Wednesday, December 31, 2003

For Christmas, I purchased a new HP digital camera and HP printer for my wife. The idea was to finally upgrade our digital camera, which is about 4 years old, and provide a way for her to easily and quickly print pictures.

Unfortunately, the HP products failed us. The camera was the worst product I've ever experienced. First, it wouldn't turn on. When hitting the power button, the camera would flash momentarily, then turn off. Fresh batteries didn't help. After hitting the power button several times, the camera would finally power up. The camera is designed to plug directly into an HP printer with a supplied cable. When trying this, we only got error messages.

I returned both items, and purchased a new Sony camera. Our old digital camera is a Sony and has worked perfectly for a long time. The new one is smaller, and produces higher resolution pictures.

As for printers, what we wanted was a small printer that would easily print photos. I like the small HP PhotoSmart printer for this. It has a small LCD screen on it. You can simply plug a memory card into it, select the pictures you want to print using the screen, then press the "Print" button. A nice product. I found one that was an "Open Box" item - it was a floor model that didn't include a box or manuals. It was discounted, but it also didn't work. It would never feed the paper in.

Needless to say, at this point, I was pretty disappointed with HP products. Unfortunately, HP dominates this market. No other manufacturer makes a printer like this, that I could find. Sony has one with similar functionality, but at $500 was too expensive for us. I finally settled on another HP printer (new, in the box) and so far, it is working well.

This follows similar HP problems I had when looking for an All-In-One (Printer/Fax/Scanner/Copier) for my home office. I won't go into that, but I went through 3 or 4 printers before finding one that works.

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