FutureFive NZ - Hands on review: HP Envy Photo 7120

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Hands on review: HP Envy Photo 7120

The HP Envy Photo 7120 is a wi-fi enabled, compact, multifunction printer. It’s aimed mainly at the home user for printing photos and the odd document.

The printer has an A4 single-sided scanner with a copying facility for single sheets at a time. It can print double-sided and direct from mobile devices. There are two trays- one for up to A4 paper and one for photo paper up to 13x18cm. This is very useful, especially if the printer is being used by the whole family. There’s no messing about swapping paper around and you are less likely to have your photos printed in the middle of a sheet of A4.

The printer comes complete with a USB cable for direct connection to a computer. To get the best from the machine, you really need to connect it to your network. There’s no ethernet port, so your only networking option is via wi-fi.  

These days, connecting peripherals via wi-fi is usually just a couple of button presses- one on your WPS- equipped router/modem and another on the device you want to connect. The Envy Photo 7120 set up didn’t go quite as well as I’d expected, but I got there in the end. I think some of my issues were down to the printer also being able to directly connect to mobile devices via wi-fi. This no fuss way of printing easily allows images that would ordinarily sit on your phone to get printed out as traditional photos, which I think is nice. You can also print from, and scan to, SD Cards.

The printer’s touchscreen makes menu sections simple. There’s no fumbling though options using button presses whilst you search for what you want. Also, the Windows drivers are relatively intuitive and have plenty of options to get the most out of your printed documents. The printer is bundled with some optional utilities, including HP Photo Creations- which’ll help you turn your images into photo books, cards and other personalised items.

prints

Printing letters and documents without messing around with settings yielded great results. Text was clear and crisp. But printing images this way resulted in banding and smudged pictures.

On good quality paper and with the settings on high quality, things were much better. Image reproduction was crisp, colourful, full of detail and completely free of any printing artefacts. Same with photos. A great result, but I’m not sure how many high-quality images you will get out of the ink tanks.

I’d expect a modern printer in this price bracket have capacity for more than just two ink cartridges. You need to think about that with whatever printer you are thinking of buying. With the HP Envy Photo 7120 if you run out of magenta, you are going to have to cough up $35 for a new cartridge whether or not the cyan and yellow have run out as well. Compare that to my NZ$100 Canon multi-function, which has five cartridges- cyan, magenta and yellow plus two blacks, PGBK for everyday printing and BK for photos.

ink

With the Envy Photo 7120 you can scan images to a resolution of 1200dpi and output to all the usual file formats including PDF. There’s no automatic document feeder, so if you’ve huge documents that you need to scan or copy, it’ll take you a while.

The performance of the printer is more than adequate for home use, but that’s it. Even a home office use would be pushing the HP Envy Photo 7120, physically, and in in your pocket paying for ink cartridges. 

HP suggest a monthly page volume of 300-400 sheets for optimum performance from the printer. The published print speeds are, for black, 22ppm in draft and 14ppm ISO quality, and for colour 21ppm in draft and 9ppm ISO. These figures are about right and aren’t too bad for a printer of this class.

The printer provides an acceptable level of service for moderate home printing use. The printer’s photo printing is pretty good, but I’ve seen better. The print quality is fine for reports and, with the right paper, the printer does a reasonable job of printing artwork.

You are not going to get much change out of NZ$150 for an HP Envy Photo 7120. For this price the build quality is fair, if a little underwhelming, and not likely to be able to put up with much abuse. The double-sided printing is a stand-out feature and a year ago I’d have said the same for the direct mobile printing as well, but this is becoming a lot more commonplace from printers in this price range.

As a home printer, the HP Envy Photo 7120 does have some stiff competition but I’d say, especially due to the double-sided printing, it’s most definitely a player.

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