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Product Review: HP Photosmart A646

- December 21st, 2009

HP A646 Photo Printer

It’s not every day photos are developed anymore. With online albums and digital picture frames, the need for an actual photo has greatly decreased.

However, every once in a while, there is a great picture that is taken that absolutely must be printed and put in a frame. But instead of bringing a USB key or a memory card to the photo shop, it would be much more convenient if photos could simply be developed in the comfort of one’s own home.

This is where the HP Photosmart A646 Compact Photo Printer comes in. The latest ink cartridge photo printer from HP promises “lab-quality photos” anywhere, anytime.

The printer, which retails at $179.99 is priced reasonably for a reason. As one of the more environmentally friendly pieces of technology on the market today, the A646 is made from 32 per cent recycled plastic, and the tote that it comes with is made from recycled bottles. The printer is also EnergyStar approved and even the printing cartridge can be sent back for recycling – a great feature for the more environmentally conscious person.

The A464 accepts photo files from a USB key, a memory card and even a from a Bluetooth device. Instructions for using the printer weren’t even needed as it was as simple as plugging the memory card into the printer and choosing what photos needed to be printed.

The printer’s touchscreen is also a neat feature to have, and proves to be very useful when it comes to editing the photos. The A646 allows the user to make changes the portrait before being printed. The user can remove red eyes and blemishes, and even doodle on the photo. What’s great about the touchscreen photo was the response time between the stylus and the screen is remarkably fast.

Before sending the photo to print, the user is also able to manipulate the photo in any way. From changing the colour to black and white, to adding a photo of a snowman or a frame to a photo, the A646 has a wide variety of clip art, frames, and greetings to change an ordinary photo to a thank you card, a wedding invitation, or just a photo with a fun frame.

The quality of the photo that’s printed depends on the camera or quality of the photo, a photo that was printed with a digital SLR came out much more clear than a photo that was taken with a lower megapixel camera, a camera phone, or even a photo that was taken on a rainy day or in the dark. The A646 is also able to print 99 of the same photo at a time, which is great when it comes to printing greeting cards or group photos.

A few issues with the printer came up when it was time to load the paper. For one thing, the printer can be very fussy when it comes to putting the paper in the tray. If it’s off even just a little, the printer will not print the photo, and the user will have to deal with resetting the device to get rid of the paper jam. Secondly, because this is an issue, it’s not recommended that the user leave the printer alone to print 99 photos as a jam may occur.

In terms of economic advantages, a printing cartridge can cost anywhere from $24 – $50 and can print up to 140 photos. The package of 20 blank photo sheets cost from $10 to $15. For someone who plans on using the photo printer frequently, it can become costly.

All in all the HP A646 is a convenient product to have. It’s easy to use and comes at a very affordable price.

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2 comments

  1. deanne | January 10, 2010 at 7:48 am

    I’ve bought the a646 but I can’t find the clip art, any help will be welcome!

    Many thanks,
    Deanne

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