Unpacking and re-packing hardware is not my favourite task which is why I tend to put off doing hardware reviews for as long as possible.For the last few weeks I’ve been looking at a boxed Hewlett Packard 350Cbi DeskJet printer and trying to find the will to get started on it. In true newshound tradition it was just a few hours before deadline when I finally opened the box and started trying to fit the parts together.
The 350CBi is a portable printer which consists of the 149x309x66mm printer with a clip-on 30-sheet paper feeder, battery, power cable, infra-red printing attachment, and a print cartridge storage box. Installation was pretty simple and the only hassle I had was figuring out how to attach the sheet feeder to the printer.
The printer comes with separate colour and black cartridges but it can only mount one at the time so you’ve got to swap them. The black cartridge is used for printing mono-colour documents and most people will probably end up using that the most.
You slot the colour cartridge in when needed but it is an idea to use it as sparingly as possible because of the fact that it reproduces blacks by mixing the coloured inks together and therefore uses up the cartridge quicker.
The 350CBi has a print resolution of 600dpi x 600dpi in black and 600dpi x 300dpi in colour and I was fairly happy with the quality it produces. Black print is about as good as that produced by my own HP 710C while colour is noticeably inferior, but probably still good enough for most business uses.
One snag I came across during the test was that the printer often thought there was no paper in its sheet feeder despite the fact that there was. Fiddling solved the problem but I’m not used to having to fiddle with HP products.
I was unable to test how well the machine performs on its battery because that didn’t work at all and I wasn’t able to test the infra-red printing facility because I haven’t got a laptop. Taken all in all, however, the printer is pretty nice and would most likely do you very well if you needed a portable machine.
Last time I talked about backing up valuable data and a new automatic remote backup service that I’d been using. In response, I got an interesting e-mail from reader Mark Sandison about the backup strategy he uses.
In the last 10 years he has apparently had three total hard drive failures and has had to reformat his system up to thirty times. His first move was to buy an HP Colorado tape backup system and he still uses that but he found that it takes 3,5 hours to back up his system and 15 hours to restore it.
To speed things up he has now installed a second hard drive and uses Norton Ghost to make an exact copy of his system onto the second drive. It now takes only about 13 minutes to back up or restore his system.
I heartily endorse Mark’s comments that Norton Ghost (or similar) is the quickest way to recover from a total system disaster and you should going that route if speed is at all important for you. I also have a second hard drive in my machine with Ghost and a copy of my system for use if the worst happens.