Printer HP B8550

For the photo enthusiast , dall’A3 sizes (30 x 42 cm) up are , as always, a kind of ” wet dream ” , because they require expensive and dedicated printers . Recently, however , Hp has marketed a perifica “double vocation ” , capable of producing photographs A3 + and documents , without being expensive . The B8550 is the newest model in the series that already includes expensive professional B9180 and B8850 . With the two previous models, however, has very little in common. Its architecture is completely different, and in fact it has the distinct feeling that it was designed ” widening ” the carriage of a normal A4 photo printer .

The B8550 utilizes a head -piece on which they are installed 5 cartridges : one, the largest , is a black pigment , which is used for printing of texts and documents , while the other four make up a classical group process color (cyan, magenta , yellow and black ) with organic-based inks . Cartridges Vivera belong to the series 364, also mounted on some machines, A4 , and are available in standard or high-capacity XL . Compared with pigment inks , HP declares a lower resistance to fading , ensuring a longer life for prints or less secular protected by glass .

HP Photosmart B8550 Compared to professional models , the B8550 has a (small) color LCD display that turns out to be of great help when using the printer independently of the PC. The machine is equipped as a multiformat card reader (SD , xD , CF and MS in various versions ) and a USB port for direct printing from PictBridge compatible cameras . Into the USB port you can add a Bluetooth dongle to print from mobile phones and other devices enabled. The display also comes in handy to display the online help , and for simple editing and fine-tuning of the photos, such as cropping, color adjustment or the addition of a frame.

The small screen size makes it difficult to recognize rather than “on the fly ” of the photos in thumbnail mode , when they appear in groups of six . Another advantage of the B8550 is the presence of two input trays. The bottom is adjustable and extendable , to accept the larger paper sizes : you can get up to A3 + in width, but you can also use paper with panoramic length up to 110 cm . The top tray , however, is specifically dedicated small-format photo papers , and accepts sheets of 10×15 and 13×18 cm . Install the B8550 is certainly easier than installing his two older sisters. He in fact a small footprint for an A3 printer : a place in 58×40 cm , and you can place well at the end of a desk. Freed from the machine protection tapes , just open the cover and insert the block heads in position, and then insert the 5 cartridges ( all have a recognizable color code ) .

At this point you can start the phase of self-calibration of the printer, while you proceed to install on the PC control software . The disc included in the package contains the drivers for Windows XP, Vista and Mac OS X , plus a series of programs and utilities to create calendars , greeting cards and albums. As for print quality , there is little to say, the results are excellent, certainly among the best achieved so far by working in four-color machines .

While they are completely absent problems of screening , “banding ” or color rendering , the only fault we found is a bit ‘ of metamerism ( changes in tone according to the light that hits the page ) when printing black and white. The lyrics , while not at the level of those produced by a laser printer, are sufficiently defined at normal print sizes : only the font smaller shows some problems with the sharpness and , occasionally , spacing – certainly problems solvable with a simple upgrade the driver. Not as exciting were the results of ” fast acceleration .” Although the machine is the fastest of the other family , we are still far from the performance of various competitors. For a 10×15 , for example , it takes 2 minutes, from the time when it gives way to the exit of the finished print .

The A3 printing , however , travels between 5 and 7 minutes. But perhaps the most critical point has proved autonomy : if you do not use the cartridges ” XL” , the cost per page will be quite high. Also because the printer is optimized for cards Hp ( with bar code detected by the sensor B8550 ), a known non-economic but if you do not want to waste time to fine-tune the settings of the driver.



Compatible Operating Systems

Windows Vista®; Microsoft® Windows® XP Home, XP Professional, XP Professional x64, XP Professional x64 (SP2); Mac OS X v10.4, v10.5

Minimum System Requirements

Windows Vista®: 1 GHz 32- or 64-bit processor, Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 5; Windows Vista® Home: 512 MB RAM, other Windows Vista®: 1 GB RAM, 1.5 GB HD free space, CD-ROM, Internet Explorer 6, USB; Microsoft® Windows® XP, Professional, Professional x64 editions: 1 GHz 32- or 64-bit processor, Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 5, 512 MB RAM, 800 MB HD, CD-ROM drive, Internet Explorer 6, USB


Minimum system requirements for Macintosh

Mac OS X v10.4, v10.5, PowerPC G3, G4, G5 or Intel® Core processor, 256 MB RAM, 500 MB HD, CD-ROM drive, USB


Our opinion: A little bulky, multi-format card reader, PictBridge compatible, excellent print quality, paper holder double drawer, optional Bluetooth, relatively inexpensive

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