This. is. the. coolest. new. toy.
When Parent Bloggers Network sent me the HP Photosmart A626 Compact Printer, I thought there had been some mistake. This blog reviews books, toddler toys, and PBS kids’ shows. That kind of thing. Small things. But a photo printer? And photo books to go with it? Awesome.
I didn’t have very high expectations, I have to admit. We bought one of the early photo printers when we moved to D.C. and got real jobs a few years ago, but we didn’t have much luck with it. Each picture took several minutes to print, the ink ran, and the archival quality of the photos was … nil, making it useless for scrapbooking, etc. But this printer? A whole new generation, baby!
The HP Compact Printer was ready-to-go, right out of the box. My three-year-old and I opened the box, plugged it in, and immediately started playing with it. Oh, sure, we should have read the directions, but we really didn’t need to. We admired the sleek black box and began immediately to open it up like a Transformer. The screen popped up, the back opened slightly so the photo paper could slide in, and the front door opened up to reveal four slots for camera cards and the exit slot for the printed photo. There are no extra parts to attach or lose, and the design is simplicity itself.
We popped the camera memory card in the slot and began to play.
Almost immediately, the screen showed us the last 4 pictures taken. Widget (my three-year-old) figured out how to scroll back and forth using the touch screen and the arrows. The screen is big enough to get a good idea of which photo is which and clear enough to detect details like whether his hands were over his face or his brother was looking at or away from the camera. Real details would have to wait for the print or be prescreened on the computer, but this was good enough to determine which photos were worth printing. When we found one we liked, a quick touch of the screen enlarged it to full size and another selected it for printing.
Printing couldn’t be easier. We just slid a piece of photo paper in the back, touched the print icon, and it began to print, quickly and quietly. Photo paper is inexpensive; the ink will be the largest recurring cost, I think.
HP also sent us two photobooks to try out. The small one (4×6) was easy to use … we just printed pictures normally, then attached the photo book around them. Easy, peasy, couldn’t be better. I used mine to make a photobook to throw in my bag and take to chemo each week, but it would be a great gift idea too!
In short, this is a product I didn’t know I needed but I really really like. It’s simple and easy to select and print out photos for the grandparents on the spot. Kids love to use it and it seems to be goof-proof enough to let them help. And best of all, I’ve even had better luck taking pictures of my camera-shy little boy by promising him that he could help print one out afterwards! Easy and fun. HP has changed my mind on at-home photo printers.
HP is running a sale this week on photobooks (20% off at this link) and printers at retailers nationwide.