HP Photosmart 8450The $299 HP Photosmart 8450 Photo Printer is designed for photo enthusiasts who want a professional-grade printer for producing high quality, long lasting digital photo prints. The Photosmart 8450 features eight-color ink with up to 4800-optimized dots per inch (dpi) resolution for impressive color accuracy, precise image detail and stunning black and white photos. Users can produce photos with the Photosmart 8450 connected to a PC (Windows 98, Me, 2000, XP) or Mac (OS 9+, OS X) computer's USB 2.0 port with the supplied HP Image Zone software or any popular photo editing or viewing software. You can print photos directly from most digital camera flash memory cards or Microdrives using the printer's four, onboard memory card slots. Images are previewed, selected and/or edited before printing with the high resolution 2.5-inch color LCD. You can print directly from any PictBridge-enabled camera - using the camera's USB download cable and the 8450's front- mounted USB port. The Photosmart 8450 is network-ready out of the box and can be connected directly to any Ethernet LAN switch, hub or router and shared with other users. With the optional HP bt300 Bluetooth Printing Adapter you can print wirelessly from Bluetooth-enabled camera phones, PDAs, laptops or other Bluetooth-equipped devices. The Photosmart 8450 can produce a borderless 4x6" color print in as little as 27 seconds. It can print borderless up to 8.5 x 11" letter-size prints and panoramas using the new 4 x 12" Panorama Photo Paper. 4 x 6-inch photos can be printed easily at any time without the need to remove the 8.5 x 11-inch paper thanks to its dedicated 4 x 6-inch photo paper tray which holds up to 20 sheets.
The Photosmart 8450 uses three different ink cartridges featuring HP Vivera inks - the HP97 (or the HP95) Tri-color, the HP99 Photo Inkjet and the HP100 Gray Photo Inkjet. If you're going to use the printer for ordinary text printing, the HP100 cartridge can be swapped out for the optional HP94 or HP96 Black Inkjet cartridge. Inside the top of the printer is a special place to hold the extra cartridge when it's not in use. HP inkjet cartridges contain both the ink and printhead so each time you change out a cartridge you are also getting a new printhead. The HP Vivera inks are specially formulated to produce brilliant "true to life" colors and provide exceptional fade resistance when printed on HP Premium Plus Photo papers.
Unlike most inkjet printers you'll find an Ethernet network jack on the back of the Photosmart 8450 printer. Simply plug it into your network switch or router and it's accessible by any of your PCs on the local network. Network users also have access to the memory card slots and can share photo collections via HP Instant Share software. Connection to non-networked computers is via a USB 2.0 port. There's also a front USB 1.1 port for connecting an optional HP bt300 Bluetooth Wireless Printing Adapter or for direct printing from any PictBridge-compatible camera (see farther down this page for more info about PictBridge.) Printer power is supplied by an external power adapter (brick) with a detachable AC power cord.
The printer has four built-in flash memory card slots on the front. There is a dedicated slot for CompactFlash Type I or II cards including IBM Microdrive, a slot for SecureDigital and MultiMediaCard, a slot for SmartMedia and xD-Picture cards and a slot for Memory Stick (and Memory Stick Duo, Magic Gate and Memory Stick Pro) cards. Only one card can be inserted at a time, you will receive a warning if you attempt to insert more than one card. After inserting a memory card, the color LCD will say "reading card..." and then display the number of photos and videos that it has found. Then the first picture is shown so you can edit it or print it. You can scroll through your pictures by using the 4-way controller (just like on your digicam) or you can print a HP Photo Proof Sheet (index sheet.) You can even view a video and select a "freeze frame" to print.
Buttons on the front panel make it easy to select, print, save and share photos. Use the buttons to scroll through photos on a memory card and navigate the printer menu. Select the photo(s) that you want to print, the number of copies, the desired paper size and then press PRINT. You can use the Tools to manually adjust brightness (7 levels,) select cropping (standard or full image,) borderless (on, off), remove red-eye or choose a color option (color, black & white, sepia or antique.) The Tools menu also lets you clean the print cartridges, select paper settings, page layout, menu language and regional settings. The large 2.5-inch color LCD can be tilted up or down to adjust for your viewing angle. This display is larger than that on most digital cameras, it is a very high resolution monitor with excellent color rendition and contrast.
Many digital cameras made after late 2003 now feature PictBridge direct-USB printing.
You connect the camera to the printer's front USB port using the regular download
cable and select the photos on the camera's LCD screen with its special print menu.
The memory card slots can also be used like a high-speed card reader when the printer is connected to a computer's USB 2.0 port. The memory card appears as a removable drive in the "My Computer" folder of a Windows XP machine. You can easily copy, move or delete files on "Drive K:" using Windows Explorer or any file management program.
You'll find two new tray icons on your task bar. One looks like a memory card and turns green when a card is inserted in one of the four card slots. Right-clicking on it brings up the menu as shown above. The icon to the right gives you access to the 8450's printer driver. See the section "Print from Computer" on the next page for the driver features and options.
With Windows XP or Me you will get one of these "popups" on your computer screen (if the
printer is connected via USB) whenever a card is inserted. You can select an automatic
action such as unload pictures using HP Image Unload Software or Open folder to view or
copy the image files.
One of the features of the Photosmart 8450 is a special photo paper tray for holding up to 20 sheets of 4 x 6-inch photo paper. You do not have to remove the regular 8.5 x 11-inch paper from the lower tray before printing a 4 x 6-inch photo. Simply push the photo tray slider lever forward until it stops, the printer will automatically feed the 4 x 6-inch photo paper into the printer instead of the letter size paper. If the photo tray runs out of paper the printer -will- feed paper from the regular tray without warning you, so you need to keep an eye on the amount of paper if printing more than one picture.