The HP Photosmart D7360 photo inkjet printer offers some decent features for photo hobbyists -- including some we haven't seen before -- but it also lacks some basic features that would be useful. For AU$349, you get a solid-quality printer that's fast with text prints but disappointingly slow at 4x6 photo prints. (For about the same cost, you could also get an all-in-one printer such as the Canon Pixma MP500, which boasts faster print speeds and excellent photo quality. But the Canon lacks truly photo-centric features, such as the ability to print stills from a digital video.) If you want a photo printer that can churn out 4x6 prints in a jiffy, opt for the Canon Pixma iP6700D or the Epson Stylus R380 photo printer. But if you want the balance of decent text and photo printing as well as low-cost prints, the HP Photosmart D7360 is a good bet.
The HP Photosmart D7360 is on the bulky side for a single-function printer. Its glossy-white-and-light-gray body sits 462.5mm wide, 387.3mm deep, and 172.9mm tall. The control panel is limited to just seven buttons, because the huge 3.4-inch LCD functions as a touch screen. Control panel buttons include Print, Cancel, Print Preview, Zoom In and Out, Rotate, and Photo Fix. Everything else can be done via the touch screen, which is vivid, very responsive, and even gives an audible response when touched.
The Photosmart D7360 boasts four memory card slots that accept Compact Flash, Memory Stick, MicroDrive, MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital, and xD-Picture cards. If you want to print from a PictBridge camera or a USB thumbdrive, you can avail yourself of the USB port on the front. Additionally, you can print from an iPod that can store photos, which is a feature we haven't seen on another printer. If you want to print wirelessly from a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone, you'll have to purchase the optional Bluetooth adapter to use with the USB port.
The Photosmart D7360 employs HP's standard, single-cassette input/output tray. The input tray pulls out for filling, has adjustable paper guides, and can hold as many as 100 sheets of regular paper. Immediately above the input tray, a dedicated 4x6 photo paper tray holds about 20 sheets of photo paper and will automatically engage if you choose 4x6 prints. Sitting above both input trays is the output tray, with its extendable paper keeper. This printer lacks a straight pass-through, which is useful when printing on heavier paper stock such as postcards.
To access the ink tanks, simply lift the front of the printer. The Photosmart D7360 employs a six-colour system with individual ink tanks, which is great for reducing waste and saving money.
For PC-free printing, the HP Photosmart C7360 offers a nice range of options for the photo hobbyist. From the main screen, select View & Print. If you're new to PC-free printing, the C7360's wizard will guide you through the process of choosing paper size and pictures, making edits such as cropping or adding colour effects, and finally, printing. If you're familiar with the process, you can jump straight to printing photos with menu options that include Enlargement, 4x6, and Print All. If you choose 4x6 or Enlargement, you'll first be prompted to pick paper size and print size, which determines layout. From here, you can click through the photos on your card to select them; simply touch the screen to select. (If you want to scan through the photos quickly, you can hit Zoom Out to get a four-image view.) Each image has touch-sensitive forward and back icons for navigating, a house icon that takes you to the top menu, and a checkbox that shows whether you've selected a photo. Once you've picked the image, additional icons appear that let you change the number of copies or edit the photo.
Editing options include Crop, Rotate, Brightness, Color Effects (Sepia, Antique, or Black-and-White), and Frame. The Frame option, with six frame designs in 15 colours, lets you print a border around the image. Image improvement comes in the form of red-eye reduction and the Photo Fix button. We printed images with Photo Fix both on and off, and we didn't see much difference. We'd prefer more granular control over image settings, such as sharpness and saturation, on the printer itself, but you can find some of those controls in HP's bundled Photosmart Premier software.
If you choose Print All, you're again prompted to select paper size. If you select 4x6 or 5x7, the print job starts immediately: all the images on the card will be borderless. However, we've been unsuccessful so far at printing a bordered 4x6 or 5x7 photo on this machine, a shortcoming that leaves us befuddled. (You can print bordered photos by printing from a PC, either through HP's bundled software programs or your preferred software.) If you select 8.5x11, you can select the photo size: either an index print with 63 images per sheet, four 3.5x5 prints, three 4x6 prints, two 5x7s, one 8x10, or one 8.5x11. The index sheet prints each image's file name and number, which makes it a handy reference as you're clicking through the contents of a large memory card. Finally, a Projects tab takes you to options such as Panorama prints (4x12 prints), CD/DVD tattoo prints on special sticky paper, wallet prints, and passport photos.
A neat feature that we like is the ability to print still frames from digital videos on your memory card. You can watch the video play back on the LCD, stop it at the frame you want, then print. To find just the right frame, you can pause the video and slowly step through frame by frame, either forward or back. The prints will come out fuzzy because digital video resolution is generally lower than that of still digital shots, so if you want decent prints from a video, be sure to first bump up the resolution on your video camera. Other mostly PC-free options include Save and Share. Save lets you copy the contents of a memory card to your PC, while Share lets you e-mail photos from the card. While you can initiate both tasks from the printer, they both then direct you to your computer monitor, where HP's bundled software programs pop up to help complete the task. You cannot, however, save the contents of a memory card to a USB drive, as the printer will give you an error message if both are inserted at the same time.
One feature the D7360 lacked that most photo printers have is the ability to sort the contents of a memory card by date, then print only those photos taken on a certain date or within a date range. This feature would be handy if you tend not to dump the contents of your cards regularly, instead just continuously adding to them.
The HP Photosmart D7360 offers surprisingly fast text print speeds for a photo inkjet -- 5.15 pages per minute, as opposed to the 2.96ppm posted by the Epson Stylus R380 and the 2.86ppm offered by the Canon Pixma iP6700D. Unfortunately, the same did not hold true for 4x6 photo printing. The Photosmart D7360 printed 4x6 images at a mere 0.54ppm, while the Epson and Canon models churned out photos at 1.35ppm and 1.83ppm, respectively.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
||4x6 photo speed||
Overall, we were impressed by the Photosmart D7360's print quality. The text quality was especially surprising: letters were cleanly formed with sharp edges and near-laser quality. The only thing we would have preferred is for the text to be a bit darker. The colour graphics print also impressed us with smooth gradients and curves. The photo elements were nicely rendered with impressive colour handling. The only problem we found was noticeable graininess in blocks of colour. The 4x6 photo prints were also quite pleasing, definitely good enough for a snapshooter or an amateur photo hobbyist. Details were sharp, and colours were realistic, even with skin tones. The only major flaw we noticed was, again, the obvious graininess in large blocks of colour, most noticeably on faces.
Service and support
HP backs the Photosmart D7360 with a standard one-year warranty, which is on a par with the competition. You can extend your warranty to as long as four years. While under warranty, you can get free, toll-free phone support 24/7. HP's Web site has downloadable drivers, software, and manuals; e-mail tech support; online chat with tech support; FAQs; and a troubleshooting guide.