Bargain-price small-format photo printers don’t offer much beyond the basics. In this the HP Photosmart A526 is typical. Output quality is iffy, speed is average, cost per print is on the high side of acceptable, and its 2.4-inch LCD is underwhelming. It has one big selling point, though: It prints larger-than-standard sizes—namely, 4-by-8 and 4-by-12 panoramas.
At 5.4 by 8.9 by 4.6 inches (HWD) and 2.7 pounds, the A526 is highly portable. There’s no battery option, so you have to print within reach of an outlet. In terms of performance the A526 did pretty well. It averaged 1 minute 24 seconds per 4-by-6. Its cost per print is 29.2 cents, based on a print pack containing enough ink and paper for 120 photos.
In terms of output, prints were mostly of drugstore quality, but darker details tended to blend into shadows. HP claims a long lifetime for the prints (200 years in albums, 50 years under glass), and they’re water- and scratch-resistant.
While the A526 is a perfectly capable small-format photo printer, it simply doesn’t live up to the high standards of its more expensive siblings. Still, if you’re on a tight budget and want to print panoramas, the A526 is worth a look.HP Photosmart A526 Compact Photo Printer ReviewPrice Range: $99.99 directCheck This Out:HP Photosmart Pro B9180 Photo Printer: Picture PerfectHP Officejet J5780 All-in-One: An All-in-One That’s Not for EveryoneHP PHOTOSMART A320: Cheap Portable Photo Printer