A few months back I purchased the HP Photosmart 5524 e-All-in-One Printer. For some time before, I had contemplated purchasing a wireless printer (more convenient) with a scanner (there have been numerous times I’ve needed one) and a printer that will allow me to use airprint. After looking around I found this rather stylish all in one printer from HP. For what it’s worth, the printer is a great value purchase. In this article I review it.
The printer has a nice clean and simple design, fairly compact for an all in one printer. Most of it’s construction is a matte texture black plastic with glossy black plastic highlights. For the most part the construction feels fairly sturdy and of an acceptable quality. There’s a small logo on the top and the model number is stamped on the front. On the front you’ll also find a small access panel to insert a memory card, however I did find this little access panel to feel rather cheap and flimsy. On the front you’ll also find the nondescript control panel which has all of the various buttons one might need to operate the printer. Most printer controls however are not physical and are used in conjuction with the touchscreen which although uses a seemingly plastic overlay, it seems to actually be a capacitive touchscreen which is always great as it translates directly to better responsiveness with touchscreens. So overall the look and feel is good, and again a surprisingly small footprint for an all in one printer.
Setting up the printer was very easy (in fact easier than HP makes it out to be). I unboxed the printer, and removed all of the necessary packaging. I inserted the included ink cartridges into their corresponding slots and then plugged in and powered on the printer. The printer took a few minutes to prepare itself, printed out a head alignment page and prompted me to scan the alignment page. Once that was done it took me through a setup wizard to connect the printer to my computer(s) and / or my wireless network. The printer was fast to connect to my wireless network and it then prompted me to setup HP’s Web Print service. I don’t really have much need for the service so I cannot comment on how easy it is to set up that particular service. HP’s Web Print can be skipped fortunately, so I was now all setup and ready to go. I didn’t use HP’s included CD with the printer software on as I knew it would more than likely be outdated. So I visited HP’s website and downloaded and installed HP’s printer / scanner software on the computer(s) on my network. I did notice a slight software difference between the Windows version and the Mac OS X version however. Unfortunately it seems that the wireless “Scan to PC” doesn’t exist for Mac OS X, but you can still use HP’s scanning software (or the scanning software built into Mac OS X) to scan documents over your network. So overall the setup was relatively straightforward.
3. Using The Printer
The printer does use inkjet technology so if you’re printing regularly you may spend a fortune on ink (inkjet printers use ink very quickly). The quality of plain text documents is great, not quite as sharp as a laser printer but still quite impressive for an inkjet printer. The quality of photos is also quite good compared to most inkjet printers, fortunately there are settings you can toggle to optimise the printer for photographs and you can use glossy photo print paper with the printer too. Wireless and wired print jobs are both just as fast, the printer will respond with only a couple of seconds delay and seems to print documents quite quickly too. Air print also seems to work quite well and quite quickly. The scanner is pretty much just like any other scanner, apart from it’s automatic cropping feature which I had only discovered when I was scanning some old family photos. Basically, say you scan a photo that is smaller than the overall surface area of the scanner, the printer detects where the edges of the photo is and crops the resulting scan accordingly. The only issue I had was that the scanner can sometimes get confused as to where the edge is, for example there was a photo that I scanned where there was a white object of some sort in the middle of the photo but the software couldn’t make up it’s mind and effectively chopped up the photo into multiple pieces. The scanner can scan directly to your computer wired or wirelessly and you can also scan to a memory card.
4. The Verdict
This all in one printer is great value for money and is ideal for home use. It is compatible with wide variety of operating systems including iOS and offers potentially useful internet printing services. There are indeed cheaper all in one printer alternatives out there but spending that little bit extra may give you a better experience. I wouldn’t advise this printer in an office setting, as with is being an inkjet, the ink doesn’t last as long and isn’t as cost effective as it’s laser alternative. I had purchased it here and I received an extra pack of A4 paper and an extra set of inks.