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HP Photosmart A646 Compact Photo Printer

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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HP Photosmart A646
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The Bottom Line

The HP Photosmart A646 photo printer is a handy, compact printer that is easy to set up to print from Bluetooth. Its large touchscreen makes viewing and printing pictures easy, and it takes advantage of that large touchscreen by offering editing and effects for photos. Colors were very good and printed photos looked great. Best of all, it's quite inexpensive from some online retailers.
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Pros

  • Large touch screen
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons

  • No battery
  • Single ink cartridge good for 50 prints before replacing

Description

  • Large, 3.45" touch screen
  • Borderless printing
  • Support for multiple types of memory cards
  • Bluetooth printing built in
  • 2.37 pounds
  • Compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7; and Mac OS X v10.4, v10.5, and v10.6; and Linux
  • PictBridge compatible

Guide Review - HP Photosmart A646 Compact Photo Printer

For only about a hundred dollars (direct from HP), this is a lot of photo printer. It features an enormous (3.45 inch) folding touchscreen that makes it easy to preview, edit, and add effects to photos. The printer uses a single cartridge that HP estimates will last about 50 pictures (new ink cartridges run about $24).

The photo printer can be connected directly to a PC via USB. It's also set up to print from PictBridge cameras as well as a variety of memory cards. But most convenient of all was that it was easy to set up printing directly from Bluetooth. It only took my Blackberry a few seconds to find the printer, and once it did, printing was as easy as a single click. Print times aren't spectacularly fast--you'll wait nearly two minutes for a print to come out if you send it via Bluetooth--but that's because it takes a long time for the image to actually send. Printing a photo direct from a smart card took about 1:22.

There are a variety of photo fixes and effects available, easy to see and apply since the touchscreen is so big. The colors were clear and sharp and photos, and the effects were fun to play with. Unfortunately there's no battery available for this printer as there is with the Canon Selphy CP790 (of course, the Selphy's Bluetooth feature is an option, not a given), though it does come with a handy storage / carrying case. And the touchscreen (and included stylus) makes it easier to use than most other portable printers. Finally, as long as it remains around $100, it'll be a best buy, certainly outshining other photo printers in that price range.

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Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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