HP Photosmart A646 Printer Review
New from HP, the A646 photo printer is small but mighty all things considered. Priced at just over $100 with most retailers, the A646 is Bluetooth compatible which means that in addition to being able to connect the A646 to a PC or Pictbridge camera, one can opt to print photos directly from any Bluetooth capable camera phone or smart card; a feature one would expect to find only in a higher priced model. There are also 2 media slots designed to read Memory Stick, SD and xD picture cards.
Designed to travel, it weighs in at only 2.37 pounds, doesn't take up much space and folds up quite nicely to go. The large fold-away 3.45" touchscreen features many editing and enhancement tools that one can use to be creative or simply "fix" photos prior to printing them. Then, when the time comes to print those photos, the A646 has another secret to tell. Users can select from 3 different sizes to print, as 4x6, 4X12 Panoramic and 5X7 photo paper are all acceptable for use in the HP. Printing is not as fast one would think, but this is definitely not your Mother's snapshot printer.
The Photosmart A646 uses a single ink cartridge that lasts approximately 50 prints. Replacement cartridges are available and can be purchased for $24, which is a bit pricey for every 50 photos printed, but the color is good and quality is not compromised.
On the Greener side, the A646 chassis (outer body shell) is made from 30% recycled materials and the carrying case is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. Strange though was the realization that the A646 does not have an option to run on a battery, and no battery accessory pack is offered for additional purchase.
Overall, the HP Photosmart A646 printer is perceived as a solid buy for the money spent. The only disadvantages included the lack of speed during printing (i.e. one can sometimes wait as long as 2 full minutes to get a finished print), low yield ink cartridge with a high replacement cost and no battery option. The positive benefits definitely overshadow any negatives here.
The A646 would be a great gift for grandparents or a younger girl who would find fun in printing pictures on the spot (think of the pillow fight pics at that party), or a traveling business person who needs a portable printer with him at all times. Because of its' compact size, the Photosmart A646 is perfect accessory in a college dorm and the designs that adorn the outside are just plain "cool". Hobbyist scrapbookers and onsite photo gift entrepreneurs would also benefit greatly from the features of the HP. No matter your style or intended use, this small but mighty compact printer can get the job done.
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