Canon, HP's Xmas Ink-Jet Printer Fleet

HP Photosmart 8050

We won't go into too much detail about the Photosmart 8050; we tested this new printer only to throw light on the advantages of the Photosmart 8250. That's because whereas the 8250 is highly innovative, the Photosmart 8050 has exactly the same characteristics as last year's models. And while it shows some progress in terms of speed, its shortcomings - in particular the use of combined cartridges and their high cost per page - are still very much in evidence.

Ergonomics And Design

Externally, the Photosmart 8050 looks a lot like the 8250. It has an LCD display (a little smaller and not tiltable, which is not very practical when the printer is set on the floor) and all the usual controls found on HP printers, such as those for processing photos on memory cards. HP has also included the function that lets you print from an index sheet, which is a nice touch on a printer in this price range.

A4 paper doesn't load from the top, but for photo paper you can use a special tray that positions the paper perfectly. Unlike with the Photosmart 8250, it's not possible to use microporous paper; you have to settle for the usual absorbent paper from HP or another source.