Retailing at around £55, the HP Deskjet 3000 is one of the cheapest inkjet photo printers around. As befits that low price, you don't get anything besides printing facilities (no scanning or copying).

But that aside, you wouldn't guess at the HP Deskjet 3000's low tag just to look at it. Visually it makes a very favourable impression, and its polished black casing and delicately curved styling will look fantastic in both home and office environments.

The HP Deskjet 3000 comes with a 1.5in (3.8cm) mono LCD screen. This is laid flat in the HP, and you can't flip the screen up. This is fine as long as you're able to look directly down on to the printer, but it's quite useless should you want to use the printer from a short distance away.

The HP Deskjet 3000's menu system is quite well thought out, with a set of three buttons to the side of the screen that relate to the options displayed on the LCD. The Quick Forms button gives access to a miniature office suite that allows you to print out calendars, checklists, graph and manuscript paper, and even Sudoku grids without needing to have the PC turned on. It's debatable whether this feature is of any real practical use, but it's still a nice addition that you won't find on the other single function models.

The HP Deskjet 3000's Wi-Fi controls are likely to be far more relevant. The printer can be attached to either USB or Wi-Fi 802.11b/g (but not n) networks. This is a great inclusion that gives it a distinct advantage over the Canon PIXMA iP4850 and Epson P50. The pleasing installation routine gives you the possibility of connecting to Wi-Fi at the touch of a button, and a useful indicator lets you know the strength of the Wi-Fi signal. Not everything is this good, though. The HP Deskjet 3000's rather flimsy paper tray will only hold 60 sheets - a far cry from the more substantial alternatives used on other single-function models.

Given the low price, the HP Deskjet 3000 acquits itself reasonably well in printing quality. It's no winner, though. In both standard and top print modes, the colours are quite eye-catching but perhaps that tiny bit too dark. Dithering is a slight problem for the HP, and colour gradients lack subtlety. Worse, though, the times are rather sluggish, requiring 42 seconds for the middle quality mode alone - the Epson Photo PX720WD's highest quality mode takes less time than that. Glossy pics are colourful but, again, slow.

Perhaps the best reflection of the HP Deskjet 3000's low up-front price tag is the high cost of running it. Needing around 4.7p for a page of mono, and almost 7p for colour, this'll really cost you in the long run, despite it (or perhaps because of it) only having two cartridges to replace.

Next page: Our expert verdict >>

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HP Deskjet 3000: Specs

  • Inkjet photo printer
  • max printer resolution 4800x1200dpi
  • 1.5in LCD screen
  • 60 sheet paper input tray
  • USB
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
  • memory card drive
  • HP Quickform software
  • 2 ink cartridges
  • page costs: £23/480 pages (black), £23/330 pages (colour)
  • standard quality print time 42 secs
  • best quality print time 1 min 22 secs
  • glossy print time 3 mins 12 secs
  • 421x380x266mm
  • 2kg
  • Inkjet photo printer
  • max printer resolution 4800x1200dpi
  • 1.5in LCD screen
  • 60 sheet paper input tray
  • USB
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
  • memory card drive
  • HP Quickform software
  • 2 ink cartridges
  • page costs: £23/480 pages (black), £23/330 pages (colour)
  • standard quality print time 42 secs
  • best quality print time 1 min 22 secs
  • glossy print time 3 mins 12 secs
  • 421x380x266mm
  • 2kg

OUR VERDICT

The HP Deskjet 3000 has a number of nice features that would appear to put it ahead of other single-function photo printers. However, despite the low price, wireless connectivity and versatile user interface, the HP Deskjet 3000 does fall down on speed and running costs. With the latter, in particular, in mind, there are better choices available.

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