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on October 3, 2009
I did a ton of research and finally decided to go with this unit despite no reviews at the time. Installation was a breeze (using Mac OS X) except for one part where it asks you to set up a print queue. After doing so, it didn't recognize it after multiple attempts. I finally decided to click past that step and it worked fine anyway.

We printed about a dozen photos over the first three days. On day 4, the printer booted up and slammed the print cartridge hard to the left, then came up with a "Carriage Jam" error. The nice thing about the touch screen is that it also visually walks you through pictures of the areas that you need to check for paper jams, etc.. Alas, after going through every trouble shooting step provided, it didn't solve the problem.

We returned it to Amazon (Very hassle free I might add--can't fault them a bit) and decided to try a second one since we did like the features. I was glad to see that Amazon ships you another even before you return the defective one. So far this one is working fine although it's only been a couple of days.

Our last HP was probably 4 years old. I have to say the print speed on this one is amazingly fast by comparison. I'm impressed it can print a 4x6 photo as fast as it does. Copy and scan work well too, although I've found I have to initiate scanning from the Mac. Didn't seem to work if I tried to use the touchscreen to scan. I was pleased how easy they make choosing options with scanning. You can scan a document straight to PDF, JPEG, TIFF, Memory Card, USB drive, OCR...

Overall, it does seem as though this printer is very well made. It's also great having a tray for both paper and 4x6 photos. Unlike so many printer reviews, it doesn't appear as though this printer is burning through much ink at all.

Although I would definitely recommend it, I can't give it 5 stars due to the issues mentioned above.
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VINE VOICEon November 2, 2009
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Take a look at the customer images showing the print output from this HP all-in-one!

Quick summary: I like this HP PhotoSmart all-in-one! Setup was very smooth (except for HP's bloatware causing my browser to not work), the photographic output was good for a 4-ink system, scans were bright and crisp, and using this HP all-in-one was very easy to do using the brightly lit touch screen. Highly recommended!

*** UPDATE as of May 5, 2011. My printer died. I'm getting an ink system failure and/or print head error that can't be resolved by just reinserting the ink cartridges (HP branded) or removing the print head to clean it. It's a hardware failure beyond a consumer's ability to fix. I just downgraded my original 5-star rating to 4-stars because a printer that printed fewer than 5000 sheets of paper shouldn't fail this early. I'll still buy another HP replacement all-in-one, though, because for as long as I've owned it, it's been a pretty sweet little machine. ****

I just finished writing a review for a competing product, the Epson Artisan 710 Color Inkjet All-In-One Printer (C11CA53201). After using that all-in-one for over a week, it didn't take long for me to realize how much more I prefer this HP all-in-one. Although the feature set for both are very similar, the HP is much more intuitive to use. Read on to learn more.

*** INSTALLATION:

Unpacking the HP was easy to do. I was very pleased that it came with a package of 100 4x6 sheets of photo paper, so I could immediately begin printing some favorite family shots. Shame on other vendors (think: Epson) who include only a "sample" of a few sheets of photo paper! This model uses a 4-ink system (1 black, 3 color) but the package includes an extra, high capacity black ink cartridge, too, for everyday printing. Nice!

I use my home network to connect to this HP. The HP PhotoSmart C309 easily recognized my discoverable network, and it was very easy to use the touch screen to enter the 26-character key I have for my network. Once entered, the printer was given an IP address by the router and it was ready to work after I installed the drivers on my computer.

I really like how easy it was to insert paper into the front-loading tray. Just raise up a lid, insert paper, put lid back down (for both general-use 8x11 paper and also for inserting 4x6 photo paper). Later, I did experience a problem where the HP couldn't properly load the 4x6 paper into the printing mechanism. Hopefully that's an anomaly.

Installing the HP drivers was a breeze to do on my laptop. It includes out-of-box support for Windows 7 on the enclosed CD-ROM disc (no searching HP's website for Windows 7 drivers!). HOWEVER, by just quickly clicking through the installation windows, I inadvertently loaded seven other HP programs beyond the required drivers to support printing and scanning. Among these were the HP Solutions Center, a program to help re-ordering HP supplies, a Customer Feedback program, HP Print Projects, and a customized Yahoo! toolbar for Internet Explorer. I was thumping myself for not paying attention to the installation process that loaded all this crapware on my computer. Very soon later, I really regretted it because after it was all loaded, my Internet Explorer wouldn't work (even after rebooting my computer). I tried uninstalling the Yahoo! toolbar, and still IE8 wouldn't work. Finally, I used Windows 7's restore feature to return to the last restore point before I loaded the HP drivers and programs, and that removed whatever was causing IE to not work.

