HP Envy 120 e-All-in-One

Jon L Jacobi
14 July, 2013
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HP Envy 120 e-All-in-One

HP, www8.hp.com/au/en


Super-stylish design; good performance and print quality; motorised components and transparent scanner are fun to watch


Expensive black ink; no automatic document feeder



Connoisseurs of cool tools will appreciate HP’s $329 Envy 120 e-All-in-one inkjet MFP not only for its style, but its gadgetry: its motorised control panel that automatically raises and lowers, its see-through scanner platen. However, it is not about economy or efficiency. Capacity is limited, ink prices are rather hefty and there’s no automatic document feeder for the scanner. That said, it handles the basics well and is a conversation-starter for sure.

Clean-lined design with no physical buttons

The Envy 120 installs easily via either its Wi-Fi or USB 2.0 interface. The software bundle, which includes photo manipulation, scanning tools and remote printing, is more than competent. The driver dialogue, while basic, does have the important options, and it’s exceptionally easy to use. The well-thought-out control panel is completely touch-based, right down to the power switch. There are no physical buttons of any kind to break up the clean lines.

Paper handling features include an 80-sheet input tray. The 25-sheet output device is no typical tray, but rather an arm that rotates out automatically from underneath the control panel whenever you print. The Envy 120 automatically duplexes – that is, it prints on both sides of the paper by pulling it back in and flipping it over without user intervention.

Unique scanner is upside-down and viewable

There’s no automatic document feeder, however, the Envy 120′s flatbed scanner is still notable for operating upside-down from the norm. Instead of laying a document face-down, you lay it face-up, and the scanning element passes over it. And because the top of the unit is made of transparent glass (replacing the mirrored and opaque surfaces of prior models), you can actually watch the scanner head glide across your document.

Nearly everything on the Envy 120 is motorised: the control panel swings up automatically to get out of the way when you print, the output catch swings out automatically, and even the paper cassette injection is motorised. That last one’s a rarity, and overenthusiastic users could come close to breaking it before they realise that they don’t need to physically push in the cassette. The only thing not motorised besides the scanner lid is the small, innocuous panel on the right front of the unit, which rotates forward 45 degrees to expose PictBridge/USB and Secure Digital/Memory Stick Duo slots.

Good performance and print quality

The HP Envy 120′s output is easy on the eye. The colour palette of photos is on the cool side, but that matches the overall air of the machine nicely. Black pages are dark and sharp, and even draft mode documents look decent – a tad blurry, but quite legible. Speed is so-so, but who cares with a printer that’s so much fun to watch? Monochrome pages (text and mono graphics) print at about five per minute (ppm) on both the Mac and PC; 4in x 6in photos print at four ppm to plain paper and one ppm to glossy stock. Full-page glossy photos take about three minutes at best quality.

Alas, pages printed on the Envy 120 are expensive, no matter which size cartridge you choose. In addition to the typical standard-size and high-capacity cartridges, an ‘economy’ cartridge set comes with slightly lower capacities and lower costs per page, and dowdier packaging. For black ink, the standard 60 cartridge costs almost 7.5 cents per page (cpp); the economy cartridge is 6.7 cpp; and the high-capacity 60XL works out to 6.2 cpp. The cyan, magenta and yellow inks reside in a single tri-colour cartridge which costs 12.7 cpp in standard size, 11 cpp in the economy size and 9.8 cpp with the 60XL.

When style is a priority and printing is light

By the numbers, the Envy 120 seems like a non-starter. But in terms of user experience and style, it leaves the competition in the dust. It’s a perfectly viable option for low-volume printing, and it will turn more than a few heads while it’s working – and blend in nicely when it’s not.

by Jon L Jacobi, Macworld

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