The progress made in terms of speed compared to last year's Photosmart 8150 is good enough to bear mentioning. It did take close to four minutes to print an A4 photo, but that's 50% better than the preceding generation. The same holds for text mode. In draft mode, we clocked a rate of 11.5 ppm, and remember that this mode offers excellent print quality, every bit as good as normal mode on competitors' printers. On the other hand, the results for mixed text and graphics were very disappointing. Even in monochrome, the Photosmart 8050 couldn't do better than 3.3 ppm.
The ink cartridges are the same as last year, and the nozzles haven't changed, so the results are quite comparable - good, but not excellent. The Photosmart 8050 can use only two cartridges at a time. In photo mode, you replace the black cartridge with another one specifically for photo printing, containing light cyan and light magenta hues. In this configuration, light colors render well, but do lack a little punch, especially on fluorescent-like colors. You can also use a gray-ink cartridge dedicated to black-and-white printing, which produces excellent results.
Cost Per Page
As expected, given the use of combined inks, the cost per page for this printer is very high. The limited yield resulted in a cost of 52 cents for a 4" x 6" photo, for example, nearly twice as much as for the other models tested in this article. The result is that if you print a lot of photos, the advantage of the lower initial purchase price compared to the Photosmart 8250 will be wiped out in a few months.
The ergonomics and the functions built into this printer are all very good, but the overall picture is ruined by the limited printing speed and the very high cost per page.
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