From that experience, I paid much closer attention to the 2nd attempt at installing the drivers. HP doesn't make it obvious how to customize the install -- you must look closely for a link on the window that asks you to accept the EULA -- but you *can* deselect all the bloatware and install just 2 programs (the printer and scanner drivers), which is all you really need. After those two programs were installed, the HP C309 was fully functional on my WiFi home network -- and IE was working, too!

I got a new LG Env3 with Bluetooth, so I tried printing a photo taken with my phone using Bluetooth. Setting up Bluetooth was easy! What I learned from the experience is that you must FIRST set the HP to look for Bluetooth devices, THEN place your phone in discovery mode. Once my LG Env3 was paired with this HP, it was easy to print 4x6 photos. And they looked terrific for a camera phone!

*** USABILTY AND PERFORMANCE:

Using the HP was a joy to do. The photographs I printed were very, very good-looking, but depending on the photo, they were sometimes inferior to the six-color print output from the Epson Artisan 710. The Epson's photos have very deep, rich colors and vibrancy, while the photos from this HP were sometimes not so rich in color depth, and not as vibrant. I found that it depends on the photo whether the differences were apparent or not. In some photos (lots of sunlit trees and grass), the differences were very slight. When I printed a studio portrait of my in-laws, the result from this HP unit was as good as my other 6-color printer. In other photos (for example, photos with a deep blue sky), the differences were more apparent (see the customer images I loaded showing this difference). Camera flash-lit faces look a little yellowish coming from this printer. Grass and trees have more yellow in them than what I'd expect, too. If you're wondering whether a six-color printer can really print better than a 4-color printer, the answer is, **YES**, it can...but *not* always! So if you want to print the absolute best photos possible -- all the time -- look to a different all-in-one than this HP PhotoSmart C309. If you're not *that* excruciatingly picky, then this HP will do a very, very good job (especially if you're not contrasting photos printed from this HP with photos printed on another, 6-color machine).

I used the "Copy" function to see how well the HP could duplicate a photograph. Ideally, if you place a photo on the flatbed scanner and press Copy, the copied photo would be indistinguishable from the original, right? Well, there was a definite difference between the copy and the original. The copy was auto-cropped so it lost about a quarter-inch off the border of the original photograph. The colors on the copy were less vivid, too, although the copy was more faithfully reproduced on this HP C309 than what the Epson Artisan 710 could achieve.

Scans taken with this HP were very bright and vivid -- more so than what the Epson Artisan 710 could achieve. The background white on my daughter's drawing was a very bright white, and her ink colors were rendered brightly and sharply on the scanned image. (Keep in mind, I'm using all default, automatic settings -- I could achieve better results if I tried customizing the scan settings). One thing: some of the faint black lines on my daughter's drawing weren't picked up properly on the scanned image. In all, I liked how the automatic scanned image looked. Another perk: The software creates a folder under My Pictures on your computer, and stores the scanned image inside that folder (rather than just adding it to My Pictures alone).

I haven't used the HP long enough to speak to matters pertaining to ink usage. Once I get more experience, I'll re-edit this review to include those details.

SUMMARY:

The HP PhotoSmart C309 is a terrific multifunction choice. If you demand the very best in photographic output, look to a different model that uses a 6-ink system. If good-looking photos is "good enough" for you, then be assured that this printer will print good looking photos. The touchscreen interface was easy and intuitive to use, and loading paper into the front-side slot was no-hassle at all. Aside from HP's bloatware during the software installation process (which you now know how to avoid after reading this review), I like everything about this HP model. Highly recommended!

*** NOVEMBER 16, 2009 UPDATE

I just ordered 2 replacement color ink cartridges for this printer. After printing 21 4x6 photos and maybe three dozen sheets of everyday 8x11 (mostly black text and a little color), the yellow and cyan ink cartridges dipped into the "replace me" levels. The magenta and photo black inks are about one-half spent.

