HP’s latest all-in-one Envy printers look slim enough for home use while offering all the features you need in the office. The HP Envy Pro 6420 review costs competitively at around £90 (about US$117, AU$165), though it’s the premium model of the two recently released Envy printers and includes a 35-page automatic document scanner that its brother lacks. Thus, it can not only print in color but also photocopy multiple pages and fax them via your smartphone.
In other words, it’s a stylish four-in-one for the home office to compete with the Canon Pixma TR8550, which it comfortably undercuts in terms of price. It even offers duplex printing, which the Canon lacks. But as with all surprisingly affordable printers, the catch comes with the cost of the cartridges, so please read this review before locking yourself in a lifetime of overpriced ink.
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Design and build HP Envy Pro 6420
We’ve seen a lot of clever small-in-one designs with printing, scanning, copying, and faxing in a device that fits in a drawer, but HP did well to incorporate a 35-page ADF without adding too much volume. With its softly lit output slot, you wouldn’t disapprove of this printer space on your desk. It prints quietly and instead of beeping impatiently when a print job is complete, it makes a more melodic sound. The disadvantage of the height of only 13 cm is that there is not much space for paper. The capacity of the main feed tray is somewhat limited with 100 sheets of A4 or forty sheets of photo paper or ten envelopes. The output capacity is even more limited with only twenty-five sheets or ten photos.
When you lift the ADF, you’ll see the A4-sized glass scanner bed underneath, and when you lift it, the entire printer hinges open to expose the two inkjet cartridges. That’s right, instead of four separate carts, it combines three colors in a three-color cartridge, which is a convenient but rather wasteful way of printing, especially if you use a lot of a particular color.
HP has saved space and costs by abandoning the LCD screen you would normally expect on an AOI device. It is replaced by a simple backlit control panel with six glowing icons and buttons. Be careful not to press the i button unless you want to print an information page.
On the back of the HP Envy Pro 6420 are the power button, the Wi-Fi button, and a connector for a USB data cable (not included). There is no Ethernet port and no fax modem port as it uses your smartphone for mobile faxing. There is no front USB port for walk-up printing from a USB flash drive, which is a pity.
Features and Specifications HP Envy Pro 6420
For the money, the HP Envy Pro 6420 is remarkably well-equipped with color printing and scanning at 1200dpi, a 35-page ADF, mobile fax, an auto-duplex mode. This ability to print both sides of the page is important to save paper (and trees), but it’s amazing how many all-in-one devices still can’t manage it. In this compact design, duplex printing looks a bit tedious and is the slowest duplex printing, but it’s certainly preferable to turn each sheet over by hand.
Specifications HP Envy Pro 6420:
Type: Color 4-in-1 Inkjet MFP
Functions: Print, scan, copy, mobile fax
Consumables Included: Black and Color Setup Ink
Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Data storage spaces: none
Print speed: 10 ppm
Paper capacity: 100 sheets
Print quality: 1200×1200 dpi
Scan quality: 1200 dpi
Apple AirPrint: yes
Google Cloud Print: yes
Dimensions/Weight: 433x512x132 mm (WxDxH)/6.2kg
There is no duplex scanning, but the ADF likes to accept and scan up to 35 pages at a time, which is better than most. It also has great wireless connectivity with self-healing dual-band Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, and Built-in Bluetooth. Adding Bluetooth is helpful if you’re using your smart device to find the printer and then using HP’s companion app to connect it to your Wi-Fi network.
By the way, the companion app is excellent and works on both your PC/Mac desktop and your iOS/Android device. It adds many features, such as.B. scanning and printing to and from the cloud or mobile fax messaging. The app accounts for the lack of a display panel on the device itself.
The brochure suggests a print speed of 10ppm in non-duplex mode, which we felt was about right. It also claims to reach 20ppm in draft mode, which we didn’t achieve and wouldn’t recommend because of the compromise in quality. The print speed is not a strong suit for this model, but the resolution is good at 1200x1200dpi, which corresponds to the scanner resolution. You can print on a variety of media, from envelopes to photo paper of any size to A4 to plain paper weighing up to 300 g/m2.
