If ever there was a fully loaded inkjet printer, this is it. So you want photo quality printing (you got it), dual paper trays (naturally), Compact Flash and Smartmedia card readers (of course), and an automatic duplexing unit (all part of the deal). Add to this the optional JetDirect print server for networking, and you have a top-of-the-line colour inkjet.
If you're into hard figures, 2400 x 1200 dpi is undoubtedly one of the highest resolutions around. And at up to 12ppm in mono and 10ppm in colour, the P1100 is also one of the fastest. Utilising enhanced Colour Layering Technology from PhotoREt III (Resolution Enhancement technology) the P1100 is quite capable of producing photo quality images. Its dual paper tray accommodates A4 and photo-size 6x4" glossy paper.
We couldn't help thinking that a duplexer was a strange feature on a photo printer, as photo paper is one sided. However, it does increase productivity and reduces the amount of paper you use.
Probably the most unusual feature of the P1100 is the built-in card readers. Supporting Compact Flash and Smartmedia cards, the P1100 isn't tied to one particular brand of digital camera. Once you slot a card in, the LCD display gives information and instructions enabling you to directly print images in various sizes onto a variety of media without having a PC connected. You can also print a page of index images - thumbnail sized pictures that show you the contents of the card before you print any full size.
The cards can be accessed from a PC just like any other disk drive, allowing you to edit photos before printing. Since there are plenty of buttons on the control panel, we found the process extremely simple, and managed to print a 6" x 4" photo on the special photo size media in just two and a half minutes.
In our tests the P1100 proved itself as a capable machine. A result of 89 per cent in the quality test was an excellent score, and it achieved this by producing excellent mono, colour and business graphics. Due to the high 1200 x 2400 resolution, halftones were excellent, and images were far less grainy than we have previously seen.
Text quality was also brilliant, with even large areas of black displaying almost laser-like density. There was hardly any evidence of banding throughout all the tests, and alignment through the duplex unit was good.
In terms of speed, the P1100 managed 4ppm after printing 10 pages of 5 per cent text. This is not as fast as HP's claim of 6.5ppm in normal mode, so we were a little disappointed that our figure did not match theirs.
Printing on special HP Premium Plus glossy photo paper produced some stunning results. These matched papers really do make a difference to the print quality, and if you want to print photos from your digital camera you really need to use this paper to get the best out of this amazing printer. Otherwise it's a bit like buying a Ferrari and driving it everywhere at 30mph - you never unleash its potential.
We printed some high quality photos on special paper and they looked indistinguishable from silver halide photographs. Compared with the 950C - also an excellent photo printer - the P1100's output displayed colours that were even more vibrant and skin tones that looked just like the real thing.