Paco prints a pretty picture

Procrastination reared its ugly head when it came to this review. Which honestly makes no sense because I was actually really excited about the HP Photosmart 626 Printer and two photo books that Parent Bloggers Network sent me eons ago. (For those without Dub decoder rings, eons = months.) But having just finished a mammoth scrapbook for Miss Dub's first birthday - nothing fancy, but involving a good 300 photos - I was hesitant to be near pictures again.

Knowing how technology generally works, I feared my late start would be an issue, so imagine my surprise when I set up and printed a picture in less than 15 minutes, with nay a phone call to an HP representative in Bangalore or Boston. It really was super simple. Point 1 for my printer, whom I've lovingly named Paco.

Paco, by the way, is quite small - about the size of a small loaf of bread - which is good since my desk is pretty much rented out currently. He also features a touch screen, which you can control surprisingly easily with your finger or an included stylus. I likes the finger method as it seems more personal.

To print your pics, you just pop in your memory card. This is the only tricky part, and one where Paco is in danger of losing some points. Because I'm a frequent blogger and organizational freak, I upload my memory card about every 10 pictures and promptly delete the entire thing. So unless I've just come from a vacation - oooh, doesn't Chile sound tempting this time of year? - I'm not going to have much to work with, much less enough to make a memory book. If you want to print photos from your computer, you have to purchase a separate USB cable. Sorry, Paco, but I do find that a little disappointing. Then again, we seem to have USB cables coming out the wazoo at our house, and while an overflowing wazoo can be embarrassing, it can also come in handy.

Anyway, whatever method you so choose to use to get your pics up on the printer screen, you can then use the (highly responsive!) touch screen to perform basic photo edits - crop, remove red-eye, control lighting. And there's a feature called Get Creative that allows you to draw, write captions, add pictures frames and a variety of other cool things that I insisted using all at once with tacky results. You can't save the edited pics, but you can immediately print them in their pimped-out glory. Only bummer is that the screen is kind of small so it's a bit harder to see what you're doing than if you used a computer-based program like Photoshop, but it's much, much easier for a photo-editing amateur.

Though printing is slow, the pictures turn out great, which says a lot since I've always preferred to print mine at Costco. But now I feel so empowered because I can change the photo inside a picture frame without logging in online, though I would still opt for a professional if I were printing, say, 2,349 photos. But it could come in handy when you want to quickly share a photo with a friend or print a picture right after taking it.

Thinking about getting yourself a Paco? Well, first you must know that Paco is a one-woman kind of printer so you'll have to find yourself an HP Photosmart 626 Printer named Santos or Vincente. You can look in your Sundays ads for specials on the printer itself. But you can get 20% off the photo books at the HP Home & Office Store if you use this COUPON CODE: AC8595.

By the way, the photo books are pretty cool and easy to use. Each one comes with photo paper and software. With the smaller books, you just print the pics and snap them in. The larger books don't mean larger pictures - Paco does only 5x7 or smaller - but a nice piece of paper that you can scrapbook on and snap into the binding.
(The snapping is a little weird - I felt like I was going to break the book, though I thankfully didn't.)

Oh, and if you don't have the kind of luck I did - and I don't mean to be rude, but pretty much it would take an idiot to have problems - there's a manual complete with a troubleshooting section that is easy to read and follow. You know, if you're the idiot type, and I usually am.

Now, excuse me while I have a romantic breakfast with Paco. He's printing out french toast. What a man!


mothergoosemouse said...

Mrs. Dub, you crack me up. Great review!

tara said...

So... are they better than the kodak-do-it-yourself and have the picture in 2 seconds kind at Sam's club/Cost-co? Just got a "cannon mini pixma" and I'm still trying to make up my mind.

Dani said...

People should read this.