How to Shop for a Photo Printer

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Fancy Features

Printers cost more when they come with features like an extra-wide paper tray, a tray for 4-by-6-inch paper, camera card slots, a direct-print port, six- to eight-cartridge printing, and a built-in mini LCD--from $50 more up to hundreds of dollars more.

We talked before about built-in camera card slots. If you want to put your camera's memory card right into your printer--whether to print directly from there or to transfer the pictures on the card to your hard drive--this is a feature to look for. The $80 HP Photosmart 7260 has card slots, for example. Just make sure the camera card slots in the printer will work with your camera's memory card before you buy the printer. Most printers with card slots accept all the common kinds of camera cards, but it's always wise to double-check.

If you want a photo printer that you can use without your PC, you can opt for a printer with an LCD screen. LCD screens will drive up the printer's price by at least $30 to $50, and the screens are almost always quite small, usually only 1.5 inches by 2 inches or so. These screens are useful for previewing your photos and performing basic photo-editing tasks. The $240 Canon I900D, for instance, comes with a 2-inch LCD.

At a Glance
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