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Sunday, October 16, 2005

HP PhotoSmart 475

It’s hard to believe a gadget this small could put out 5 x 7 prints. Measuring 9.8 x 4.5 x 4.8 inches, the 3.3-pounder is easy on the eyes and on the arm. A built-in handle makes it easy to tote but it doesn’t feel like it could stand a bumpy ride in the family minivan. HP packed my review unit in a nifty—and well-padded—case which I’d recommend as an option to protect what feels like flimsy paper trays and guides.

Connectivity options are standard including a USB port, PictBridge compatibility for connection to PictBridge cameras and card slots for SD, CompactFlash, Memory Stick and XD. If you have an old Fuji or Olympus Smart Media-based camera, you have to hope it has a USB jack because there’s no slot for the retired format.

Additional features include a composite video out jack for connection to a TV and the ability to save pics to CD-ROMs using an external burner. The latter is one of those more-trouble-than-it’s-worth features. I can’t see finding another outlet, hooking up a CD burner and starting a slow burn. It’s much easier to use a PC and mouse, but it’s nice to have the choice. If your PC hard drive is overweight, the feature is that much more appealing.

Internal storage is useful for those who don’t want to have to boot up a PC just to dump photos from the camera’s memory card. Organizing 1,000 images after transfer from the memory card or camera can be tedious. The HP software organizes pics according to month, which helps, but the process is clunky using directional buttons and a 2.5-inch LCD screen.

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