The Good The HP Envy 4520 uses the latest ink delivery technology to extend your cartridge life and potentially save money with Instant Ink Delivery. He also appreciated the print speed tests and produced high-quality output.
The Bad The printer lacks a memory card reader and an Ethernet port for the direct network. The touch screen can also be tricky to use.
The Bottom Line The HP Envy 4520 is a versatile station wagon that combines a printer, copier, and scanner with two ink delivery options to help you return expensive refills.
The HP Envy 4520 truly deserves an all-in-one mechanism that gives the user control over what to do with the machine, how to connect it to different devices, where to pull out print materials and how to refill exhausted ink cartridges.
Its redesigned chassis sits low to the ground and easily fades out of the way when you’re not printing, and the minimal touchscreen design frees the control panel from button clutter and confusion. And priced at $ 100 US at the time of this review (it sells for £ 59 in the UK and $ 99), it’s an affordable option for people who don’t want to spend too much on a printer that can only get used to scattered cases. Although it is not the smallest printer on the market in its price range, the HP 4520 is a reliable performer and worth the investment.
HP Envy 4520
|Price as reviewed||$100, £59, AU$99|
|Dimensions in inches (width x depth x height)||17.5 x 14.5 x 5 inches (44.5cm x 36.8cm x 12.7cm)|
|Inks||2-ink tank (black, tricolor)|
|Automatic 2-sided printing (duplexer)||No|
|Automatic document feeder||No|
|Memory card reader||No|
|Connectivity||USB 2.0, Wi-Fi, AirPrint, Google Cloud Print|
|Paper input tray capacity||100 sheets|
|Display||2.2-inch monochrome LCD|
The HP Envy series of printers are always leaning toward the slim design, and the 4520 continues the legacy of the new chassis curve, which is 17.5 inches wide, 14.5 inches deep and 5 inches tall. You can get a smaller all-in-one block like Epson XP-420 if your workspace is really damaging space, but when it comes to multifunction printers, the 4520 is one of the hardest I’ve seen.
HP Envy 4520
Epson EcoTank ET-2550
Epson Expression Home XP-430
|Price||$100 Amazon||$120 Walmart||$298 Amazon||$410 Walmart||$150 Amazon|
This time, the company returned to a matte black cover with a scanner pattern on the top. The control panel rests on the lip just below it at a fixed angle, easily visible if you have a printer above eye level. What’s interesting is that there is no physical function button on the panel except the power button on the left – you can only interact with the printer via the 2.2-inch monochrome LCD, so you shouldn’t expect to view and edit your photos.
Others may make it easier for you to navigate the menu, but you would like a few shortcuts to be built into the hardware to quickly bring you directly to print, copy and scan. Custom work on a tiny display causes you to lift and drag your finger to scroll through all menus, and the touch response is not as nimble as on a smartphone, causing delays and accidental taps. There is also no way to change or change the screen sensitivity.
The 100-sheet input tray extends from the bottom of the machine and has adjustable sliders to accommodate popular media sizes, including A4, A5 and A6. The tray itself also has size markers that carry the function of a conductor to make sure the paper fits correctly in the feeder.
One interesting feature here is that the 4520 automatically extends the plastic lip to the workpiece when you start work to arrange things, though you still have to flip the last piece so the sheets don’t fly to the ground.
The output tray directly below the display can hold a maximum of 25 sheets of paper at a time, which makes sense for a printer designed to print up to 1000 pages per month. This number is also known as the printer’s “duty cycle”.
Considering the budget price, I’m not surprised HP didn’t create the document feeder for this batch scanning document. If you plan on doing a lot of scanning, you’ll be happier with the Epson XP-420.
HP Envy 4520
Network settings and settings
HP includes a manual for initial setup and basic troubleshooting, but the supplied driver CD is very easy to follow, clearly marked with a guide for connecting your printer to your computer and home network.
You can start printing in minutes with a simple USB connection, but you need to shake hands with the wireless network to take advantage of the sharing and cloud printing features. If you subscribe to the Apple or Google ecosystems, this is the easiest way to do this Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print , services that let you send jobs to your printer from your iOS devices and Google Chrome web browsers.
In addition, you can also enter your SSID and network password directly into the printer to go wireless, and if your router is equipped with a secure WiFi (or WPS) setting, you can establish a connection at the touch of a button.
Unfortunately, to get a printer online, you need a wireless network because the device does not have an Ethernet port.
The ink supply system is located under the scanner compartment and contains one three-color cartridge for dye-based black and another for three-color. The 4520 accepts upgraded HP cartridges # 63, a new design for a company that integrates a printhead alongside a tank, as well as making technical improvements to ink balancing as well as life-cycle monitoring.
In previous cartridge models, users begin to see a colored strip or incorrectly formed horizontal lines that run through the print job, which usually indicates that the cartridge is nearing exhaustion. Often, the strip disappears after a few more prints and then returns again, confusing the user about the true level of ink remaining in the cartridge.
HP has developed a new cartridge technology called # 63, called Active Ink Balancing, that carefully monitors the ink levels throughout the life of the cartridge, making notes if one color starts to flow faster than the other. If this happens, the system automatically adjusts the balance by mixing other colors to compensate for the depletion.
Color inaccuracies will inevitably arise in the process, but the company reassures me that changes are being made gradually to prevent overt discrepancies. With this in mind, if you plan to print full-color portraits where the accuracy of skin tone is important, you can simply disable the active ink balancing feature in the printer settings.
4520 is compatible with HP Instant ink service . Here’s how it works: For a monthly fee, HP will track your ink levels and automatically replace you in the mail when you’re done.
You start by choosing one of three payment levels based on how many pages you think you print each month: $ 2.99. $ 50 per month, $ 4.99 100 pages US $ 9.99 300 pages US. You can always buy additional pages if you find that you are flipping through the allotment and the unused pages will go to the next month.
The cartridges # 63 that come with the printer are an instant ink readiness, which means a big change in how users choose the service. With previous Instant Ink printers, the customer will need to pick up an in-store registration kit that will contain an identifier that would be used to register the device with Instant Ink and select the desired plan.
Now HP cuts out the middleman and lets you do it all online. The cartridges are functional for both options: If you decide to sign up for Instant Ink, the microchip inside will engage and communicate with HP to send your ink levels and deliver refills to your home when you need them. If you decide that instant ink doesn’t work for your printing habits, you don’t need to do anything; cartridges will act as usual.
The HP Envy 4520 is a fast printer that scores high on the CNET benchmark benchmark for inkjet printers. Using our own test papers, the printer logs 8.9 ppm for a full (black only) text document and 2.6 ppm for a full-color graphic sheet. The 4520 actually beat our long-ago black-print speed record, previously featured in the Epson XP-420.
The Envy 4520 also produced remarkable output quality results, producing black text of such quality that easily competes with the clarity of expensive laser printers, even at smaller sizes. The full-color graphics and presentations went equally well, and the quiet offices certainly benefit from the quiet whisper of the printer’s fast-paced sounds, easily muffled by keyboard clicks and soft conversation.
If you’re looking for the latest all-in-one inkjet technology, the HP Envy 4520 is definitely worth checking out … as long as you don’t mind using the device exclusively through the touch screen.