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HP Envy 120 e-All-in-One Printer review

Home OfficeReviews
5/10
by M. David Stone, 10 Apr 2013Reviews
HP Envy 120 e-All-in-One Printer review

The HP Envy 120 e-All-in-One Printer stands alone as virtually its own category of inkjet – at least, if you don't count earlier models, like the HP Envy 110 e-All-in-One Printer that it's in the process of replacing. The one-word description of the category: Stylish. If your home office is in a corner of your family room, and you want a printer that your interior decorator would approve of, the Envy 120 is probably it. Whether it's worth the price, however, depends on how much you value good looks.

From a quick glance, The Envy 120 could pass for a nicely designed, if slightly oversized, Blu-ray player. When it's off, it's simply a rectangular box, measuring 427 x 336 x 109mm (WxDxH), and made mostly of black plastic. There are no visible paper trays, no front panel buttons, and no other visual clues – aside from some easy to overlook text on the front – to give away the fact that it's a multifunction printer (MFP).

Get a little closer and you can see a glass panel on the top, which happens to be a see-through lid for the letter-size flatbed scanner. Unless you've already seen that kind of scanner before, however, you probably wouldn't recognise it as one.

When you turn the printer on, by tapping on the touch-sensitive power icon, the 4.3in colour touchscreen on the front panel lights up to show some pretty icons including two labelled Scan and Copy. In addition, almost the entire front section of the printer opens up to about a 45 degree angle (which you can adjust manually if you care to). But there's still no visible input or output tray.

Only when you actually print something does the Envy 120 reveal itself as a printer, automatically closing the front panel lid, then opening it to 90 degrees, and swinging out an arm in front of the printer to catch the pages coming out. When you take the pages off the arm, it then rotates the arm back into the printer, and partially closes the front lid again.

If you feel around under the lid, you'll find the paper drawer, which works like a DVD tray. There's even a touch-sensitive eject button you can use to tell the printer to move the front lid out of the way and eject the tray. You can then fill it with paper, touch the button again to close the tray, or push the tray in just a little, and let the printer grab it and take it the rest of the way.

Unfortunately, although these snazzy features add to the cost, they don't do anything for printing or for other basic MFP capabilities. That leaves the basics for the Envy 120 comparable to what you'll find in much less expensive printers.

Basics

In addition to standard printing, copying, and scanning, the Envy 120 lets you print from and scan to memory cards and USB memory sticks, as well as preview images on its LCD before printing. It also supports HP's web apps and printing through the cloud. However, it only offers Wi-Fi for a network connection, which means you can't use the web-related features unless you have Wi-Fi on your network. Partially making up for that is support for Wireless Direct (HP's version of Wi-Fi direct), which means that if you don't have Wi-Fi on your network, you can still connect directly to the printer by Wi-Fi to print from a phone or tablet.

Paper handling is a mixed bag. On the plus side, the printer offers automatic duplexing (for printing on both sides of a page) as a highly welcome extra. However, the 80-sheet input tray limits the printer to light duty printing at best even by home or home-office standards. And unlike most printers, the Envy 120 is limited to a maximum of letter-size paper. As is typical for printers designed primarily for home use, there's no automatic document feeder to supplement the letter-size flatbed.

Setup and output quality

For my tests, I connected the Envy 120 to a Windows Vista system by USB cable. Setup was standard for an inkjet. Print speed, unfortunately, was notably slow for the price. I timed the printer (using QualityLogic's hardware and software for timing) at just 2.1 pages per minute (ppm), the sort of speed you’d expect to see from a much cheaper printer than this. Print speed for photos was also on the slow side, at an average of 2 minutes and 2 seconds for a 4 x 6.

Output quality is a little below par overall, mostly because the text is a step below the range that includes the majority of inkjet printers. Most people would consider it good enough for day-to-day business, home, or school needs. However, it's not suitable if you have an unusual need for small fonts, or you need the kind of crisp output that looks professional.

Graphics output is absolutely par quality, making it suitable for almost any home need and most internal business needs. Depending on your level of perfectionism, you may or may not consider it good enough for PowerPoint hand-outs and the like. Photo quality is roughly equivalent to what you would expect from drugstore prints.

Verdict

As should be clear, the HP Envy 120 e-All-in-One Printer is a little like a high-priced restaurant dish with great presentation but merely adequate taste. It’s slow and its printing performance isn’t great. However, if you must have a printer that looks like a stylish consumer electronics device, the HP Envy 120 may be the only inkjet that fits the description. And that may be enough to make it your preferred choice.

Specifications

Manufacturer and Model

HP Envy 120 e-All-in-One Printer

Print Duplexing

Automatic

Printer Category

Inkjet, All-In-One

Direct Printing from Cameras

No

Inkjet Type

Photo All-Purpose

Color or Monochrome

1-pass colour

Connection Type

USB, Wi-Fi

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