This is the only A4 model we looked at that has memory card slots on its exterior in addition to a PictBridge connection. Plus, the HP boasts a mono LCD status panel. It can't be used for browsing thumbnails, but it's still handy for conveying general information while printing.
The HP is a frontloading model. Paper is fed in with the print surface facing down, then bent back on itself before printing. In theory, this could throw up problems when using photographic papers with a delicate print surface. Plus, it limits the stiffness and thickness of the paper used - although we didn't encounter any problems using HP's own Premium Plus glossy paper. However, the lack of a big paper tray on the rear means the HP can be placed against the wall without fuss.
The HP uses two separate ink cartridges instead of individual units, but it's fairly frugal with the ink and it completed our tasks with plenty in reserve.
The Photosmart bundles the usual hefty mix of HP software, which eats into 250MB of storage. The main highlight is the Photosmart Premier application. This allows you to make basic edits and to catalogue images, as well as apply a handful of filters and effects.
Print quality impressed us and is on a similar footing to the Canon Pixma IP4300, particularly in reproducing fine detail. It is equally adept with colour accuracy, resulting in balanced and saturated images. If we had to find fault, it would be with a slight print texture and lack of contrast.