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HP Photosmart Premium C309G review

Touchscreen triumph, wireless wizard, premium printer, or just a blatant copycat?

Our Verdict

For

  • Good connectivity
  • Simple touchscreen menus
  • Dual input trays
  • High resolutions
  • Good build and style

Against

  • Lacking options in menus
  • Photo colour could be better
  • No CD/DVD printing
  • Slightly slow photo printing
  • Makes a lot of unnecessary beeps!

HP pretty much invented desktop colour inkjet printing, launching its first DeskJet 500C model onto the market all the way back in 1991.

For most of the time since then, HP has stuck rigidly to its dual black and tri-colour cartridge configuration, usually enabling you to swap out the black cartridge for an optional tri-colour 'photo' cartridge, boosting the ink range for six-colour photo printing.

A major advantage was that you effectively got a brand new print head with every new cartridge but running costs were typically high.

By contrast, the Photosmart Premium C309G takes a leaf straight out of Canon's book, combining a single print head with five ink cartridges, featuring both dye-based and pigment-based black inks, along with cyan, magenta and yellow dye-based inks.

For outright print quality, this makes it a direct rival to the Canon MP640.

Sleek and compact in its stylish black shell, one of the HP C309G's main claims to fame is its colour touchscreen. This makes standalone functions like making photocopies or scanning directly to a USB drive or memory card supremely intuitive.

Even so, at 8.9cm the touchscreen is 2cm smaller on the diagonal than the one featured in the Lexmark Interact S605, and the HP lacks some of the customisation options offered by the Lexmark's downloadable Smart Solutions, but the interface works well nonetheless, with the minimum of fuss and bother.

There are some neat touches in the Photo section of the on-screen menu. You can create photo album pages, panoramic prints, wallet photos and passport photos direct from a media card, without needing to fire up your computer.

A little more oddly, there's also a direct link to Snapfish, HP's online photo printing service, so you can log onto the site and print photos on your desktop printer that are stored online. It's a bit like online photo printing in reverse.

The HP is well-connected, coming complete with USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi and even Bluetooth interfaces as standard, as well as card reader slots for SD, SDHC, MMC, MS and xD media cards.

Unlike the Canon MP640, however, there's no CompactFlash slot, which some photographers may find a bit of a drawback.

Print speeds are pretty impressive in normal quality modes, with our tests recording nine seconds, 19 seconds and 27 seconds for A4 mono, A4 colour and 6 x 4-inch photos respectively.

Switch to top quality photo mode and things slow down noticeably, but at just under three minutes for a full borderless A4 photo print, the HP isn't exactly a slouch.

Running costs are very reasonable and rather more competitive than the Canon MP640 and Epson PX710W models for combined ink and paper costs for photo printing.

Tech Specs

Product TypeInkjet Multifunction Printer
Maximum Photo Print Speed16 Second
Green CompliantYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Standard Input Media Capacity145 sheets
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
PictBridgeYes
Maximum Mono Print Speed (ppm)33
Maximum Color Print Speed (ppm)32
Maximum Mono Copy Speed (cpm)33
Maximum Color Copy Speed (cpm)32
Product FamilyPhotosmart Premium
Maximum Print Resolution9600 x 2400 dpi
Brand NameHP
Form FactorDesktop
Print ColourColour
Duplex PrintingAutomatic
Media SizeA4, A5, A6, B5, B6, B7, C5 Envelope, C6 Envelope, B5 (JIS), B6 (JIS), B7 (JIS), Custom Size, 100 mm x 150 mm, 130 mm x 180 mm, 80 mm x 130 mm, 220 mm x 360 mm, 90 mm x 130 mm
Multifunction DevicesCopier/Printer/Scanner
Duty Cycle2500 pages per month
Recommended UsePhoto Print
Optical Resolution4800 dpi
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR
Copy ColorColour
Scan ColorColour
EthernetYes
Maximum Copy Resolution4800 x 1200 dpi
Number of Input/Multipurpose Trays Installed2
Number of Input Trays Supported2
Interpolated Resolution19200 dpi
Maximum Input Media Capacity145 sheets
Country of OriginMalaysia
Height199 mm
Width452 mm
Depth473 mm
Media TypePlain Paper, Inkjet Paper, Photo Paper, Transparency, Envelope, Label, Index Card, Greeting Card, Borderless Media
Colour Depth48-bit
Copier TypeFlatbed
ManufacturerHewlett-Packard
Product ModelC309G
Product NamePhotosmart Premium C309G Multifunction Printer
Product LinePhotosmart Premium
Scanner TypeFlatbed
Image SensorCIS
Manufacturer Part NumberCD055B#BEV
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.hp.com/uk
Marketing Information

Print how you want, when you want - wirelessly, from your iPhone and even directly from Snapfish.com - with this versatile all-in-one. View, edit and print photos - scan and copy too - via the large HP TouchSmart screen.

Number of Copies99
Platform SupportedPC, Mac
Package Contents
  • Photosmart Premium C309G Multifunction Printer
  • 1 x Black Ink Cartridge
  • 1 x Photo Black Ink Cartridge
  • 1 x Cyan Ink Cartridge
  • 1 x Magenta Ink Cartridge
  • 1 x Yellow Ink Cartridge
  • USB Cable
  • Software CD
  • Reference Guide
  • Power Supply
  • Power Cord
  • Reusable Accessory Bag
Limited Warranty1 Year
Standard Memory64 MB
Weight (Approximate)7.45 kg