New and Better? - Hp Office Jet H470 Mobile Printer

By: Alan Wilson

The market for mobile printers is not large and therefore is not well served by the major manufacturers; HP has recently released a new HP Officejet printer into the market as a direct replacement for the HP Deskjet 460c. The H470 comes in three models, the base H470, the H470b that includes a rechargeable battery and the H470wbt that has the battery plus a Bluetooth adapter; none of these printers are cheap with even the basic model costing around ?150. Sceptics might say this is because of the lack of competition in this sector of the market but I suspect that this is closer to the real cost of a printer without the manufacturer relying on selling large amounts of replacement ink cartridges that normally subsidise the retail price of normal printers.

Whilst we are talking about cartridges, the printer comes with an HP337 black cartridge and an HP343 colour cartridge, these are both low capacity cartridges and when it is time to order replacements you should order the high capacity HP338 and HP344 cartridges. The most economical replacements are either theHP twin packs or a good quality compatible cartridge. The printer can also utilise the HP348 photo cartridge but if you wanta mobile printer for photos, youwould be better of with a more photo-specific mobile like the HP Photosmart A826

The actual design of the H470 is very pleasing, the casing is almost identical to the 460c it replaces, but this time HP went for a matte black finish as opposed to silver. The corners are well contoured and the flaps fold neatly into the main body, when closed it looks very rugged and is little bigger than a laptop computer. Having said that when it is complete with battery it weighs over 5.5 lbs so you certainly wouldn't want to be carrying it about all day.

It offers most of the necessary ports, PictBridge USB, standard USB, and an SD/miniSD/MMC slot but does not include a Compact Flash port that was available in the old 460c, so if you are a DSLR user you will have to look elsewhere for your mobile printing requirements.

Print speeds for the H470 are a slight improvement over the 460c with 5.5 pages of text per minute as opposed to 4.8 for the 460c, this is still slower than the Canon opposition, the IP90V that achieves over 6 pages per minute.Presentation, graphics, and photo speeds stayed the same as the 460c, slightly edging out the Canon in presentation and graphics but lagging a little behind for photos.

We were amazed to find that the print quality of the H470's had substantially deteriorated compared to the 460c and was also no match for the Canon. The 460c prints show sharp characters and pure black dark lines, but the H470 printed letters with somewhat fuzzy edges and blurred text in large font sizes. Bold text and light graphics proved an even bigger disappointment, dots appeared on thick edges and picture outlines were jagged and suffered from vertical lines across the page. Photos printed were smooth, but the colours appeared flat and lacked saturation with a grey shadow cast over the images. We found employing the RLT (real Life Technologies) feature improved the situation with portraits, but the general image quality was poor. This only re-enforces our opinion that for mobile photo printing you should really invest ina photo-specific printer.

The H470 would appear then to have taken a backward step compared to it's predecessor in terms of print quality and this is a pity as we like it's overall design and feel, if you are in the market for a mobile printer then hurry up and grab a discounted Deskjet 460cfor under ?100 or take a look at the Canon iP90v.

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