Best understood as a home printer with a surprising number of office-centric features, the HP Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One (which can be had for £130) can serve nicely as a home printer, home office printer, or both. It lacks an Ethernet port, but supports Wi-Fi for connection to a network, making it reasonably easy to share, and it delivers on both office-centric and photo-centric features.
The 7520 is the next step up in HP's current line from the HP Photosmart 6520 e-All-in-One. Not surprisingly, it shares a lot of the same features, and adds a few more.
Both include automatic duplexing (for printing on both sides of a page) and a touchscreen control panel, although the 7520's screen is larger at 4.33in. Also very much worth mentioning in this category is HP Wireless Direct, HP's enhanced version of Wi-Fi Direct, which makes it easy to connect directly to the printer from a smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
Added features in the 7520 include a 25-sheet automatic document feeder, for scanning multi-page documents easily, and a built-in ability to fax, both directly from the front panel and from a computer, including over a network. Note too that the automatic document feeder allows manual duplexing for copying and scanning (but not for faxing), which lets you easily scan duplex originals to a file on your computer, as well as copy both simplex and duplex originals to your choice of simplex or duplex copies.
Despite the similarities to the HP 6520, the 7520 is not simply the same printer with a few additions. It has a fundamentally different ink system that affects both print speed and quality. Unlike the 6520, it uses five ink cartridges rather than four, adding a photo black ink to the standard matte black, a trick that's meant to help it print better looking photos.
Basics and e-Basics
In addition to faxing, the 7520 can print, scan, and copy. It can also print from, and scan directly to, memory cards and USB memory sticks, and let you preview photos before printing on its 4.33in colour display. It does not let you print directly from PictBridge cameras, however.
Paper capacity is not a strong point. The meagre 125-sheet input tray limits the printer to light-duty use even by home office standards. However, it's helped a little by a separate 20-sheet photo tray for photo paper up to 5 by 7in. At least you won't have to swap out the paper every time you switch between photos and documents.
Being an e-All-in-One means the 7520 also works with HP Web Apps and HP's version of cloud printing as well as other mobile apps, including Apple AirPrint and the HP ePrint Home & Biz print app (for printing from both Android and iOS devices).
Unfortunately, as with too many of HP's e-All-in-One inkjets, the 7520 doesn't offer an Ethernet connection for a wired network. That means it has to connect by Wi-Fi to use ePrint, AirPrint, or HP's Web Apps, with ePrint and Web Apps also needing an Internet connection to the network. If you prefer to avoid Wi-Fi on your home network for security reasons, that's a problem, since you can't use any of these features over a USB connection. One small consolation is that HP says the HP ePrint Home & Biz print app can work with an HP Wireless Direct connection to the printer, whether you have a Wi-Fi network or not.
Speed and output quality
For my tests, I connected the 7520 by USB cable to a Windows Vista system. Setup was standard fare. On our business applications suite (using QualityLogic's hardware and software for timing), I clocked the printer at 3.7 pages per minute (ppm), making it a tad faster than the Photosmart 6520 at 3.4 ppm.
This actually makes the 7520 faster than some (very slow) colour lasers, but not blazingly fast. The less expensive Brother MFC-J825DW, for example, managed 4.0 ppm on our tests. However, the 7520 was much faster than the Brother printer for 4 by 6 photos, at 1 minute and 7 seconds, leaving the Brother J825DW far behind at 1 minute and 59 seconds.
The printer does even better on output quality overall, thanks to above par-quality for text and photos. The text quality falls at the high end of the range that includes the vast majority of inkjet MFPs. As with any inkjet, it doesn't offer quite the crisp, professional look I'd insist on for something like a resume, but it's easily good enough for almost any business or home use otherwise.
Graphics quality is a half-step below par for an inkjet MFP, but still suitable for most home use or internal business needs. Depending on how much of a perfectionist you are, you may or may not consider it good enough for PowerPoint hand-outs or the like for business use. Colour photos, on the other hand, are top tier for an inkjet MFP. The printer even did a reasonably good job with black and white photos on my tests, which is what inkjet printers most often have problems with.
Based strictly on its print speed, output quality, and convenience features – including the ADF, touchscreen, and the ability to print from and scan to memory cards and USB drives – the HP Photosmart 7520 is certainly worth considering for a home, a home office, or both.
It would earn a more enthusiastic recommendation if HP had also included an Ethernet port, but even without one, it's worth considering whether you have Wi-Fi on your network or not. And if you have Wi-Fi, the web-related features make it that much more attractive.
Manufacturer and Device
HP Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One
Direct Printing from Cameras
All-In-One, Copier, Fax
Ink Jet Type
Color or Monochrome