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Imaging Devices

HP Photosmart 7520 e-All-In-On Printer – So Much Potential *Sniffle*

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Sitting proudly at the top of HP’s popular Photosmart range, the 7520 e-All-in-One is a wireless multifunction device for home photo printing, and is AirPrint compatible for printing from your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch from the comfort of your sofa, as well as from your Mac via USB or Wi-Fi.

And its talents don’t end there: the 7520 is packed with useful extra features, including a 25-page automatic document feeder (ADF) and even a fax modem, in case you urgently need to get in touch with the 1980s. All of this should make it an all-rounder capable of taking on a range of office duties.

HP Photosmart 7520 e-All-In-One

HP Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One

The e-All-in-One is quite big and boxy for a printer you’d want on display in your house, with a tilting touchscreen control panel that looks like someone has stuck an Android phablet on the front of the case. But we were won over by the brilliant touchscreen interface. The 4.3in screen is surrounded by context sensitive function buttons displaying clear and feature rich menus. It’s generally quick to respond to taps and swipes, although we found it helped to briefly tap-hold selections to be sure the input had registered. This huge screen is put to good use, offering natty features such as a document preview during copy operations.

Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One is packed with useful extra features, including a 25-page automatic document feeder (ADF) and even a fax modem, in case you urgently need to get in touch with the 1980s

Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One is packed with useful extra features, including a 25-page automatic document feeder (ADF) and even a fax modem, in case you urgently need to get in touch with the 1980s

The Photosmart 7520 uses the increasingly popular five-ink setup, which includes a pigment black for text printing on plain paper, and dye-based black, cyan, magenta and yellow inks for photos. Unlike some other systems, HP’s photo black inks are only used during photo prints, which meant we couldn’t include it in our running cost calculations. Excluding this factor, a page of mixed text and graphics should cost just under 7p, which is quite reasonable. HP’s figures suggest that the photo cartridge will last for an average of 290 6 x 4in photos, which works out at roughly 4p per photo for this cartridge alone.

The huge screen provides features such as a document preview during copying operations

Typically for an HP, the Photosmart 7520 produced good-quality results on plain paper, delivering crisp black text at a rapid 12.5ppm and nearly reaching 19ppm at Draft quality. Color speeds were less impressive, but eth results were good. You’d hope a photo-orientated printer would also excel on glossy paper, but the 7520 was disappointing in a couple of ways. At its highest resolution setting, available only through the driver’s unfriendly advanced settings, it was a touch slow, and the results looked in places as though they’d been auto-sharpened too much. More seriously, you can only select borderless prints in the advanced menu, and even then our prints on HP’s own paper had narrow borders along two edges.

On tap: HP’s touch-screen interface is more than a gimmick – it’s a surprisingly great way to operate a printer

On tap: HP’s touch-screen interface is more than a gimmick – it’s a surprisingly great way to operate a printer

Even though this all-in-one inkjet’s scan interface contains a couple more options than usual, it’s still over-simplified, particularly for the type of creating user who might be attracted to a photo product. There are no automatic crops or levels, and despite the presence of an ‘Optimize for image quality’ tick box, all our scans looked over-sharpened and artificial. We were also perplexed that the Scan Size box defaulted to US Letter paper rather than A4.

It’s difficult to avoid the impression that this is a high-quality all-in-one that’s been let down by simplistic drivers and over-zealous scan sharpening that can’t be deselected. That really is a shame, because the Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One is otherwise a rather impressive device.

HP Photosmart 7250 Specs

§  Info: www.hp.com

§  Needs: OS X 10.6 or later

§  Pro: Excellent touchscreen interface – Loads of features

§  Con: Simplistic drivers – Disappointing photo prints – too much scan sharpening

§  Best value: $189

§  Verdict: 3/5

 

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