The HiTi 730PS Photo Printer
June 2004

Page 1.

 


Want to buy a new printer?

The market is perhaps over saturated with inkjet printers, there should be a printer to suit every pocket and today's printers are all producing superb results, so how do you decide which is the right one for you. HiTi, is not a name that sits on the tip of the tongue when talking about printers. Hi-Touch Technologies is a Taiwanese manufacturer offering an impressive range of Dye-Sublimation printers, which includes; 630PL, 630PS, PhotoShuttle, 640PS (reviewed on photo-i), TransPhotable, 640DL and now a 7x5 - 8x6 printer the 730PS. The 730PS will produce 7x5 prints in 73 seconds and 6x8 inch borderless prints in about 82 seconds. The timings for a 6x4 print are claimed to be less than one minute. Despite repeated attempt's I could not get the printer to produce a 6x4 print. I kept getting the error message about incorrect size media, even though I had used the correct settings and media.

Inkjet printers squirt ink onto paper to produce the picture, the finer the dot, the finer the detail. HiTi Dye Diffusion Thermal Transfer technology uses continuous tone dye ribbons, each ribbon offers 256 levels of Yellow, Magenta or Cyan. This effectively produces 16.7 million colour combinations, giving grain and dot free photographs. This would seem to be a clear advantage over inkjet printers, but how does the HiTi stand up when compared to an inkjet printer. Photo-i has had the 7300PS for a couple of weeks and we have compared the results. The 7300PS has a resolution of 301 x 301 dpi, although this resolution sounds low when compared to HP, Canon and Epson who are producing printers with 2880 or 4800 dpi. To match the Dye Diffusion Thermal Transfer technology, an inkjet printer would need to have a resolution of 4800 dpi. If that statement is true, then does the HiTi also deliver the quality? We will see later in the review.

Setting up

Setting up is a straightforward operation. Insert the installation CD and a full screen of options is presented to you. Click on the Install HiTi Photoprinter and a wizard takes care of the rest. Fortunately the installation does not assign the HiTi printer as the default printer, it is available via the usual Print > Printer Selection drop down list. The installation also installs a rather nifty printing application called Photo Desiree 2.0, I used this for most of the test prints. The user manual is now in HTML format, so it can be read using your internet browser application. A printed multi language Quick start guide is included with the printer.

730 Installation splash screen


The 730PS is supplied with a USB cable (one of the few printers I have reviewed that does), power cord, but no sample paper pack. At least you have the USB cable, although the printer doesn't actually need it , it also operates independently of a computer. I got good quality prints after just two sheets but needed to tweak the images, more about this later. A replacement Photo Paper pack contains 30 sheets and a ribbon cartridge. The 5x7 Photo Paper kit costs £15 - 50p per print, the 6x8 paper kit costs £21, - 70p per print. The best value of all is the 6x4 kit, at £18 for 60 prints, this works out at a modest 30p per print and is a cheaper way of printing 6x4 prints than on most inkjet's, with the exception of the Epson PaperMate which works out at 29p per print. 30 sheets can be loaded in the holder at a time, HiTi puts 30 sheets in each pack, so the entire pack can be loaded to avoid soiling the unused sheets.

No, its not a telephone that prints - just a remote control - well sort of.

Power and Controller connections


Loading the printer

Fitting the ribbon cartridge is a quick job, although the quick start manual was not too clear on where the cartridge should be slotted in. The front of the printer opens out, this is achieved by pressing the large button on the top of the printer. The ribbon cartridge is then slotted in, close the cover and the printer is ready. The power on/off switch is at the rear of the printer as is the USB connection. The controller plugs into the side. I felt this arrangement was untidy when compared with the 640PS arrangement, I would have liked the on/off switch on the front of the printer.

The ribbon cartridge

If you can load film then this is easier

Next load the paper into the cassette, the 730 paper holder has three positions; 6x4, 5x7 and 6x8. A paper guide slider marks the correct setting. Unfortunately the 6x4 ribbon cartridge from the 630 series of printers can't be used with the 730, you must purchase the 730 paper kit. The paper should be handled with care, avoid touching the paper surface. Fortunately the paper has break off tabs, this provides a good holding point. Once the cassette has been loaded it is then closed and pushed into the front slot of the printer.

Adjust the paper guides to match paper

Printer is ready to print.


© Vincent Oliver 2004 www.photo-i.co.uk
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