Taking the advice of another reviewer, I opted to order 3 "XL" cartridges for quite a lot more than a regular 3-pack of the color cartridges. I don't know whether the value equation will be favorable or not, but I'm hoping that the cost to print 4x6 photos will go a little lower than what it is currently (which by my calculations, each 4x6 photo costs about 50 to 75 cents to print).
review image review image
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I had a not very old Epson Photo printer, the RX580, and was happy with it. However, it did not last long at all. While I may go a month or two without printing, I certainly don't expect the printer to become inoperable during downtime...
I purchased a new Mac to replace my tablet PC in July, so a few days ago for the first time I tried to hook my mac up to it, and I could not get anything to print well. After some troubleshooting and testing from other platforms, I realized that there was something wrong with the unit physically, and tossed it in the garbage and looked for a printer at a local brick and mortar.
I was half sold on getting one of the Canon all in one units, based on some favorable remarks in some of the apple forums, but the local store by me only had one model of Canon, a lesser one than I wanted, so I looked at the rest of the available printers, and narrowed it down to this HP and another HP, one step below this. The kicker for me was the bluetooth in this one, which was worth the extra $40 for me, since I run an 802.11n only network at home, and had assumed the wireless on this unit was just 802.11 b/g like most. Happily, I was mistaken.
Got it home, unboxed, and like the other reviewer said, this is a nicely sturdy, well built, solid home printer.
As usual, I downloaded the most current version of the software and driver rather than relying on the CD to be current, and indeed the CD had been superceded. The download and install went fine, so when it started nagging me about where the printer was, I hopped into the printer and set up the wireless just to see, since it actually saw my 802.11n network. Sure enough, entered my encryption key, and there it was. And instantly my mac found it, and the install completed.
One thing to note, the little paper manual that came with it didn't seem to have anything in there regarding setting up the unit, so I'm going to assume detailed instructions are probably on the CD in PDF or TXT files somewhere. But I was able to get the wireless going without any documentation, the touch screen is very well designed and extremely simple to follow. The flow for printing or setup is well thought out.
So I did some printing, both of 4x6 as well as some 8 1/2 x 11 photos, and they turned out just excellent. Superb, better than I had hoped for, and certainly faster than I had expected.
I will also add that the printer loves to do the samba, especially the 8 or 9 minute "first run" it does the very first time you power it on. But it gives the status right on the LCD, and a timer counting down so you know how long it will be. I'm assuming the wiggles after printing are probably cleaning off the heads and parking them to seal them again between print jobs.
I haven't tried the duplexer yet, but as the other reviewers mentioned, scanning is just as simple and as high quality as the printing.

After I knew it worked and was happy with it, I hopped back into the on screen menu and checked the bluetooth settings, then added it via bluetooth to my mac, and a minute later, was printing via bluetooth.

One surprise was that it actually came with a USB cable for those who will use one - something I'm not used to seeing bundled with printers.

Another nice feature for me is the front paper load - after the Epson I just tossed, it's nice to be able to get at the paper right in the front, rather than feeding from the top in the back. Makes it easier on my shelf in the computer armoire, i don't have to roll it out and play around trying to find where things fit back there out of sight.

The finish is nice. And the mac software works well, haven't booted to my Windows 7 install yet to see how it works there, but I would be surprised if I had any problems on the windows side. This is not my first HP printer, and if it performs and lasts as well as my others have, I will be more than happy with it.

I purchased mine without any review searches at all, since it was an impulse grab at the store when the one I was looking for wasn't available, but I'm glad it wasn't, as this one has a few more features and works better than I could have hoped.
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on November 9, 2009
Quality of print jobs and speed of printing are excellent. However, using the wireless interface my computer could not locate the printer and I had to reinstall the software three times to get it to work. Also, HP brags about their ink lasting longer than other manufacturers. I found that this is not true as I had to buy a new black ink cartridge after just 40 pages. Not a bad printer for low end home use, but the cost of replacement ink could make other printers a better buy.
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on October 17, 2009
Okay, so you've had a quite a few printers in your lifetime and you're wondering why you should bother buying this one. Well, let me tell you why you should:
- Newest technology there is! Touch screen menu? Are you serious?!
- Bluetooth AND Wi-fi?!?! Talk about having options!!! I am being completely honest when I say that I did not use the enclosed CD to connect my printer to my Mac!!! I didn't have to! Awwwesome!
- Auto duplex (2-sided) printing?! For those of us who are forever taking undergrad or grad/phd courses, this is a lifesaver!!! And what about those of you who have school-age children/teenagers?! Think about the amount of paper you'll save every month! I will absolutely NOT buy a printer without this option!!!
- Let's not forget how reliable HP printers are, but just to be on the safe side. I bought mine from Best Buy w/ an extended warranty.
- $9.99 ink?!?!?! Come on!!! Are you tired of spending $20+ dollars for printer ink?!?!
All in all folks, this is a great printer. A little noisy when printing, but the pros far outweigh that small con, so go ahead and get this printer! You'll love it!
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VINE VOICEon October 21, 2009
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As a fiber artist I work a lot from digital photos that I take to use as inspiration to create from so I want a printer that gives me a good quality printed photo with bright, clear, vivid colors. I like the benefit of the built in 4"x6" photo paper holder because this saves me the trouble of having to unload and reload paper depending on what I want to print. It's a smaller compact sized printer so it doesn't take up much space in my studio which for me is a bonus since I don't have a ton of room to spare for computer equipment.

