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HP Photosmart eStation C510

  • Category: Printers
Last Updated
December 22, 2010

Editor's Rating
3.5 Out of 5

Pros
  • Lots of multimedia features
  • ePrint wireless printing
  • 7-inch Zeen Android tablet
  • Good photo & text quality

Cons
  • Lacking documentation
  • Laggy touch screen
  • Slow network printing

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Review

The HP Photosmart eStation C510 is one of HP's newest Internet-connected ePrint printers. This model has a detachable 7-inch Google Android-powered tablet that lets you browse the Internet and much more. Print quality is quite good and the wireless Web printing makes this model a reasonable competitor.

The C510 has a glossy, piano black body that looks really sleek and stylish. It will most definitely fit into any home or small office setting, but HP has really designed this thing for home use thanks to the many multimedia features included. The top of the unit is the scanner, which allows you to scan about only a 8.5 x 11-inch piece of paper. The front has dual-paper trays with separate trays for photo and specialty papers. There is no auto-feeder in the back for heavier papers, but HP does include an automatic duplexer on the back to automatically print of both sides of paper, which saves resources and money. The duplexer is rather slow compared to other models and even other HP models, but it's nothing terrible.

Inside is a five-ink cartridge system that allows you to print using multiple colors to give you the best quality text and images possible. The HP 564 inks include black, photo black, cyan, magenta and yellow. You can also purchase 564XLs, which give you added capacity.

On the front top, there is a dock that holds the Zeen tablet (that's what HP calls it anyway), which is a 7-inch touch screen removable tablet that you use to interact with the HP Photosmart C510. The touch screen interface is rather slow and clunky, which is a big disappointment. We frequently made mispresses due to the slow scrolling and slow responsiveness of the screen.

Setting up the C510 looks a little daunting at first to novices, but when they go to do it, they might find it even harder. That's because HP really includes the minimal setup instructions possible, which is a shame. HP includes troubleshooting videos that display on the Zeen tablet to help setup your printer. There is a USB port on the back if you want to use the printer with only one computer and without the Web-connected features, otherwise, you'll have to connect it to your wireless network as there is no Ethernet port on back, which is another minor downside. Before it's all setup to take advantage of the Internet-related features, you have to connect and setup three things: the Zeen tablet, the printer itself and set it up on each individual computer on your network. We feel the Zeen and printer setup should go one-in-the-same, but HP feels otherwise. The install CD that comes with the printer works with both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X, but set aside some time to install it because the install process takes a long time (about 15 minutes on average).

Once it's all setup, you can now utilize the HP Photosmart C510's Internet-connected features, like the preinstalled applications that include an RSS reader, Yahoo! News, Barnes and Noble eBook, Facebook, MSNBC, sodoku, weather, and many others. There's also things like printing recipes and games for children, but there's also useful features like printing a daily "newspaper" and downloading eBooks to the Zeen tablet.

The detachable Zeen tablet is a 7-inch touch screen tablet that can function completely as a standalone unit. It is powered by Google's Android 2.0 mobile operating system that many smartphones utilize. The unit, despite being Android, isn't able to access the Google Android Marketplace, which has over 100,000 applications to download.

Using the ePrint feature on the HP Photosmart C510 allows you to print from any computer while not connected to your home network, but also from any mobile device, like a smartphone, that doesn't typically allow printing. You do so by sending your print job to a unique e-mail address that is tied to your printer, which is given to you upon setup. This allows you to be anywhere in the world and all you need to print to your home printer is the ability to send an e-mail. To restrict the use of this feature to only yourself (or to other authorized persons), you can specify specific e-mail addresses to accept print jobs from. This feature supports a variety of formats, including images, PDFs, documents, images and also the body of the e-mail itself.

HP installs their ePrintCenter application, which lets you manage your C510 printer and manage/install/review applications installed on it and the Zeen tablet. The available applications are all free to download and they includes categories like entertainment, games, news, photo, coupons, weather and much more. We have to applaud HP on this as they definitely gave the C510 plenty of multimedia features.

One note worth mentioning is that when printing from a networked computer, there is a significant delay between when the print job is sent to when it actually starts printing. Once it gets printing, speeds are fairly quick, except when duplexing as we mentioned earlier.

Another feature of note is the ability to scan to a variety of sources right from the printer itself. You can choose to scan to a memory card (there is a SD card slot built-in), a networked computer or to the printer itself. When you choose to scan to a computer, it will display a list of networked computers that the printer is setup to and it will save the scan to a file on that particular computer. This is a great feature for homes with many computers.

Photo quality is quite good, especially with larger prints. Colors seemed well-represented and accurate in subjective testing. Text prints were also rated good and are definitely good enough for business printing.


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