At 16.5 inches wide, 10 inches deep, and 6.5 inches high, the PSC 1350 is one of the smallest and simplest multifunction printers CNET has seen. Symmetrically shaped, it resembles an attractive gray shoe box with a silver top encased in a sheet of stiff plastic. The plastic sheet is actually the scanner lid, which lifts at the long edge to reveal a letter/A4-size glass. The scanner lid's left edge displays a column of buttons that operate the 1350 without a computer. Four flash-memory slots embedded in the 1350's front read six common digital-camera card formats.
The printer component has a shallow paper tray with flaps that can retract when the tray is empty to restore the shoe-box look. Its paper path deposits prints and copies on top of the paper tray. A panel in the back allows stiff paper to exit along a straight path. A gaping hole above this paper tray provides cramped access to the ink cartridges. Unfortunately, the 1350 can hold only two ink cartridges at a time, so you may have to swap cartridges frequently. HP doesn't provide a photo cartridge; that costs an extra $25.
Installing software for the 1350 is a snap: just insert the CD, turn on the device, and wait while the installer grinds away--our test system took 25 minutes. That's a good time to read the manual, which is surprisingly thorough compared to most recent HP manuals; it has clear, informative chapters devoted to the using the control panel and memory cards and running the 1350's various capabilities.
The PSC 1350 offers plenty of useful features for photo hounds. One is the ability to print photos from CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, Secure Digital, and xD-Digital cards without a PC. Insert a card, push a button, and the 1350 spits out a contact sheet with all the card's images. On the contact sheet, you indicate the desired photos, the kind of paper to use, and whether to arrange them in one of several layout templates. Then scan the contact sheet, and presto: you have borderless photos from your digital camera.
An included software app called Photo and Imaging Gallery includes a vast selection of layouts grouped under cards, album pages, and flyers--all with boxes where you can insert photos and add text. Photo and Imaging Gallery includes tools for cropping, enhancing, and cleaning up photos. Another utility, called HP Memories Disc, moves photos from memory cards directly onto writable optical media, such as CDs.
Installing the PSC 1350 takes time, in part because the printer installs so many applications and utilities on your computer. Most appear within a shell application called HP Director. There's an optical character recognition (OCR) engine that, when you run the Scan Document application from Director, scans pages and sends them to your word processor or spreadsheet laid out more or less as in the paper document you scanned. Director's Make Copies application has some features that the PSC 1350's control panel doesn't offer, such as reducing or enlarging and making more than nine copies. And the Creative Ideas application bombards you with information and tips for all kinds of projects using the PSC 1350.
Unfortunately, the PSC 1350's doesn't perform well, speedwise. It prints text at an almost unbearably slow 1.4 pages per minute (ppm)--less than half the average speed of all the photo printers CNET has tested recently. (Again, that's with the full-size black cartridge installed, which should print text faster than with the optional photo cartridge installed.) And while the Epson CX6400 and the Lexmark P3150 print photos at a snappy 3 minutes per page (mpp), the PSC 1350 limps along, requiring more than 13mpp.
The PSC 1350's print and scan quality fares better in CNET Labs tests. Ordinary text looks sharp and black on plain paper. Some closed areas fill in on very small type sizes, but normal-size text looks as good as that of any inkjet. Colored documents on plain paper have very good detail and surprisingly smooth textures, with no banding or artifacts; their only weakness is that colors, though accurate, don't come through as saturated as they should. And high-resolution photos on glossy paper come out stunning, with perfect color, superb detail and no dottiness, banding, or other detractions. The 1350's grayscale scans capture good detail and distinguish between shades of gray. The 1350 is less capable with color scans: textures look rough and dotty, and subtle details and shading don't survive, though the machine captures colors quite accurately.
CNET clocked the PSC 1350 scanning black documents at a very zippy 5.7ppm and color documents at 1.7ppm. It makes copies at about half a page per minute, which is average for inkjets.
Multifunction printer text speed (Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Note: Pages per minute.|
Multifunction color-photo speed test (Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Note: Minutes per page.|
HP supports the PSC 1350 well. A one-year warranty covers free shipping for repairs and provides 24/7 tech support on a toll-free line. You can extend the shipping and telephone support warranty to three years for $65. E-mail tech support remains free for post-warranty tech support. The PSC 1350's printed documentation is thorough enough to get you started, and the onscreen manuals and help files for each application keep you going. HP's Web site also provides downloads, FAQs, troubleshooting advice, and lots of tips and suggestions.