Set-up was fairly easy and straightforward and the touchscreen is a nice feature when installing since it walks you through installing the print cartridges and over all set up. There are a few nice little bonus features: printing blank calendar pages (monthly or weekly), lined paper, blank checklist and graph paper which are fun and I suspect would come in handy if you've got kids in the house and need lined paper for homework etc. You can also connect directly to Snapfish to print out your photos. Can't say how well this works though, since I don't have a snapfish acount to test it with. You can also print directly from a memory card.

There's a fair amount of movement in the unit when it's printing (and when it's finished) and it's not the quietest printer I own but it does do a very nice job. It copies quickly and gives a nice clean sharp result both when copying in color and b/w. Double sided printing is a nice feature but if you're doing a double sided copy, be aware of the position you put the second (or flip side) of the page on the copy bed or you'll end up with it going in the wrong direction on the finished page.

Where this printer really shines though is when printing photographs on printer paper. The colors are clear, sharp and vivid. There's no waiting for the ink to dry so I can print several photos in a row without running to the printer to keep them from stacking up on one another and causing smudges in the prints.

Overall a terrific printer that gives a beautiful photo print!
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on June 23, 2010
What they don't tell you: Even on the fast/economical everyday setting (my default) that specifies black ink only, this printer will use the color cartridges - especially the photoblack cartridge. Yes, there are two black ink cartridges necessary and I ASSUMED the photoblack would only be used for photo printing - not so - you need it to print documents also. Bottom line - my HP 564 black ink cartridge is still full but the photoblack black cartridge is empty - again. Do not buy this printer - if you do, buy lots of cartridges while you're at the store. I consider my print volume very low - mainly internet orders and bill payments - and have had this printer for just over 1 month. I am already on my second photoblack cartridge. Very disappointed with HP...
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on October 29, 2009
HP printers have always been good experiences for me in business as well as home environments, so when it was time to replace a refurbished six year old HP all-in-one I jumped on this printer. My old HP just didn't have the dpi print quality that I wanted, and that is ALL that was wrong with it....you've got to love HP quality and endurance. The only thing that this Photosmart Premium printer doesn't have is the fax capability, but nowadays scanning and email with attachment have replaced the need for a fax in my home/business, and I gained a wonderful photo printer.

My setup experience with the Photosmart Premium printer was only inhibited by me the computer "expert". As I mentioned it's been a while since I purchased a new printer, and since that time I have done many things with my network, new desktops, new laptops, slingbox, and internet radios. Nothing.....NOTHING was as easy as connecting this printer to my secured network. I didn't expect it to be so easy, so I was over thinking the whole process. I had read where some advised not using the accompanying disk, or some had problems connecting the printer by wireless only. There isn't much documentation that accompanies the printer.....just your basic step 1, 2, 3. Short and sweet, and for a techie like me that raises so many questions :-).

My recommendation is to follow the short and sweet step by step instructions, and use the accompanying install disk, and let your VERY smart printer do its thing. My installation time would have been about 10 minutes versus the 30 minutes it took me, because I kept saying to myself "it can't be this easy".

The printer itself is awesome. I did the test print step with the test photo provided on the install disk (HP provides the photo paper in your box), and it was such a high quality print that I am now master of my own photo shop. This printer was exactly what I was looking for and more, and you can't beat the price.

Some have mentioned the printer making a lot of noise, so I was expecting a drum line, but honestly the noise made by this printer was the same or less than my old printer. As I said, it's a very smart printer, so it goes through some processing that doesn't necessarily relate to simple printing. For example, when I did the test photo step the printer went through some automatic process, because I didn't fan the photo paper before loading it and more than one photo sheet was fed for the photo print. On my parents' photo printer this would have resulted in the photo being printed on multiple photo sheets. The HP Photosmart Premium printer automatically detected the misfeed and automatically adjusted, and worked the paper until only one photo sheet was used. No waste of paper or ink, but a bit more movement and "noise" than a simple photo print.

