Office Printer Versus Photo Printer Prints

I had the opportunity to examine the differences between two excellent printers: an HP OfficeJet 8500 Wireless and an HP Photosmart C8180. Both are All-In-One InkJet printers made by Hewlett-Packard. The OfficeJet is a printer, scanner, copier, and fax machine with a number of features and the Photosmart is a printer, scanner, and copier machine.

I was curious as to how much of a difference there would be between the 4-colour OfficeJet printer and the six-colour Photosmart printer using the high-end 8.5"x11" HP Premuim Plus High-Gloss photo paper. The test picture I used was a high-resolution version of this picture of a wasp and an ant on a trumpet vine that my Dad took a couple of days ago:

Wasp and ant on a trumpet vine.To avoid any issues with computer printer drivers, I placed the picture on a USB memory stick, inserted it directly into both printers, and used each printer's touchscreen to output the 8.5"x11" borderless print.

The results were very interesting. Both printers outputted correct, excellent colours with at their respective highest resolutions. However, as I predicted, the 4-colour print lacked the depth and vibrancy of the six-colour print. While many would not notice too of a difference, the difference is dramatically best described as the 6-colour print looks real (i.e., its appearance is best described as fantastic) and the 4-colour print is best described as a very good print. Put another way, the 4-colour version looks flat –almost matte, even though it is on glossy paper.

After seeing the 4-colour glossy print looking almost matte, I was curious to see how it would look on matte paper. So, I printed it again on HP Premium Plus matte paper to compare. The 4-colour matte print looked completely matte (as expected) as compared to the glossy print (which was only about 50% glossy). As a result, the 4-colour matte print looked better than the 4-colour glossy print since the latter was only partially glossy in appearance. On the other hand, the 6-colour Photosmart printer's glossy print was beautifully 100% glossy and its matte print was completely matte (both as expected).

While not surprising, the Photosmart printer is the device of choice to output photographs, but, it was nice to see the differences between a standard, office-style printer and a photo printer. Certainly, for lesser pictures or if one could not afford to get an office and a photo printer, one would enjoy prints from the office printer. That said, for pictures that look real, have vibrant colours, and are worthy of framing, the photo printer with high quality photo paper is a must-have to output digital photographs.

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