HP Photosmart C4599 Performance and Conclusion

February 6, 2009 by Sarah Meyer Reads (29,579)

Printer Performance

HP says the C4599 can print up to 30 pages per minute in black ink.  The keywords in most print speed descriptions are “up to”.   I test each printer’s black ink print speed with the same test job.  Each page of the job has only black text – no colors, no pictures.

The C4599 printed a measly seven pages per minute in normal mode.  That jumped up to 20 pages per minute in fast draft mode.  It took about a minute and half to print 30 pages in fast draft mode.

In all honestly, fast draft mode will save you time and money because it uses less ink and prints over double the amount of pages in the same amount of time.

HP’s draft mode is quite good as you can see from the picture.  The only noticeable difference is the bold headlines – in the draft mode version on the right the headlines are lighter.  As a student or professional, using draft mode on all black and white document print jobs – except for presentations perhaps – makes sense.

The text on the left is normal mode, the text on the right fast draft mode

The 48-bit scanner on the C4599 is decent when using the HP solution center software provided.  There are preset options and shortcuts or the user can manually set settings depending on what the job calls for and the user’s skill.  The optical resolution ceiling is 1200 dpi but don’t forget it is an all-in-one printer priced under $200 and 1200 dpi should be fine for the typical user. The maximum document scan size is 8.5 x 11.7 in.

The standalone copier was good; it took about 13 seconds to copy a document and print it from when I hit the copy button.  The copies were almost as good as the original if copying text.  When copying handwriting or photos, there is loss of quality but that’s to be expected.

The photo color was good, especially the reds, they were much brighter than other inkjets I’ve reviewed.  I did notice some clarity issues, specifically with the 4 x 6 in. prints.  In a couple of outdoor shots where there were blue skies or white snow it seemed like the printer was trying sharpen the image but instead parts of the snow and sky looked grainy.

The 8 x 10 in. prints of the same images were great so it was sort of strange.  And it only happened with three outdoor shots where there was a good amount of background space.

UPDATE: It may have been the paper I was using for those particular shots.  I went back and reviewed all the photos and the problem shots were printed on a different photo paper than the rest. 

The HP Photosmart Essential was helpful with editing and selecting photos for printing.  Honestly, to get a quality print, the camera the image was taken on and the size of the image are just as important as the printer and software included.

The built-in card reader worked, I could pull up images from the card and print without using my computer.  With a small LCD, it’s almost easier to use your PC.  Also, there was no PictBridge/USB option – but again not a huge deal since I’d rather print from my PC using the HP Solution Center.

Noise wasn’t too big of a factor with the C4599, it was fairly quite except when in fast draft mode, but most draft modes I’ve tested have been louder than normal printing modes.

Pros

  • Compact, stylish
  • Affordable all-in-one
  • Good printing solutions

Cons

  • Had some issue with grainy 4 x 6 in. prints
  • No paper tray
  • No PictBridge/USB option

Conclusion

The Photosmart C4599 is a decent choice as a home printer.  HP includes a scanner and copier along with the print capability and they have partnered with Apple and MySpace to give users printing solutions they can’t find elsewhere.

The photo quality was good and the print speeds in draft mode were decent for such a compact printer.  This might not be a great office printer since there is no paper tray, automatic duplexing or fax capability but it isn’t really targeted at that market.

Pricing and Availability

The HP Photosmart C4599 limited edition all-in-one printer retails for $149.99 on the HP website

Ink costs vary on HP’s website depending on type of printing you want to accomplish.  The cheapest black ink and color ink cartridges start at $14.99 and 19.99, respectively.  If you want high volume black and color cartridges, the prices jump up to $34.99 and $40.99 but you do get more bang for your buck so to speak.

HP photo paper also varies depending on the quality.  The cheapest paper I found was a 20 pack of high gloss 4 x 6 in. with tab paper for $7.99.  The cheapest 8.5 x 11 in. paper was found in 15 packs of glossy or soft gloss paper for $10.99.


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