HP Photosmart 8750
Review Date: April 11th 2005
(out of 5 stars)
The HP Photosmart 8750 is an easy to use and very well-built 9-colour inkjet printer that delivers great image quality, producing fantastic colour and black and white prints straight out of the box on matt, satin and glossy papers. HP's ICC profiles seem to be extremely accurate - there is no need to spend endless amounts of time or money on profiling to obtain accurate prints with the HP Photosmart 8750 (at least on HP's own range of papers). The new 9th colour, blue, does make a noticeable difference when you compare prints made on the Photosmart 8750 and the 8-colour Photosmart 8450 side-by-side. Blues are more vibrant and other colours appear more accurate. If you have always struggled with black and white printing in particular, then the HP Photosmart 8750 will be a breath of fresh air. This is the one of the first inkjet printers to produce truly neutral black and white prints using the supplied inkset - most other inkjets introduce some kind of unwanted colour cast, or require you to make further investment in a RIP or dedicated 3rd-party inkset. With the HP Photosmart 8750 you can get truly neutral black and white prints straight out of the box, although the printer driver software won't allow them to be bordlerless or colour managed from Photoshop.
The three main aspects that the HP Photosmart 8750 doesn't score so highly on are speed, running costs and the lack of a colour LCD screen. The Photosmart 8750 is about as quick as the Epson Stylus Photo 2100 / 2200 printer, but both are much slower than Canon's A3 inkjets. If you require the fastest prints then Canon's A3 printers are the best choice, although their output isn't as long-lasting as HP's and Epson's. Running costs on the HP Photosmart 8750 are higher than on competitors' printers - both ink cartridge and paper prices are higher across the range and the lack of separate ink cartridges for each colour means that if one colour runs out on the Photosmart 8750, you have to replace the whole cartridge, even if the other 2 colours in that cartridge still have ink left. This probably won't be of concern to the professional photographer who is selling their work, but it may put off the average consumer who wants to make 13x19inch prints at a reasonable cost. The lack of an LCD screen is also of less importance to the professional, who will most likely make all of their prints from a computer via an application like Adobe Photoshop using ICC profiles. Again the most affected group will probably be the general consumer. For them printing from a memory card is likely to be a fairly high priority, and unfortunately the lack of a colour LCD screen that allows you to preview your images makes it more difficult than it should be
So in summary the HP Photosmart 8750 will be of greater interest to professionals and keen amateur photographers who won't be put off by the slow printing speeds, relatively high running costs and the lack of a colour LCD screen. The general consumer whom HP are also targeting may be put off by one or a combination of these three factors. On the other hand, the HP Photosmart 8750 does produce extremely accurate colour and black and white prints out of the box that will literally last for over 100 years, so you won't have to spend time and money on rectifying colour mismatches or reprinting. The HP Photosmart 8750 is not the answer to everyone's needs, but it is a fantastic printer in its own right and one that mounts a serious challenge to the likes of Epson and Canon.