Frankly, I'm delighted with the printer, and happy that it's smarter than me, and I really like the touchscreen capability. This is a great example of letting the technology work for you, and not the other way around. :-)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 29, 2009
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have owned my share of stand-alone and multi-function printers. I've had two Epson printers - one lasted 4 years and worked great until I gave it away, the other experienced ink clogs in all of its ink tubes and was unfixable after less than 1 year. Although this was a problem with many 2002-2005 model Epson printers due to their new ink, I swore to never buy another Espon. I wasn't too impressed with the scan quality of my model either - even though I paid over $300.00. I've also had a HP Business Jet 1200 which was an amazing workhorse. It stood up to being shipped to and from Hawaii and across the country twice. Finally after 5 years, there was an unexpected mechanical error and it had to be retired. The HP Business Jet 1200 worked amazingly well - fast and great quality. To replace the HP, I went with a Canon MX860 Multifunction because of it's high reviews and awards. This printer is extremely user friendly and has many useful "business class" features. I still have this printer and use it for my business. I also bought and installed a Canon Multifunction for my father, which he loves.

Onto the HP Photosmart Premium. The design of this printer is remarkable. I have never worked with a better, more easy to use menu system - all made better by the touch screen interface. Big icons, minimum steps to get things done, and many stand-alone printer options (such as printing calendars, music sheets, photos, online photos from SnapFish). This printer even prints from the iPod and Bluetooth phones (which I haven't tried since I don't own one of these). In addition to it's sleek design, the printer features a well-designed photo paper tray. No longer do you need to single feed photo paper or remove other paper to print photos. Other companies can learn a lot from this design.

This printer is perfect for families or the non-technical users. Simple to use, looks great, and has a small size. Perfect!

For a more demanding "business" user, this printer lacks some necessary features - such as faxing, auto-feed scanning, and two paper trays. These missing features do not at all detract from this HP printer, since the printer is not designed for business use, but instead for family use. It appears that HP put everything that the normal family member would use and take out the extraneous business features to keep the size compact and lightweight, and the cost down.

If I had to pick one printer for personal (non-business) use, it would be this HP. It is relatively compact, looks great, prints great, and is super easy to use thanks to the amazing touch screen. The touch screen truly is awesome. Looking at my past experience with HP printers, this Photosmart Premium should last for many trouble-free years. 5 stars!
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on May 15, 2010
I bought this printer in March, 2010. The copying function worked right away, but nothing else did. I spent two hours on the phone with HP tech support who made me download software for another printer, but this machine still failed to connect to my network until HP sent me the next day a line of code to be added to their software. Now I can print, although from only one of the computers on my home network while the others don't recognize this printer. Also, neither I nor HP were able to make the direct USB connection to my computer function although I would have preferred that to printing only over my network.

The printing and copying qualities are fine, and I have no comment yet on the ink consumption.

However, this machine does not let me save or transfer photos from external SD memory cards although that is what I had bought it for, and although HP's "Photosmart" designation promises that this is what their machine was designed to do.

This misleadingly advertised "All-in-One" printer-copier-scanner cannot transmit scans to my
computer either. HP have posted on their support site an alleged software patch to keep their machine from losing its scans, but after a lengthy download that new software told me that it was not compatible with the freshly installed HP software already on my computer, and that I did not need this patch. HP tech support then sent me six pages of step-by-step instructions for fixing their software, including several changes they wanted me to make in the registry. I refused to perform this risky brain surgery on my computer and asked them to rather send me software that would work without my having to spend an afternoon making up for HP's omissions and risking to cripple my computer with registry interventions, but three weeks later I am still waiting to get any answer from them.

HP's incompetence and indifference in producing software is further demonstrated by the update notifications for this "All-in-One" that they send to my computer from time to time. About half the text of these notifications is cut off, including the link where to obtain the updates and also including the "cancel" means to shut down this large and intrusive notification window.

HP is aware of this defect, but instead of fixing their defective software, they posted a workaround on their support site so that you can make that screen-hogging window close, plus instructions how to run the update software manually. Here again, HP is relying on their
customers to do the work which their own programmers should have done if they cared about the quality of their products, or about the lack of value they provide to their customers despite their advertised promises.

I have owned for many years one of HP's laser printers and one of their earlier "Photosmart" inkjet printers and was very satisfied with those machines, but this latest "Photosmart Premium" entry and its lackluster support show that the former HP commitment to quality products and functioning software has entirely disappeared and been replaced by deceptive
advertising.

Conclusion: Beware of buying this machine if you intend to use it for scanning or for saving photos to your computer, and if you don't want to have to repair HP's software and tinker with your registry.
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