Mobile phone cameras are not only here to stay but also growing fast in numbers. Seeing this as either a threat or an opportunity for new market growth, printer manufacturers are jumping at the chance that you might just want to print images that you’ve taken on your phone. HP’s answer is the Photosmart 375.
On the surface, the printer comes across as another Photosmart 245. Noticeable differences are the inclusion of a tilt-capable screen for viewing images and a Bluetooth adapter included in the box. The Bluetooth adapter is where the mobile phone element comes in. Annoyingly, rather than actually building the Bluetooth into the model it’s supplied as a USB stick that simply sticks out the front of the USB slot designed for PictBridge support. Having put so much effort into the style of the unit it’s a shame this final design element comes across as an afterthought.
Bluetooth aside, the printer features support for all the current digital camera memory cards available on the market: Compact Flash Type I or II, Microdrive, SmartMedia, Secure Digital / MMC, Memory Stick/MS Pro/MS Duo (with adapter) or xD-Picture Card. This is a great addition and means that you don’t need to connect the printer to a PC to get results. Images can be viewed on the formentioned LCD screen. Whilst its clarity isn’t the greatest in the world, it is colour will suffice for previewing the image to print.
Menu systems and other functions are all controlled using a selection of buttons on the top of the printer. We felt that these were a little chunky for our liking. However basic cropping is available and the process, from inserting your memory card and actually having a print in your hand, is very simple.
Because of the portability of the device - like the 245 it’s toaster-shaped - you are limited to 6in x 4in prints from the printer. The printer can hold a maximum of 20 photo sheets at a time and you can easily set the printer to print this many in one hit so you can go away and do something more important.
To get you started HP includes a pack of paper in the box. We’d rate print quality as very good. HP’s literature states that 60 seconds later the results will come out - in our test it was more 90 however - but either way, the ink had dried and was tough enough to take a good beating. Our test involved scratching with fingernails, keys and even giving it to the dog for dessert, and so far the results have come out unscathed.
Picture quality is obviously dependent on the camera you’ve used. Again, in our tests (using images taken shot with the Exilim EX-S100 and Canon G5 and in both cases) - results were very good.
Like HP's PhotoSmart 245, the 375's limitations are obvious. It will only print borderless at 6in x 4in, but if that's all you want, then the results are, in our minds, as good as a professional lab. What's more, HP actually offers an optional battery for this model so you can take it with you on your travels.
Is the 375 is an improvement over the Photosmart 245? Sadly not. If you're upgrading then we suggest saving your money. The addition of a tiltable LCD screen and a Bluetooth dongle aren't worth the extra £50 in our minds, however if you've yet to purchase either, it make sense to go for this model and get those extra features.