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HP Photosmart 7510: Why I will never buy another HP printer

I hate printers.

There isn’t any way to sugar coat it. Printers rarely work for a long period of time, throw up arcane errors, ink costs are insane, and have stupid limitations. Given that printer companies make money only on the ink cartridges, they do the absolute bare minimum to develop a functional printer.

Nearly 5 months ago, I bought a HP Photosmart 7510. The idea was simple: all-in-one printer/scanner with a document feeder that would allow me to go paperless.

First there was a very light but audible hissing noise the printer makes that several Amazon reviewers have since noted.

Then there was the brilliant idea by HP to have icons for a bunch of web site services on the printer itself. This isn’t the touchscreen of your iPhone…very non-responsive and tough to move around. Sorry HP, no one uses the printer touchscreen itself to print from Facebook, Disney, Yahoo, or many other sites.

The final straw was an artificial limit that has been imposed on this printer. In an effort to prevent business users from using a HP consumer printer, you can only use the Automatic Document Feeder for up to 75 scans at full speed. After that, each page after that takes takes several minutes to even begin scanning.

You think that sounds insane? HP admits it themselves on this forum post:

“The behavior that you are seeing  in your printer is normal in that product, this printer is merely  design to home users where their needs are not as high compared to business users. The unit  reduces its speed to prevent overheating the motor in the Automatic-Document-Feeder (ADF). So, there is nothing wrong with that behavior  and you can still use it even if the speed of scanning or copying through  the ADF reduces. I hope this information is helpful.”

The reduce speed to prevent overheating makes sense at first…except it will do this even if you wait a hour between scans. I’ve tested this myself. There is absolutely no reasonable explanation for this behavior.

Amazon was wonderful. Even though I contacted them 5 months after I bought the printer, they are issuing a full refund. I am instead going to Epson for my new printer. Never again will I go with HP.

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Stupid UI Department: Printing from iPhoto to a photo paper tray

Today I bought a HP Photosmart C7280 All-in-One printer. A full review will be coming shortly, since I think this is a really great all-in-one printer, especially for Mac users. However, I need to comment on something that is driving me nuts.

The C7280 comes with two printer trays: your normal one that is usually occupied by letter size paper and a photo paper tray (usually used by 4×6 photo paper). Apparently Apple never envisioned printing to a specialized photo paper tray in iPhoto, because there is no easy way to select it!

Now the obvious place is the printing dialog that you get when you hit the print button:

Looks straight forward right? Except if you choose a 4×6 paper size (which by the way, the paper size selection is very user unfriendly as well and would trip up most people) and print, the software doesn’t use the photo paper tray, it just goes to the main paper tray. Not to mention, hitting the Print button on this screen doesn’t actually cause the photo to print. You actually have to hit another print button!

So after doing some research, I found where you can set the paper tray setting. You can create a printer preset. Fantastic I thought! I quickly created a 4×6 photo paper printer preset and while I was at it, did the same for duplex printing of letter size documents (a C7280 feature).

Problem solved right? You would think I could then go back to that first printer dialog, select my new Print on 4×6 Photo Paper preset, and then click the magical print button.

Small problem though: on the first print dialog, iPhoto doesn’t show custom printer presets. I found some documentation on Apple’s site that suggests developers can add presets, but nothing about users adding presets.

So my hopes of selecting a preset (or even better the last one I used being set as default) for my paper type, paper tray, and other settings? These hopes are gone if I want an easy “here honey, click the preset drop-down, select the 4×6 borderless preset that I created for you, and hit print” way for my wife to print photos.

I do not know who’s fault this is. Probably a combination of HP (for not offering iPhoto presets for the common paper sizes that point to the photo tray) and Apple (for the stupid process of picking paper sizes, printer options, etc. and not being able to do it all on one screen).

For the grand conclusion, I would like to write the pointless steps I have to go through to print a photo from iPhoto to the C7280 photo tray now and then below them, write how it should be:

  1. Select photo in iPhoto that I want to print
  2. Go to File –> Print
  3. Click the preset drop-down and select “Photo on Photo Paper” the preset.
  4. Click on the “Paper Size” drop-down, find “4×6 in./10x15mm” and then click on “Borderless 4x6in./10x15mm.” choice.
  5. Click the “Print” button.
  6. Check my printer choice.
  7. Click on the “Preset” drop-down and select my custom present, “Print on 4×6 Photo Paper”.
  8. Click the “Print” button.

How this should be done (in 3 less steps):

  1. Select photo in iPhoto that I want to print
  2. Go to File –> Print
  3. Click on the preset drop-down and select “Print Borderless on 4×6 Photo Paper” preset that is either pre-created by HP or easily customized by me thanks a custom option that lets me save my changes. Of course these settings will use the photo tray by default.
  4. Choose a printer.
  5. Click the “Print” button.

Sometimes you really wonder if the people designing these products actually use them.