By July 12, 2010

HP Photosmart A532 review

HP Photosmart A532 review HP have been producing their Photosmart range of printers for years, in fact if you were to take a look at HP’s site you would see that there are over 18 past models that are now discontinued. They’ve come a long way too, not just in terms of the picture quality and speed but also in terms of the purchase price and running cost.

Take this HP Photosmart A532 for example, sent us this one as they had just been able to secure a deal with HP that has allowed them to sell the A532 for an incredible £44.99. You might think that with the printer being so cheap that the consumables would be staggeringly expensive but in fact the ink cartridge is only £15 and we’ve been able to get close to 150 full photo prints from that one cart, 10 pence per photo (ink cost) for the ability to print you photos immediately is brilliant I think.

Don’t forget that you can enter our competition and win one of these great little printers too.

The HP Photosmart has been around for a little while but is still very much a current model. Let’s take a closer look…

The 10 Second review

Device: HP Photosmart A532

Price: £44.99

Summary: Great little portable photo printer that allows you to instantly print your photos straight from your camera without needing your PC

Best of: Fast print speed, great quality, inexpensive prints

Worst of: HP branded paper is a must, only comes with an ‘introductory’ ink cartridge

Buy it now from:


What’s in the box?

  • Printer
  • HP 110 print cartridge
  • 5 x 7 sample paper pack
  • Mains adapter
  • CD-Rom
  • Manual

To see how easy it is to set the Photosmart A532 up and what the prints are like you might want to check out Matt’s unboxing video.




As with all the dedicated photo printers in the Photosmart range the A532 is a small and compact unit. Light enough to carry around if you wanted to on the top there’s a carry handle too.

A colour display sits in the centre of the unit and can be angled for ease of viewing. A series of buttons also surround the screen.

HP Photosmart A532 review-angled


On the front of the unit there is a cover that, when opened, forms the output paper tray. On the left you’ll find a USB connector that supports both USB sticks and Pictbridge cameras via USB Cable. There are two slots for memory cards. On the right there’s a ‘door’ to access the printer cartridge.



On the back is the paper input tray which holds up to 10 sheets. On the right side a USB socket for connecting to a PC/Mac and the power socket.




  • Fast printing
  • Convenient
  • No PC required (PC printing possible)
  • Good quality prints



  • Doesn’t come with Windows 7 Drivers
  • No Compact Flash memory card support
  • Comes with ‘introductory’ ink only



Like the other dedicated photo printers in the Photosmart range the A532 is exceptionally easy to set up. All you have to do is take everything out of the box, plug in the power supply and then install the printer cartridge. You have to put in a sheet of photo paper and allow the ink cartridge to go through an alignment routine which will waste one of the few sheets of photo paper that the printer ships with but following this the printer is ready to go.

There’s no need to connect it up to your PC, although you can do so if you wish, you can simply take the memory card from your camera and slot it in to the printer. This is fine as long as you have SD, XD or MSPro type memory cards but if you have a Compact Flash memory card you are going to be out of luck. However if your camera supports pict bridge, which most of them do, you can print from the camera itself if you connect the camera to the printer with a USB cable, using the front, not the rear USB socket.

If you want to print photos from your PC (or Mac) then you can do that too and if you have Windows XP or Vista then the A532 has a really nice option. When you first plug in the printer to your PC it detects as a CD-Rom drive and then drivers can be found within a folder on that drive. This means that there’s zero download for XP and Vista and that there’s no disk to go missing over time. If you have Windows 7 then the driver is NOT supplied but you are instead automatically directed to the correct page on the HP site so that you can download the driver. It’s also a fairly small file so you can get up and running in no time. As you would then expect it appears in your printers folder like any other printer would.

Personally I think that the stand-alone functionality of this printer is one of the best features though. Matt and I take a lot of photos of our young daughter and as Matt said in his unboxing video, we don’t often get a chance to have our photos printed. With the A532 though I have been able to leave the printer sitting out of the way on the edge of my desk, plugged in, and have simply been able to pop in the memory card from my camera to print the odd photo. It would not otherwise be worth the effort to get them printed online through a photo service especially when you consider postage costs.

When you first pop the memory card in to the printer it will take a few seconds to read the images. It’ll tell you how many photos you have and will display a preview of the first one on the little LCD screen. Scroll through the images to find the one you want and press the print button. The photo will start printing within a few seconds and the display will tell you roughly how long the photo will take to print. In most cases the prints take about a minute each but I also noticed that the file size of the original image does affect the print time, presumable because the larger files take more processing.

The A532 prints borderless on 6×4 and 5×7 photo paper. It’s good to see that 5×7 is supported as older and lesser models were only able to do 6×4, at least here you have some options.

The printer does have some photo enhancing features such as red-eye removal and photo enhance, you can also add effects and borders if you wish to do so. In practice however I found that printing the images straight from the memory card yields the best results, perhaps because of the high-end camera they came from.

In terms of the quality of the prints they really are great. You have to look very closely to see the tiny dots of in that make up the image and HP’s claim of lab-quality photo prints isn’t unjustified at all. The colour reproduction is good and quite faithful and the ‘Viera’ ink dries instantly so you don’t have to worry about handling the prints the minute the photo comes out. They are even water-resistant too.

My only criticism, if I am being picky, is that the photos do come out a little darker than I would like them to be, not terrible by any means but I would prefer to be able to lighten them a little. Of course this can be done through Windows printing but not if you are printing direct from a memory card. I am being overly fussy here though.



I liked this little printer and it is exceptional value at its current price of under £45 with It was very easy to get out of the box and start using. I enjoyed how easy it was to link it up to the computer so that I didn’t have to transfer photos that I already have on the PC to memory card just to print them.

It’s a shame that HP only bundle about 6 sheets of photo paper and an ‘introductory’ ink cartridge to get you started but the price tag should be taken in to account here too.

All-in-all this is a printer that we’ve now been very pleased to add to our collection of kit and that we’ll be using regularly from now on.


Review by: Tracy

[ Post Tags:, Competition, HP Photosmart, ]

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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