HiTi 640PS Photo Printer

HiTi 640PS Photo Printer


Introduction

Hi-Ti had only recently released the 630PS printer, and now hot on the heels of it, follows the 640PS printer. This new version features some aesthetic and technological upgrades over its predecessor, and takes its place as a seriously high-end consumer photo printer.

HiTi640PS_Main.jpg

Hi-Ti 640PS Photo Printer


The 640PS offers quite a few advantages over the 630PS, as it will accept CF/MS/SD/MMC/SM/Micro Drive cards, print at a 33% higher resolution (403x403 dpi) and even offers a per page speed increase to 75 seconds. The unit now comes in a very attractive metallic blue colour, and is more curvaceous than its sibling.​


The 640PS uses the same paper and film cartridge as the previous 630PS, meaning that availability of the media should be quite high.​

Specifications
  • Prints 4" x 6" Photos
  • 75 seconds printing time
  • 403 x 403 dpi
  • Continuous tone dye sublimation printing
  • Smartmedia, CompactFlash Type I & II, Memory Stick, Secure Digital, Multimedia Card and MicroDrive ports
  • DPOF Compatible
  • 1.6" Colour LCD monitor
  • Handheld Controller
  • Dimensions : 224 x 210 x 140 mm
  • Weight : 4000g
  • Software is Windows 98/NT/ME/XP/2000 compatible
The main specification point about this printer is its 403x403dpi resolution, which is almost unheard of for consumer level printers - and compares well with professional photo printers.

The support for virtually all media cards is also a huge improvement on 630PS, as almost any media card will be accepted and read by the printer. Again, this PS model includes the built in computer/LCD controller - which allows for basic photo editing and manipulation without the use of a PC.

Included Items
  • 640PS Photo Printer
  • Power Cable
  • USB Cable
  • User Guides
  • Installation CD (including Photo Desiree software)
  • Warranty Card/Information
  • 10 Print starter pack
The bundle is the same as the previous 630PS offering, and although it includes everything needed, it would have been nice to see a few more printer sheets included. You get 8 sheets of 6x4 paper and one of each of the types of sticker sheets - double this number would have been ideal.

Features

The 640PS has a style upgrade over the previous version, and comes in an attractive metallic blue colour, and is much curvier - a similar look to that of some "Hercules" products. This time, HiTi have integrated a 6-in-1 card reader into the unit, which is able to handle CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Secure Digital, Memory Stick, MultiMedia Card and IBM MicroDrives.

HiTi640PS_Features.jpg

Rear/Front

Again, this PS denomination can print and perform basic image manipulation functions without the use of a PC. The handheld control is attached to the left of the unit, and features a hi-res screen which can display up to 4 thumbnails at a time for browsing, and some useful editing features. Once again, this is an upright design with a paper exhaust in the rear of the unit. This exhaust is used to allow the paper to be passed back, allowing the paper to be printer on several times in one feed (4 passes, one for each colour + coating).​


This printer is DPOF (Digital Print Order Format), meaning that a compatible digital camera will be able to select the photos to be printed, and the printer will automatically choose only those photos you have selected (under the DPOF menu).​

HiTi640PS_MainMenu.jpg

Main Menu


As you can see, the menu interface is extremely friendly - and is navigated by simple icons. From the main menu you can choose "Photo", "ID Photo", "Index Print", "Sticker", "Quick Photo", "DPOF", "Print All", "Setup". These are all straight forward options which are easy to configure. In the setup menu, simple things such as LCD contrast/Language can be adjusted.​

HiTi640PS_SetupMenu.jpg

Setup Menu

If you are using this standalone, you are still able to produce flawless prints from your camera. With most cameras using DPOF, you are able to select the good photos whilst you take them, and then print them with a couple of clicks of the controller.


The special options on the menu, such as ID photo, work especially well. Within a few minutes from taking a photo, you can create 12 x 1" passport size photo faster than you could in a photo booth.​

Installation and Configuration

Installing the film cartridge is exactly the same as in the 630PS, and is extremely easy to do.

HiTi640PS_Film.jpg

Film Cartridge

The film cartridge needs to be loaded in the front compartment of the printer, it is simple a push and click affair. The paper is just as easy to install, and is simply placed in a removable tray at the front of the unit (facing the correct way!). The cartridge above has been adjusted to show the dye on the film, which is normally protected in the top roller.​


HiTi640PS_Loading.jpg

Loading Compartment

As with all of the HiTi photo printers, the PhotoDesiree software comes bundled. This is a slick and efficient piece of software that does exactly what it is designed to do - print photos quickly, and allow fast, simple editing. An easy to use drag and drop interface is used for placing singular photos on a page - these can then be queued up and batch printed.​


HiTi640PS_Software.jpg

PhotoDesiree


The software supports all of the paper media formats available to the printer, including sticker kits and full page photos. Each segment of the paper can be configured independently, so you can fit a few image types on one sheet.​

Performance

The main improvement over the 630PS is, of course, the print quality. Using an image taken with a 4MP camera, it was possible to notice a difference in quality and colour... but only slightly. Both printers produced a superb rendering of the image, although the 640PS was ever so slightly sharper. There is not a consumer inkjet printer out there that could rival this on quality, as this is a pure photo printing solution.

This printer claims a printing time of 75 seconds, down from 100 second in the 630PS. In real world testing, this claim was actually fairly accurate, taking approximately 77 seconds to print an image.

HiTi640PS_Large.jpg

Printing

The printer works on a 4 pass process, one pass for each colour (YMC) and then one final pass for a protective overcoat. Each time a new pass is about to begin, the paper rewinds out the back of the printer to begin the next pass. Watching the image formed one colour at a time is rather fun to watch!

This finall protective coating, the "Magic Coating", protects against UV damage, and gives a certain degree of protection from splashes and accidental finger marks. You can select to print the photos with a matte finish, as opposed to the standard glossy finish. After the magic coat is applied, the photos will stack up on the printer collation tray - ready to have the perforated strips torn off.​

This printer is so much simpler than an inkjet. When the paper runs out, the film cartridge must also be empty - simply purchase a new kit and have another 50 flawless prints. A massive advantage over inkjet printers is that this printer will give the same result every time, inkjet printer images will change massively with different papers/ink cartridges/head
use.​

Conclusion

To full take advantage of this printers high resolution, you need a high end 4MP camera. If you do own a top of the range camera, this is the top of the range printer to pair with it. With a launch price of £299, this is no cheap printer - although you will be getting the best print quality and convenience possible. If you are on a budget, or don't need the stand alone capabilities of this printer, I strongly suggest the 630PL version at £129 - which is unbeatable at this price range.

There was only one flaw I could find with this printer, and that was a problem with dust. Somehow, dust manages to get in the grill over a period of weeks (only a few specs), but once the first image is printed you are able to see the specs of dust embedded in the image. Coving this printer when not in use over a period of time would save you having to worry about a poor first image each time.

The final result from the printer is outstanding, and when paired with a super high-res camera, the results are even more stunning. There is no doubt that this truly rivals a photo lab - but with all the more convenience. If you are after a printer that can print straight from a digital camera, without the use of a PC, I highly doubt there will be a solution to rival this.

Author
Ian Cunningham
First release
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