HP Photosmart 1315

The Photosmart 1315 is extremely versatile, but it's not cheap

WHAT'S HOT: The Photosmart 1315's biggest strengths are its flexibility and its lovely photo glossies, which show great detail, shading, and textures. Unlike most of the photo printers we've tested to date, the Photosmart 1315 prints text adequately and handles narrow parallel lines reasonably well. (As with most printers, text and line art look even better on high-quality paper.) Gray-scale and color graphics display very nice detail and photo shading. The 1315 prints text almost twice as quickly as the other photo models in our review, at a tolerable 4.4 pages per minute (though the 1315's 0.6-ppm graphics speed is less than half that of the Epson Stylus Photo 785EPX at 1.3 ppm).

This printer has so many capabilities that we wouldn't be surprised to discover a built-in can opener somewhere. It has memory-card slots that can read CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, and Microdrive media, plus an infrared reader for printing from infrared-enabled notebooks and digital cameras without wires.

The paper assembly has a bypass for printing just a single sheet and a flap to support banner paper, as well as a little tray for 4-by-6-inch snapshot paper. You can add a duplexer for $99 to print documents on both sides of a page. The LCD control panel on the front of the printer is exceptionally easy to use, thanks to carefully organized menu items and the bright, crisp display, which swivels for easy viewing. The controls let you time- and date-stamp prints; alter images; add borders and some text; and rotate, crop, and group images. Ink costs are reasonable, at 3.6 cents per page of black and 11.4 cents per page of color.

WHAT'S NOT: Text looked a bit grayish and faded in our output tests, especially on bold text and small fonts. The 1315 costs twice as much as some other photo models, such as the Epson. But we think it's well worth the price if you need a high-quality photo printer; and by the time you equip the Epson with an LCD viewer ($100) and a second card reader (about $80), the price differential disappears.

WHAT ELSE: The 1315 comes with ArcSoft's PhotoImpression 3.0 photo editor, which includes tools for editing and layout plus templates you can modify to add special effects for photos or to enter text.

UPSHOT: Expensive for a general-purpose printer, but extremely capable at printing text, graphics, and top-quality glossies; well worth the price if you need a high-quality photo printer.

By Dan Littman

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.