The New Hewlett Packard Photo Printer
It has been some time since Hewlett-packard first introduced the PhotoSmart printer, so this new generation of HP photo quality ink jet printers is quite distinct. There are essentially two different yet similar models: those that continue the PhotoSmart model name, the P1100 and P1000 which are intended for use with Windows 95, 98, and NT and the HP Deskjet 970Cse Professional Series which also supports use with the Macintosh platform in addition to Windows. The two basic models are similar in appearance, which is quite distinct from the original PhotoSmart printer, with a slick, compact molded plastic outer shell. the print engine and performance of both models are the same, which also differs in philosophy and intent from the original Photo-Smart concept. These new HP ink jet printers are photo capable, but not exclusively so, and use a four color ink supply system as well as HP's new, enhanced color layering technology called PhotoREt III. These new model HP ink jets are designed to provide fast, high quality color printing on plain paper, as well as coated ink jet paper, and realistic photo quality on HP's new Premium Plus Glossy and Matte photo papers.
The difference between the Photo-Smart printers and the DeskJet 970Cse, besides the 970 supports the Macintosh platform, is the former can be used to print photos from a digital camera read directly from a SmartMedia or Com-pactFlash image storage card inserted in slots in the printer, and without the need for a computer. All the controls for printing photos are on the front of the printer with an LCD panel read-out to choose options. In addition, the P1100 model is slightly faster than the P1000 and features automatic two-sided printing. It is also network capable with an optional HP JetDirect print server. The PhotoSmart P1100 and DeskJet 970Cse share 12ppm black, and 10ppm color print speeds. Both offer 2400x1200dpi photo mode printing using HP Premium and Premium Plus photo papers, the latter of which has been specially developed to provide photo-like results with these new printers' improved technology. All of these new models also benefit from HP's new print technology in reproducing more effective color on all media including plain paper. The HP DeskJet 970Cse is expected to sell for $399 and the PhotoSmart P1100 for S499.
Printing With The New HP Photo Ink Jet. For the purposes of test and evaluation, I requested the HP DeskJet 970Cse so I could use it with my Windows 98 PC and my Mac G3. And because these new models are intended as much for general color and black and white printing as well as photo printing, I used the 970 for all kinds of printing, like pages from the web, letters and envelopes, thumbnail pages for my locator book for my CD collection of image files, and printing proofs and finished prints from scans. Installation of the printer whether you are using a USB or on a PC parallel connection is distinct, as it is between installation between Windows and Macintosh platforms. On both platforms the printer driver is quite easy to use and select orientation, paper type, print quality, or make adjustments in three dimensions of print quality: light/dark, saturation, and ink intensity. These adjustments are particularly useful allowing effective adjustment for printing on specialty papers not offered by HP.
The printer was fast and efficient
using the USB connection on the Mac and Windows. However, on the Mac the
print driver would only function when set to print in the background,
while on Windows 98 it was just the opposite, I had to set it to print
in the foreground. I think this was more a USB problem involving conflicts
with other USB devices and drivers on both systems rather than anything
inherent to the 970 printer. Another feature that I appreciated very much
is this printer's quiet operation--a vast improvement over the previous
PhotoSmart printer, which I thought was noisy in part because of its all-metal
construction. The 970 handles all of the photo papers I used with it,
including plain paper, very well. But even though the 970 prints with
unusually good quality on HP's Premium Inkjet paper, its thinner,
lighter weight seemed to cause an occasional paper jam.
Evaluation And Recommendation.
HP's target market for these new photoSmart and 970 Deskjet printers
from a photographic digital darkroom perspective is a bit puzzling. That
is unless HP expects the printer to sell mostly to people who have only
an occasional interest in printing photographic images. This makes sense
considering it is a four color rather than a six color ink printer, even
though HP claims their new layering technology matches six color ink output.
But that too is a bit puzzling because HP made a point of comparing these
new photoSmart and 970 Deskjet models to Epson's 900 Stylus Color
printer which Epson clearly classes as a business rather than a photo
Drop-on-demand thermal ink jet printing