HP PhotoSmart 7450 review
The HP 7450 is beautifully precise in its rendition of detail. But it's slow, and the Canon Pixma IP4000 beat it on text quality.
Review Date: 16 Mar 2005
Price when reviewed:
Reviewed By: Karl Wright
Like Canon's Pixma, the PhotoSmart 7450 from Hewlett-Packard is a budget photo printer. It's designed for home users who want photos that look as if they've been printed by a chemist, but don't want to pay a couple of hundred quid for the privilege.
We use three test photos at Computer Buyer: one of a person and two scenic photos featuring details such as rock formations with clearly visible strata, and a close-up of a nest on a stony beach. The first is good for showing up any colour problems (you immediately notice if areas of skin look too bright, or off-colour), the other two are better for fine detail. The 7450's scenic prints were so beautiful we were almost speechless with pleasure. You could see the grain on every stone - each and every straw in the nest - perfectly. Combined with natural-looking colours, this handling of fine detail allowed the 7450 to print our scenic photographs perfectly.
The portrait photograph test was good, but not as good as the nature scenes. Overall, colours were still very natural, with no hint of a colour-cast like the one in the Canon's pictures. But the HP encountered problems with very subtly-graduated areas of colour, such as the areas of shadow and folds in the subject's clothes. Many of these suffered from too much contrast, making obvious, pixellated edges appear. This may sound like a small detail, but if you print mostly portraits, as most people will, then you don't want a printer that has difficulties with areas of dense saturated shadow, such as those that appear on clothing. The 7450 was also far slower in our photo test than the Pixma. It took more than five minutes to print our test photo.
Text quality, while good, was also not up to the standard of the Canon Pixma IP4000. Compared to the Canon, the HP's text was less solidly black and not as crisp. The 7450 was also very slow in our text test, taking more than two minutes to print the entire five-page document.
If you need to print out very precisely detailed pictures - for instance, architectural or nature photos, or pictures of machinery - then the PhotoSmart 7450 will suit you down to the ground. If you're more likely to want to print a mixture of portrait photographs and text documents, Canon's Pixma IP4000, while not perfect, is a much better all-rounder.
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