A stylish and compact home printer-scanner with good print quality
HP's line of Envy laptops is designed to be stylish and stand out from the crowd, and the Envy 100 multi-function printer-scanner is cut from the same cloth.
The gleaming silvery-grey unit looked great, with the 4in-tall unit containing both an inkjet printer and a scanner (it also copies). The Envy 100 (model CN517B) can be connected to a single computer with a USB cable or shared over a home wireless network, and the touch-screen control panel provided plenty of help.
The compact design is partly down to the clever paper-handling system. You can place up to 80 sheets of paper into the input tray, which slots into the lower-front edge of the printer and, when documents are being printed, the touch-screen display lifts right up and a supporting arm folds out from behind the screen to catch the printed pages.
Print quality was good, with best-mode text output that looked as smooth and sharp as that from a laser printer. Photos came out as finely detailed images. However the Envy only uses four coloured inks, which don't quite match the richer colours of specialised photo printers, such as HP's five-colour Photosmart Premium CN503B).
HP quotes speeds of 27 pages per minute (ppm) for black-and-white text documents, and 22ppm for colour. In practice, we found that standard-quality text came out at 6ppm while an A4 photo took one minute to print at standard quality and six minutes using the ‘Best' quality mode on glossy photo paper.
Using HP's standard ink cartridges the printing cost comes out at 6.5p per page for black and 9p per page for colour, although HP also sells larger XL ink cartridges which lower those costs to 4p and 7p respectively. Even so, there are printers from rivals that offer even lower printing costs.
We were impressed with the HP Envy 100's design and ease of use, and it's a good choice for home users who need a compact printer for text documents and the occasional photo print. But, as with the company's Envy laptops, buyers will be paying a little extra for those stylish touches.
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The ingenious compact design appeals, but cheaper alternatives provide similar performance
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Expensive; photo printing is slow
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