Friday, May 25, 2007

H-P A616 Photosmart Compact Photo Printer

Hewlett-Packard's A616 Photosmart Compact Photo Printer is several generations newer, and about half the price of the HP compact printer I've been using.

It's small enough for a suitcase, or a table at a wedding or bar mitzvah. Anyone who takes digital pictures -- even if you normally use a big printer or a store or online service for prints -- will find it useful, convenient, and fun.

This mini-darkroom weighs less than 3.5 lbs, has a convenient carrying handle, and its front folds down for printing and memory card access.

Instead of just the 4 x 6 prints that my older HP makes, the A616 gives you the option of printing instant-dry, water-resistant photos in a variety of sizes, including passport, wallet size, 4 x 6 inch, 5 x 7 inch, and panorama.

Print speed is about 40 seconds for a 4 x 6-inch photo, which costs about 29 cents. The unit has a flip-up 2.4-inch color LCD display that lets you preview images before printing. The Photo Fix button can automatically remove red-eye, sharpen images, and improve overall brightness, color, and contrast of photos. You can also crop, zoom, and layout your photos, and add borders and frames.

Amazingly, you can do all this without a PC. The A616 lets you print directly from most memory cards, iPods, flash drives (including thumb drives) and PictBridge enabled cameras. Prints are sharp and clear due to the advanced inks in the HP 110 Tri-color Inkjet Print Cartridge. If you want to give your prints a special look, you can print in antique, sepia, or black-and-white modes.

The A616 gives you the option to print photos on the HP CD Tattoo media, which makes it easy to share photos with friends and family. To enhance and customize your photos, the system comes included with HP Photosmart Essential Software and HP Photosmart Premier Software. For added flexibility, the optional HP Bluetooth Wireless Printer Adapter allows you to print from camera phones or other Bluetooth-enabled devices.

Price ranges from about $90 to $150. It's $89.99 at Amazon, and you can get free shipping. (This is a preview, not a review.)

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