HP PhotoSmart 720 Review

Steve's Digicams

Features and Controls

HP PhotoSmart 720

The PhotoSmart 720 is equipped with a 3x optical zoom lens, 7 - 21mm (equivalent to 34-102mm on 35mm camera). Its maximum aperture is f2.6 - f4.5 and the auto focus range is from 20cm to infinity in wide angle or telephoto. There is no macro mode but it does have a 1.2 to 4x digital zoom feature.

The lens extends when powered up and when powered down it is retracted back flush to the body and protected by a built-in lens cap. There are no filter threads or any other visible means of attaching anything to the lens.

HP PhotoSmart 720

The real image optical zoom viewfinder is large and bright with central focusing and closeup framing guides. It shows approximately 85% of the captured image. There is no diopter adjustment. The LED indicates focus status.

HP PhotoSmart 720

The built-in auto-adjusting flash has settings for Auto, Fill, Red-eye reduction and Off. Its coverage is about average with a maximum range of 0.5 to 3.5 m in wide angle and 0.5 to 2.0 m in telephoto.

HP PhotoSmart 720

Controls on the back include the MONitor button to the right of the 1.6-inch color LCD, it turns the display on or off. Over to the left is the speaker. Along the bottom (left to right) is the SHARE button which lets you select printing and emailing options. Under the LCD are the navigation LEFT and RIGHT buttons which also make UP and DOWN selections in menu screens. The OK button calls up the menu system, accepts selections and also switches the camera into Playback mode.

HP PhotoSmart 720

Controls on the top (left to right): Power button, monochrome data LCD, self-timer and burst mode button, image quality button, flash mode button.

Unique to any digicam (except for the PhotoSmart 620) is the Movie button which is seperate from the normal shutter release. You no longer have to go into a menu and change the exposure mode to quickly switch from still to movie capture -- kudos to HP for adding this useful feature.

HP PhotoSmart 720

The PhotoSmart 720 has 16MB of internal memory which can be easily expanded by adding any size Secure Digital memory card up to 256MB.

The internal memory can store approx. 12 "Best" or 18 "Better" 2048 x 1536 images and about 220 "Good" quality 640 x 480 images.

HP PhotoSmart 720HP PhotoSmart 720

The I/O ports are located in the side of the grip along with the SD card slot. The upper most is the USB 1.1 port is for downloading data to computer and can also be used to directly connect the camera to most HP printers. The A/V Out port (middle) carries audio and video (NTSC or PAL selectable) for connection to a TV set. The DC IN port (lower) is for the optional AC power adapter.

On the bottom of the camera is an 8-pin connector for the HP 8881 Digital Dock that carries audio, video, USB and power.

HP PhotoSmart 720

The PhotoSmart 720 is powered by four standard AA type batteries. A set of alkaline batteries are supplied but I highly recommend using high-capacity NiMH rechargeables which are more environmentally friendly and pack 3-5x the power.

HP PhotoSmart 620

The optional HP 8881 Digital Dock includes a set of NiMH batteries and charges them whenever the camera is docked. It uses the included AC adapter as the power supply so it's not relying on the camera batteries during dowloads, etc. The buttons on the dock let you quickly download images to the computer, output to a HP photo printer or display a slide show on your TV set.

HP PhotoSmart 620

The HP Digital Dock has I/O connectors for power in from the AC adapter, video out to television, USB out to printer and USB I/O to computer. It has a neat little sliding cover over the USB ports which keeps you from having both connected at the same time.

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