|Review: HP TopShot LaserJet Pro|
Monday, 16 April 2012 14:00
The HP TopShot LaserJet Pro M275 multifunction printer has been touted by HP as one of the first printers that can capture images of 3D objects.
While it's an excellent device in terms of print quality, one does have to wonder if HP really has reinvented the wheel.
The first impression of the HP TopShot LaserJet Pro is that it doesn't look like a conventional printer. It impresses with its stylish black exterior, slick design and touch-screen tablet interface, used to control printing and scanning. The device is compact, small in dimension, yet deceivingly heavy and requires two people to carry it.
The TopShot scans and prints anything from everyday documents to 3D objects. The printer can be connected wirelessly and can also be connected to HP's Business Apps store. It's very user-friendly and functions at a touch of a button on the printer's touch-screen.
To the test
The top of the printer has a camera arm, which includes an optical lens, a high-resolution image sensor and three LED lights that capture an image. Putting it to the test, it scanned, or more accurately, took a photograph of an object and printed it in a high-definition and true-to-scale image.
The TopShot has a camera embedded in a hinged arm that can be positioned above an object and captures six photographs of said object. These separate shots, taken from several angles, are combined to produce a single shot of the entire image.
Through testing various objects, I discovered that the printer produces better quality images with objects that are solid and not too shiny. The images produced were very detailed with high-definition colour. However, it failed to print glass or mirrored objects. The lighting from the LED flashes was very strong and, in some cases, resulted in over-exposed images, particularly when scanning reflective surfaces.
The TopShot printed and made copies of images very rapidly; however, taking a photograph of an object with a camera or smartphone and plugging it into a PC or laptop and printing it produces the same picture. But the quality of the images, and the fact that it can print to scale, is what differentiates the TopShot.
One of the biggest advantages of the printer is that it eliminates any background detail from the scan, and leaves only a picture of the object itself, which few scanners in the past have been able to achieve.
The device also has the capability to post images directly onto online storage sites using the HP software included with the printer. It comes with HP ePrint, which lets the user connect the printer to a mobile device such as an iPad or iPhone, enabling the user to print from anywhere.
The TopShot can print on a wide range of paper sizes, from 76x127mm to 216x356mm. It can also scan and print business cards.
In a nutshell
Overall, the printer produces high-quality, exceptional images of real objects in accurate size and colour. It is particularly suited to graphic designers, architects, Web designers or advertising industries that are focused on imagery and design.
Pros: Excellent quality printing, high-definition colour
Cons: It's more of a nice-to-have printer unless there's a specific need for the functionality
Price: R4 499
Connectivity: USB 2.0 printing port, 802.11b/g/n wireless networking
Interface: 3.5-inch colour touch-screen control panel with HP Business Apps
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