HP Photosmart D7460 Printer

When it comes to photos, the HP Photosmart D7460 Printer shines.

Sometimes it takes more than one try to get things right. Consider the HP Photosmart D7460 Printer ($179.99 direct). It's a direct descendant of last year's D7360, a photocentric printer with most of the same features. In particular, both can print from a PictBridge camera or computer but are most impressive as home photo kiosks. Plug in a memory card or USB key and you can preview photos, choose options, and give the print command through a touch screen. The problem with last year's model was its less-than-ideal photo quality.

This year's D7460 solves that problem. It keeps everything that was good about the D7360 and bumps up the photo quality—from merely good enough for snapshots to superb. It gets an increase in touch screen size to a spacious 3.5 inches. It also has some significant new features, most notably network support in the form of both an Ethernet connector and Wi-Fi. What's more, it does all that while selling for 10 percent lower than the D7360's original price.

Setup is standard for a photo printer that uses six ink colors—cyan, yellow, magenta, light cyan, light magenta, and black—with a separate cartridge for each color. Find a spot for the 6.8-by-18.2-by-15.25-inch (HWD) printer, plug it in, turn it on, install the six ink cartridges and paper, and you're ready to print from a camera, memory card, or USB key. If you also want to print from a computer, you need to run the automated installation program and connect a cable. I used a wired network connection for my tests, letting the setup program find the printer and install it for network printing.

The D7460's paper handling is a weak point for standard printing but a potential strong point for photos. The primary tray holds only 100 sheets of paper, and replenishing it can quickly become annoying you print more than about 20 sheets per day. On the other hand, there's also a second tray for 4-by-6-inch paper, so you can load both standard letter-size paper and 4-by 6-inch photo paper. Even better, if you use the printer for photos only, the two trays let you keep two different sizes of photo paper loaded and available.

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