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HP Photosmart 8450

The HP Photosmart 8450 is a network photo ink-jet printer that uses up to eight dye-based inks to print photos with or without your computer.

The 8450 can print directly from just about any type of camera memory card and also from DirectPrint enabled cameras. To help, the printer has a 2.5-inch, color LCD to display a thumbnail image of your pictures. Choose the photo, the size, quality and quantity of prints you desire and push the print button.

Printing from your Mac is easy too. The 8450 has a USB 2.0 port for connection directly to your Mac, as well as a 10/100 Ethernet port for connecting to a network. Using Ethernet, the 8450 works with Apple’s zero-configuration networking protocol, Rendezvous, which lets you see, choose and use the printer without needing to know its IP address. We made a variety of prints both ways, but found printing over Ethernet to be faster than over USB.

The quality of the prints was impressive. In fact, the 8450 had some of the cleanest text print we’ve seen from an ink-jet printer, rivaled only by another HP printer we recently reviewed, the DeskJet 6840 (   , April 2005 ). Most ink-jet printer makers will claim “laser-like” text in their marketing materials, but this printer actually delivers. Photo quality was also outstanding. The colors in our standard Macworld test image were a near perfect match when judging it against our match print of the file. The 8450 has photo sharpening turned on by default. We found that it oversharpened photos and so we turned this feature off during our testing. My only complaint about the 8450’s photo prints is the paper they’re printed on. Even though the photos look like they’ve been printed by a photo lab, everyone who picked up the prints commented on the sandpaper-like texture on the back of the paper. Also, the edges of 8-by-10-inch photo prints had a tendency to curl under, rather than lying flat.

A print of our mixed-graphics test file on plain paper showed good clean lines and nice detail in grayscale photos, although there were some visible dots in lighter areas of some of the images.

Timed Trials

10-page Word test 1:31
22MB Photoshop image 8:55
4-page PDF 7:14

Scale = Minutes: Seconds

Jury Tests

Text quality Excellent
Photo quality Excellent
Graphics quality Very Good

Scale = Excellent, Very Good, Good, Flawed, Unacceptable

Specifications

Number of ink cartridges 3 (optional photo gray)
Cost to replace ink/toner cartridges $70 (optional high-volume cartridges, $90; gray tank, $25)
Connections USB 2.0, Ethernet, DirectPrint USB port
Printer resolution 4,800 x 1,200 pixels
Special features Optional photo gray cartridge, camera card support, direct print USB port, 2.5-inch color LCD

Macworld’s Buying Advice

The HP Photosmart 8450 is a great choice for those looking for a photo printer to share over a network. Packed with features, the 8450 prints excellent photos and some of the best text we’ve seen from an ink-jet printer.

HP Photosmart 8450
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