Product Reviews

Product Reviews

In Brief

HP blows away its old model 350c portable printer model with an all-new, elegant, optionally battery-powered, high-resolution, color inkjet. The Deskjet 450 supports wireless connections, lets you print from many handhelds, and even has a power option for cars and some airlines. If you donít mind lugging around another 5 lbs., plus paper, this is the printer youíve been waiting for.


Model 450Ci, $299 (standard
Model 450Cbi, $349 (includes
   Lithium-ion battery)

Lithium-ion battery, $79
Carrying case, $99
Travel holder for black or
   photo ink cartridge, $14.99
12-volt auto/airline power
   adapter, $92
Ink cartridges:
   Black (HP56), $19.99
   Tricolor (HP57), $31.99
   Photo (HP58), $31.99

Palo Alto, Calif.


Check out two Bubble Jet portable inkjet printers from Canon, the 2.1 lb., $349 BJC-55 and 3.1 lb., $299 BJC-85. They both weigh less than the HP Deskjet 450, but they offer print resolution of only 720 x 360 dots per inch.

Key Specs

41200 x 1200 dpi resolution for black text

44800 x 1200 ďoptimizedĒ dpi for photo printing on premium glossy paper

49 ppm black, 8 ppm color

413.3" W x 3.2" H x 6.5" D

4.2 lbs. without battery
4.6 lbs. with battery

4Battery rated for 350 pages per charge

4Power consumption:
Printing, 25 watts
Idle, 5 watts
Off, 2 watts (on a.c. power)

4Black in cartridge rated for 450 pages

4Duty cycle: 500 pages/mo.

4 MBytes ROM
16 MBytes RAM

4Input: 45-sheet tray

4Media: 17 lb. to 24 lb.

4One-year limited warranty, free 7-day phone support for one year




Hewlett-Packard Deskjet 450 Mobile Printer


By Joel Shore

October 25, 2002

Youíre flying coach, sandwich in one hand, pecking at your laptopís keyboard with the other. That crucial report, with its photos, text, and charts, had better be ready. But where to print it? Hewlett-Packard is betting that its completely redesigned Deskjet Mobile Printer is the answer. If you donít mind lugging 5 lbs. of gear, HP might just be right.

Designed for mobile professionals, HP is positioning its Deskjet 450 printer as a compact powerhouse full of features for fast, hassle-free mobile printing. The unit delivers 4,800-optimized dot-per-inch resolution, true-to-life six-ink printing (when using the special photo cartridge, sold separately), and a long-lasting lithium-ion battery.

Connection flexibility. The idea behind the Deskjet 450 is to allow busy professionals to print from a variety of wired and wireless devices, including notebooks, handhelds, certain mobile phones, and some digital cameras. An auto/airline adapter and carrying case support are available for truly portable printing. Parallel, universal serial bus (USB), and fast infrared connections are standard. If you want to go wireless, a Bluetooth connectivity option is available. For additional added convenience, HP offers high-capacity ink cartridges that print up to 400 color pages.

The marketing folks at Hewlett-Packard really got it right when it comes to digital photography. Thereís a slot on the back of the printer where you can insert the CompactFlash memory card from your digital camera (Smart Media doesnít work). You can then print your photos immediately without first loading them into your computer (though you canít crop them or fix problems like red-eye). Pop in the special photo ink cartridge and some high-gloss photo paper and you can print those camping-trip pictures, well, while youíre still camping. It sure would have been nice to have this slot on the front or side of the printer instead of at the rear. But youíll have no problem with it.


Print photos without a PC. If your digital camera uses a CompactFlash memory card, you can plug it into the back of the Deskjet 450 and print your pictures without first uploading them to your computer.

There is one catch: Printing directly from the Compact-Flash card requires that your camera support a specification called DPOF (Digital Print Order Format). HPís current cameras all support this standard; if your digital camera is another brand, check its documentation. Of course, you can always upload the pictures to your computer and print them the old-fashioned way.

Have battery, will travel. The 450Ci model includes an a.c. power adapter, but not a battery. Thatís fine if you donít plan to use the printer away from a power source. But thatís not what this printer is all about. The reason youíll buy this printer is to use it anywhereóand that means running on battery power. You can buy a battery separately, or simply get the 450Cbi, which includes a battery.

The charcoal-gray battery module is eight inches long and roughly 3⁄4" in diameter. Thereís a set of four copper electrical contacts at one and and a thumb-operated spring-loaded latch at the other. It takes about two seconds to attach it to the rear of the printer. Be sure to give the battery a complete charge before its first use. And if the battery feels warm when charging, donít worry: thatís normal.

Thereís one thing about the battery that I didnít like. The green LED indicator is ON when the battery is charging and turns OFF when the battery is fully charged. Isnít that completely backwards? My son, when he was two, learned ďgreen means can go!Ē If HP wanted the light to extinguish when the battery is fully charged, they should have used a red, not green LED. It would then show red when there is less than a full charge. An maybe even flash when power was about to run out completely.

Quality results. The question, of course, is how good a job such a small printer produces. Well, itís great. Text was sharp. Charts, with their large areas of solid color, were bright and vivid. Photos, even with the standard tricolor ink cartridge, looked very good. When we used the special photo ink cartridge, results were excellent. But if youíre going to spend the money it takes to run the photo cartridge, donít print on anything less than ultra-glossy photo paper. Otherwise youíll be disappointed. Photos demand gloss paperóon any inkjet printer.

The Deskjet 450 isnít exactly a speed demon. After all, it was built for portability, not for speed. But medium speed is better than no printer, isnít it?

Where to use it? Iím not sure that Iíd want to drag any printer onto an airliner, especially in an age where everything you carry on is subject to an intense security examination. But I sure do like the idea of keeping the Deskjet 450 in my car. I canít think of anything better than printing an up-to-the-second sales proposal, contract, or other time-sensitive document just moments before walking into a clientís office. And with the Deskjet 450, I can be sure that Iím in no way sacrificing quality for timeliness.

Or how about this: At the local youth soccer league, the players (well, the parents, really) are into keeping statistics. They do this by hand and then run to the nearest school to make copies. The battery-powered Deskjet changed everything. First, we set up an Excel spreadsheet on a laptop PC. Then, when the game ends, the statistician immediately cranks out copies on the Deskjet. Well, theyíre not really copies; each parent gets an original and gets it without delay. And all in attendanceóespecially the kids (they get ice cream sundaes)óare happy.

Not everyone needs portability in an inkjet printer, but if the idea has you hooked, Hewlett-Packardís Deskjet 450 is the only way to ďgo.Ē<

Yeas & Nays


4Great print quality

4Easy connectivity with wires or without

4Battery prints up to 350 per charge

4Fold-up feeder tray holds 45 sheets

4Prints photos directly from CompactFlash memory card

4Photorealistic printing with PhotoREt IV six-ink cartridge


4Expensive ink

4Do you need this level of portability?

Ink deep in cash?

Do you get the feeling you're getting the printer nearly free but paying a fortune for ink? You just might be right:

In the second quarter of 2002, ink supply sales represented 53 percent of total revenue at printer maker Lexmark. In other words, the company sold more ink than it did printers! For the first six months of 2002, Lexmark's inkjet supply sales were $1.1 billion, more than $300 million higher than printer revenues. (Associated Press report, Oct. 10, 2002)


Meet our Editors | Privacy policy | Legal notices | E-Mail Webmaster
© 1999 Ė Reference Guide