A couple of months ago we reviewed the Epson ECOTANK ET-4550 printer; a pretty full-on bit of kit with a pretty full-on price tag. Although that particular printer did everything you could wish for, it kind of left us longing for a trimmed-down, cheap-as-chips printer that... well, just printed really well without our bank manager having to give us a call. We've found it in the HP Envy 4520 All-in-one Printer.
Whereas the Epson effort would've set you back £370, this pint-sized little trooper from HP costs less than fifty quid. Having said that, it doesn't mean that the HP Envy 4520 All-in-one Printer is 'cheap' and of low quality, just that it does exactly what it says on the tin in a capable way. The unit itself looks very much like a classic home printer, with the paper tray on the bottom, the feed-out area at the front, and an opening lid on top protecting a scanner plate.
The 'all-in-one' moniker boasts that it can “print, copy, scan, photo”, which basically means it is a printer and scanner that is capable of producing glossy lab-quality photograph prints (if you use the right kind of paper). There is no mention of faxing, but let's face it – who the hell faxes any more? One thing it does feature is WiFi, which is an essential thing for printers to have today.
After plugging it in, switching it on and entering the WiFi password, we were ready to print after just three minutes. Getting a document to the printer from your laptop or mobile device is incredibly easy as the HP Envy 4520 All-in-one Printer just appears there in you printer list automatically. We're pretty sure that only a couple of years ago adding a printer to your laptop was a real pain; not so with this little beauty.
Oh, and look; when you print something a supporting arm graciously pops out. We love touches like that.
As well as easily receiving your documents to print and your items to scan, the HP Envy 4520 All-in-one Printer can also be exceptionally handy when you don't even have a computer or phone around. Flick through the settings on the 2.2 inch touch display and you'll find handy pre-loaded files such as notebook paper, graph paper, a lined paper – should you be short and need to grab a few pages to write on before a meeting or lecture. It might not sound like much, but it's actually a wonderful after-thought; one that acknowledges that not everything is a digital document.
Another blooming handy aspect of this surprisingly feature-packed wireless printer is HP Instant Ink. Should you wish to activate it, your printer will automatically order you a new set of ink cartridges once it detects that the current ones or low. There is a monthly charge for this service (not a big annual bill, thankfully), but if you print a lot, or indeed plan to use this in your office, this would definitely be a service to consider.
At the end of the day this is very reliable printer that produces great looking printed sheets, both colour and black text on white, with lots of useful added extras. And look, you'll only have to pay...