Photosmart 475

Photosmart 475

Small printer. Big image quality.

 

The Photosmart 475 Compact Photo Printer - HP also calls it the GoGo Photo Printer - can go-go just about anywhere. It's hard to believe this mini-boom-box look-alike, weighing only 3.3 pounds and smaller than a box of Kleenex, can churn out photo-finish-quality prints up to 5 by 7 inches, something most other portable photo printers can't do - but it can.

 

The Photosmart 475 prints JPEG and TIFF files directly from most popular memory cards (including CompactFlash, Memory Stick, Secure Digital MultiMediaCard, xD-Picture Card, and more), from any PictBridge-enabled digital camera (that's most of them these days), and even from your iPod - and, of course, your Mac. The printer displays big, clear images on its 2.5-inch LCD and can print bordered or borderless 4-by-6-inch, 5-by-7-inch, and 4-by-12-inch panoramic prints, as well as other esoteric photo sizes, such as 3.9-by-5.8-inch Japanese Hagaki (post) cards. It'll also grab and output frames from video clips.

 

With 1.5GB of internal memory, it's easy to transfer and then delete images from your memory cards, freeing the cards for more pictures. It took well over four minutes to transfer 102.7MB - not very speedy, but that was offset by being able to visually verify that our images had transferred before we erased our cards. We also liked plugging the printer into the video input of a big TV screen and viewing our photos as a slide show - when the Photosmart 475 is connected to a TV, you can use the included IR remote to control the slide show, as well as print pictures.

 

Several optional accessories expand the 475's portability. A rechargeable battery ($79) puts out enough juice for about 75 4-by-6-inch prints, a car battery adapter ($39) lets you take to the road, and a Bluetooth adapter ($59) allows wireless printing from camera phones, PDAs, and other devices - the Bluetooth option won't work when the printer's tethered to your Mac, however.

 

We gave the Photosmart 475 a printing workout. Large image files took some time to appear on the printer's LCD; for example, five-megapixel images took a lengthy seven seconds each to come up on the LCD. Smaller images files didn't take as long; 1MB photos, for example, took about three seconds to appear.

 

It took about two minutes to print a 4-by-6-inch photo at the printer's Best setting, and 85 seconds at Normal. We didn't find a noticeable difference in quality between the two settings, but the Photosmart 475 defaults to Best and had to be tediously reset to Normal by diving through menus each time - a real pain. It took two minutes and 33 seconds to print a 5-by-7-inch photo at Best and one minute, 43 seconds at Normal.

 

The Photosmart 475 uses a tricolor ink cartridge; HP claims images will last 82 years under glass before beginning to fade. There's no black ink cartridge - dark tones are produced by blending the three colors, resulting in more ink being used and longer drying times. Prints on Premium Photo Glossy paper (which provides stunning image quality) needed several hours to cure, and we had to gingerly handle them by the edges to prevent smearing. After the photos are dry, however, they aren't water resistant. HP has a cheaper, quick-drying, waterproof paper that we also tried - it reproduced muddy shadow details and lacked the brilliance of Premium Photo Glossy paper.

 

The printer has many menu options- sharpening, brightening, red-eye removal, black-and-white printing (with a special cartridge), printing multiple images per page, decorative frames, picture zooming and rotation, border options, image storage using keywords, and more.

 

The bottom line. Though it has room for improvement, the Photosmart 475 is lightweight, extremely compact, virtually silent, and as versatile as they come.

 

COMPANY: HP
CONTACT: 888-999-4747, www.hp.com
PRICE: $249
REQUIREMENTS: USB, Mac OS 10.1.5 or later
Excellent image quality. Prints 5-by-7-inch photos. Internal image storage. TV interface. Prints direct from popular memory cards, cameras, iPods.
Premium prints not water resistant. Slow image-to-image viewing. Printing sluggish at Best setting. Images hard to see on LCD when viewed nine-up.

 

 

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