HP Photosmart eStation review
Fast, high-quality prints and great design, but the gimmicky tablet joins the ranks of Android let-downs
Review Date: 7 Jan 2011
Reviewed By: David Bayon
Price when reviewed: £316 (£379 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Like it or not, tablets are taking over right now, with even high-street clothing retailers jumping onto (and in Next’s case falling off) the bandwagon. Now we have a new odd couple: the HP Photosmart eStation is a hybrid of printer and tablet.
If that sounds an odd mix, the photo above shows far better than words how the two combine. It’s very much a living-room printer, following the example set by the HP Envy 100. So the glossy black body is flat, angular and designed to blend in, and although it’s a little fat compared to its sleek sibling, it’s surprisingly stylish.
The design is sensible too, with a 125-sheet paper tray sitting at the base – accessible both by lifting off the output tray and by opening an inch-high flap on the front – and a 7 x 5in photo tray on top with a useful transparent cover. There’s a duplex module as standard, and the rear has a single USB 2 port, although unlike some printers you don’t need it to set up the Wi-Fi connection.
But your eyes most likely aren’t on the printer itself. Indeed, it’s hard to look at anything else when there’s a 7in Android 2.1 tablet sitting proudly on top, and as you’d expect it acts as the interface for pretty much every task you carry out on the eStation. It’s your scan controller, your copy interface and – as both the printer and the tablet have their own 802.11n connections – potentially much more besides. HP has even blessed it with a silly name: the Zeen.
The Zeen has a proprietary connector, a power jack and a mini-USB port on the bottom to slot into its dock, while the side has an SD card slot and headphone jack and the top has volume controls. It’s functional rather than sexy, but that’s the compromise a hybrid must make.
Leaving it docked to begin with, we ran our print, scan and copy tests to see if the eStation printer gets the fundamentals right. It has the usual four CMYK cartridges, along with an extra photo black for fine detail in your snaps, and our 6 x 4in and A4 test photos made a strong start: a little speckled, but with good contrast and accurate colours. Text was bold and thick, and charts and plain paper images were mottled but generally accurate and clean. At normal quality we measured little difference between mono (6.5ppm) and colour (5.5ppm) speeds, and a 6 x 4in photo at best quality took 1min 2secs, which is fast for documents and above average for photos.
HP would be better focusing on some more basic user requirements such as Direct Printing to CD/DVD. Canon and Epson have had this for years and I won't buy an HP all the while they don't have this feature.
By mpdouglas on 7 Jan 2011
So HP, that company that bought Palm saying they were going to use it in printers has decided to go for Android instead?
Why not make a little Palm OS tablet with integrated marketplace instead?
By JStairmand on 10 Jan 2011
- Microsoft reveals Windows 10... no, really
- eBay and PayPal split up
- iOS 8.0.2: old problems remain, new bugs added
- Technopop: London sci-tech festival is just for kids
- Windows 9: release date, features, free update and cloud version
- Chromebooks get version of Photoshop
- Retina display iMacs "coming soon"
- Apple patches ShellShock Bash bug
- Should the UK be a sharing economy?
- Want free Wi-Fi? It'll cost your first-born child
- Michael Dell: Cloud infrastructure is the roads, bridges and highways of the 21st century
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- Apple Watch, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: Tim Cook's Apple back with a bang?
- BT Home Hub 5: how to get maximum speed
- 20 years of PC Pro: one-star reviews (including "the worst tablet we've ever seen")
- 20 years of PC Pro: our best covers
- Smartphone benchmarks 2014: what's the fastest smartphone?
- What is Kindle Unlimited and how does it work?
- BlackBerry Passport release date, UK price and specs
- OS X Yosemite release date, price and key new features
- How to change keyboard in iOS 8: customise the iPhone 6 keyboard
- The 7 best Chromebooks of 2014
- Apple iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: is the new iPhone 6 better than the Galaxy S5?
- How to install iOS 8 without deleting apps and data
- The best smartwatches of 2014: what's the best smartwatch?
- Nexus 6/X release date, specs and rumoured UK price
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office