Product Type: Hewlett-Packard All in one Printer
Newest Review: ... double sided unless asked not to, which again is something I might forget to do normally but is really useful for saving on paper usa... more
Smart Printing At A Smart Price
HP Deskjet 3050A e-All-in-One
Member Name: cazkins
HP Deskjet 3050A e-All-in-One
Advantages: Easy to set up & use, looks good, wireless, decent print quality for home use
Disadvantages: Price of inks (as with any printer) otherwise nothing that I'd class as a disadvantage
Following the untimely death of my last Brother inkjet all-in-one, I went on the hunt for a replacement and came across the HP 3050A on sale. It had a few features that tempted me and a brand name I was fairly confident in so I made the reasonably-priced investment. So far it's been a decent home printer and one I'd recommend if you want decent, simple and reliable printing.
... General ...
HP is a very popular, well-known brand and one with a range of tech/computer products that's continually expanding. I have a fair amount of trust in their relatively positive reputation, so I was confident in giving this printer a go. Reviews will vary depending on what you want the printer for and what you expect for your money of course, but my needs were fairly basic. I wanted something easy to set up, that prints well and reliably, where I can buy ink cartridges that won't need replacing with ridiculous frequency at an extortionate cost, and that has a scanning/copying function too.
... In The Box ...
I wasn't too bothered by the wireless function at first, but given the price and having looked at various alternatives, it was a good buy. I'm very glad to have it now because it really does make things easier and it means one less cable too! Upon opening the box, the first thing I noticed was that the printer came in a bag. In an attempt to be more eco friendly, there seemed to be less waste and packaging and that's always a bonus, plus the bag is quite funky. It's easy to remove and doesn't feel as heavy as I'd expected, weighing in at less than my old Brother printer. Also included in the box are instruction guides for the printer and how to initially set it up, ink cartridges (one black, one tri-colour), a mains wall plug and a USB cable. I was very happy to see the USB cable after reading the most other printers I'd looked at didn't seem to have one. Despite it being wireless, having the option of USB is still important as a 'just in case' measure, especially as I needed it to set up the wireless in the first place.
... Looks ...
The printer looks smart with a black and grey plastic finish and red trim around the top. The paper tray is at a vertical tilted angle at the top, and the paper-out tray can be pulled down from the front to become horizontal. This does mean that you need to factor in the height required to insert paper when thinking about where to store this, especially as the printer itself is quite deep, but being wireless may provide more options considering it can be moved around to anywhere you have a plug socket. I was able to fit my snug in the downstairs desk where the desktop is, close to the wifi router. However, I've actually enjoyed the fact that I can easily move it upstairs if I want to print in my room where I use my laptop because it's quite lightweight and only requires the one cable for the electricity. It does feel quite plastic-y, but that doesn't bother me because it's just about sturdy enough that I don't feel too worried anything will break off unless I'm really clumsy with it, and it helps make it lighter in weight too which I consider to be a good thing.
The Deskjet 3050A is a 3-in-1 machine, meaning you can print, scan and copy in one, with all of the functions being wireless to your device. You'll notice on the top is a screen that lies flat; this is a small square to the front left hand side which you can lift up to make more visible. Using a light touch to one soft-ish button, you can turn the printer on and it will show you that it's warming up. It will then give you options, which you can choose using other light-to-touch buttons (not exactly touch screen, but I'm happy with these buttons for their ease of use). This monitor, at around 5cm, has a mono LCD display that's clear to read and is far more innovative and ergonomical than my last printer. The display on that lay flat and I could never see what was on the tiny screen as words scrolled past!
... Paper ...
The paper is inserted in to the top and comes out horizontally towards the front, using a tray that you can fold down. The tray holds around 60 pages, which is just right for a home / small office printer. When using colour, the machine can print up to 16 pages per minute, which again I find to be adequate for the purpose of the printer.
... Inks ...
This uses two ink cartridges, one black and one coloured (tri-colour). My last printer actually had all separate ink cartridges so you'd only change the one colour that ran out, however they all seemed to disappear pretty quickly even when tending to print only black! I'm therefore not too bothered by this and it makes it more straightforward to just have to change one black or one colour, and the compatible cartridge you're looking for is the HP 301.
... Compatibility ...
The compatibility of the printer is all good if you have a newer version of Windows, with Windows 7 and Vista being fine. Windows 98 / ME and Linux systems, however, don't seem to work with the HP 3050A. I run Windows 7 on my laptop and haven't experienced any problems (touch wood) with software, setting up or general use in terms of glitches, which I'm happy to report!
... Set Up ...
Setting this up was, luckily, made quite self-explanatory and straightforward. You get a basic set up guide sheet, which I would advise using because you need to set a few perameters on the scanner, a factor I hadn't really thought about. So, you get it out of the box, set it up and plug it in, and then wait for the LCD to guide you through it. You will need to scan a sheet of paper to set the size guide on the scanner, which was easy enough to do. You will also need to insert the CD in to the device you need to set up in order to install software and get the wifi up and running. This is the bit that could have gone very wrong and I wasn't much looking forward to it because you think it should be simple enough, and yet wifi set ups can often be a bit of a hassle. I attempted mine first completely wirelessly using the 'HP Auto Wireless Connect' that automatically loads when you've inserted the CD. Unfortunately my laptop and printer weren't getting the wireless connection, so I aborted that (as per the CD) and connected my laptop and printer via the USB that came in the box. A few minutes later, the settings were located so I could take out the USB and, hey presto, it was working! I was a very happy bunny!
... Use ...
The printer takes a few minutes to warm up and you can see it's loading on the small LCD screen. When you go to print something, for instance, wirelessly on your laptop, once the WiFi has been set up your computer should pick up the printer straight away. It's then a few moments before your goods start printing. It is quite loud, and almost clonky sounding, but this doesn't really bother me because it does a decent job. I've mainly used this for text printing and have had no problems thus far. The smaller amounts of images / photos I've printed have come out with reasonably good quality, considering I'm using a home printer and normal paper, so I wasn't expecting top notch quality. All around then, in terms of printing, I'm happy enough. Copying is a doddle by selecting the copy option on the LCD, and again, no problems there.
Scanning is equally easy; you select the scan option and your wireless device's name will come up. You press okay and it starts whirring to life. This part does seem very loud and quite slow to me, but again, it's not something that particularly bothers me. Items are scanned over to my laptop without a problem, as long as the laptop is on that is, and the download file will pop up with the document(s) in there.
On the CD you also get some HP software, so the CD is useful not just for installation but for doing 'stuff' with your stuff afterwards. You get a program called 'HP Creations' which is a nice little bonus if you're looking to create something with your photos.
... Overall ...
All in all, this is a decent printer for use at home if you're looking for something wireless, easy to use and modern in terms of looks and functions. Don't expect anything too extravagant because, like I've said, some aspects like scanning do seem a little slow and noisy, but it's not given me any problems thus far and prints well for my purposes. At the price (£36), I'm glad I bought this one and would give it a thumbs up for anyone considering it.
RRP £49.99, currently selling at Tesco Direct for £36 (and various other places for a similar price)
Summary: A smart multi-function printer without a hefty price tag