printers

HP A646 Compact Photo Printer Review

A small printer that can handle most of your on-the-fly photo printing needs with notably good performance.

December 08, 2011

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Depth of Blacks

Sample Scan Comparisons
A646-SS.jpg

The HP Photosmart A646 impresses in depth of blacks with a DMax measure of 2.88, which is impressive for any printer, more so a compact. This score is important, as the deeper the blacks are, the wider the contrast ratio of your pictures will be, making it easier for the printer to re-create moments exactly as you remember them. More on how we test depth of blacks.

Detail

Perhaps it's a function of trying to cram everything a printer needs into a tiny package, but the detail performance of the HP Photosmart A646 is average at best.

Cyan {{product.attachments['Cyan Gradient']}} {{product.attachments['Cyan Gradient']}} {{product.attachments['Cyan Gradient']}} {{product.attachments['Cyan Gradient']}}
Magenta {{product.attachments['Magenta Gradient']}} {{product.attachments['Magenta Gradient']}} {{product.attachments['Magenta Gradient']}} {{product.attachments['Magenta Gradient']}}
Yellow {{product.attachments['Yellow Gradient']}} {{product.attachments['Yellow Gradient']}} {{product.attachments['Yellow Gradient']}} {{product.attachments['Yellow Gradient']}}
Black {{article.attachments['ORIGIONAL-BLACK-GRADIENT.jpg']}} {{product.attachments['Black Gradient']}} {{product.attachments['Black Gradient']}} {{product.attachments['Black Gradient']}} {{product.attachments['Black Gradient']}}

Considering its performance in other areas, it's hard to complain, but you may notice a bit of detail loss in high-contrast patterns or gradients. Below are some scans to illustrate what we mean.

Notice how the ends of thin lines and sharp edges get lost in the print, making the picture suffer a loss of dilineation between black areas and white. Because of this, small details like the white hairs on the dog's forehead get completely crushed into the surrounding darker colors.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Product Tour
  3. Performance
  4. Print Speed
  5. Color Performance
  6. Detail Performance
  7. Usability
  8. Controls
  9. Connectivity
  10. Setup & Software
  11. Inks & Media
  12. Samples
  13. HP A536 Comparison
  14. Epson PM 225 Comparison
  15. Polaroid Z340 Comparison
  16. Conclusion

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Compare Prices

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

What's Your Take?

All Comments