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Old 08-28-2011, 06:11 AM
2,186 posts, read 7,868,923 times


HP Photosmart B8550 Printer

Rating: 4 out of 5
  • Currently 4.0/5.0

I purchased this printer primarily for photo printing in a combination of work and personal tasks. I wanted good quality photos on photo paper, and this printer creates photographs remarkably well for an inkjet.

I was very pleased that the B8550 played nicely with my Windows Vista operating system, and setup was relatively painless thanks to an automated installation procedure. The USB cable wasn't included, however, and since I didn't notice this until I got home, it required an annoying return trip to the store. Otherwise, it was simply a matter of plugging the printer in and letting it work.

It prints on a variety of paper sizes, from 3" x 5" up to 13" x 9" paper. Paper feeds through smoothly and with almost no curling. It does take five minutes or more print larger prints or multiple prints on one page, which is frustrating when I'm in a hurry. However, the quality is great so it's usually worth the wait.

This printer will also print directly from a USB stick or an SD card, which is incredibly convenient when I just need to print a photo or two. I can just pop the SD card out of my camera and plug it into the printer, bypassing the computer altogether. There is an LED display and a built-in print wizard that helps you choose the print size, effects, which photos you want to print, etc. I print directly from the card much more often than I print from my computer.

The most inconvenient aspect of owning this printer is the ink cartridges. The machine requires five cartridges to operate: two blacks, cyan, magenta, and yellow. If any one of these cartridges runs out of ink, the printer will not print until it is replaced. Each cartridge is about $10, so it can get very expensive to replace the cartridges during high-volume periods.

There is also a little pop-up box that appears when you print from the computer to this printer. It doesn't go away until you manually close it, which can be irritating when I'm multitasking. If it has to pop-up at all, it would be helpful if it closed by itself.

The printer also prints text somewhat poorly, which is excusable because text printing isn't really why I purchased the printer. That said, while the packaging indicates that it can be used as a home printer, I use a different printer to get better print quality on text.

For the price tag of $299, this printer creates excellent photos and is easy to use.

Review by professional reviewer, Aug. 25, 2011
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