranges isn’t the best way to corner the market. Whether you’re an Olympus user, Canon or Kodak - this machine will appeal. Yes there is the limitation of the paper size, but then this is for the snappy snaps and for that reason alone is a must have product for the digital camera enthusiast.