Establishment and operation HP Envy Pro 6420
When setting up the HP Envy Pro 6420, you can simply insert the two cartridges, insert your paper and turn on the power supply. The HP Smart Companion app does the rest for you. Simply run the app on your desktop or smart device and a Bluetooth connection will be established and the printer will be transferred to your Wi-Fi network. To get the Wi-Fi Direct password, press the I button on the printer and you will find it on the printed information page.
The lack of a display on the printer was not a big problem. It just means that you do things like choosing the media type with the app and not on the printer. Tasks such as copying photos and using the ADF to scan multiple documents did not cause any problems during the test. The app makes it easy to set up Smart Tasks, which means you can have a button to scan documents into a specific email, for example. You can even use voice commands because, like most HP printers, it’s compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple Siri.
Overall, the print quality of the HP Envy Pro 6420 is surprisingly strong for this price, especially when it comes to glossy photos. The print resolution is 1200x1200dpi in black and white and optimized to 4800x1200dpi in color. This means that the resolution is still 1200dpi, but the paper moves slower in optimized mode, so more dots hit the side along its longest side. If you apply more ink this way, you’ll get sharper edges that won’t show the dots. The dye-based colors look particularly vibrant on glossy paper, but you should avoid printing on plain paper in the optimized mode because it’s too absorbent and you end up with saturated paper and no ink.
How We Test HP Envy Pro 6420
Every printer we source for testing is measured on our test bench and the results are critically compared with any other model we have reviewed. Instead of relying on the numbers provided by the manufacturer, we time the first page and print in single-sheet and duplex mode with a standard ten-page document and stopwatch app. To compare print quality, we print the same set of test documents on each machine. These twelve test pages contain text in different font sizes and colors, mixed image and text pages, a series of photos, and a series of test samples to assess sharpness, color fidelity, contrast, and grayscale.
We also calculate the running costs, compare the functionality and take into account the versatility, design, and build quality of each product. The total score reflects all these parameters and the total value for money.
We found that photocopies always looked true to the original in terms of details and only slightly brighter in color. The ADF worked steadily and quite quickly in scanning multiple documents. We didn’t experience any paper jams during the test and would say that the HP Envy Pro 6420 prints quietly and reliably, albeit a bit slowly.
One thing that surprised us, however, was a low ink warning after we had printed only twelve pages. Of course, you get more ink than the ones in a standard cartridge and the two bundled in the box are just “setup cartridges”, but that seems very stingy. It’s certainly not good to compare to printers like the Canon Pixma G4510, which costs around £250 (US$326) more but gives you enough ink for 7,000 color photos. After the twelfth A4 test photo, the quality of the color prints decreased sharply as the colored ink ran out.
A standard tri-color replacement cartridge costs £10 and apparently delivers 100 photos. That’s the pretty terrible cost per page, but you’re also wondering about the quality of this 100th photo. Prompts from the companion app and the unworkable cartridge prices prompt you to sign up for HP’s Instant Ink subscription, which will be refilled to your door as needed. The current offer on the packaging even includes three free months of Instant Ink when you sign up, so if you are not afraid of the obligation, such a subscription will reduce the cost per page to a competitive level. However, it will never compete with laser or inkless inkjet systems.
If your printing needs aren’t high but you need flexibility, the HP Envy Pro 6420 offers all the essential features, including duplex printing in a very competent all-in-one device, with a price as attractive as its design. We were impressed with the ease of use and overall print quality, while the lack of an LCD display, limited paper capacity, and slow print speed when printing on a small scale can be overlooked. However, the meager amount of ink contained in the box and the cost of replacement cartridges make it a false economy. We recommend this printer for occasional home office printing to anyone who is willing to take out an Instant Ink subscription.
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