Despite their sleek appearance, HP’s latest Envy all-in-one printers offer the features you may need for an office environment. In addition to printing in color, it can copy multiple pages and fax via a smartphone.
It’s also a stylish 4-in-1 for the home office that rivals the Canon Pixma TR8550 but costs less. In fact, Canon doesn’t offer duplex printing. As with all surprisingly affordable printers, the catch is in the price of the cartridges, so please read this review before committing to a lifetime of overpriced ink.
Design and build
Many small-in-one models combine printing, scanning, copying, and faxing in a device that fits into a drawer, but HP has managed to add a 35-page automatic document feeder without adding bulk. Having this printer on your desk would not be a bother with its lightly illuminated output slot. In addition to printing quietly, the device makes a tuneful sound when it has completed a print job rather than beeping impatiently.
Due to its 13cm height, there is not much space for paper. With a capacity of 100 sheets of A4, forty sheets of photo paper, or ten envelopes, the main input tray is somewhat limited. With a maximum output capacity of only 25 sheets or ten photos, this printer is even more restricted.
With the ADF lifted, you will be able to see the A4-sized scanner bed underneath. When you lift the scanner bed, the printer opens wide to reveal the two inkjet cartridges. As opposed to four separate cartridges, it combines three colors into one tri-color cartridge, which is convenient, but rather wasteful, especially if you use a lot of one particular color.
In order to save space and money, HP has ditched the LCD display that you would normally find on an AOI device. The control panel is replaced with a simple backlit panel with six illuminating buttons and icons. You should not press the i-button unless you wish to print an information page.
A USB data cable (not included) port is located on the back of the HP Envy Pro 6420. For mobile faxing, there is no Ethernet port or fax modem port since it uses your smartphone. The front USB port doesn’t work, which is a pity.
Features and specifications
The HP Envy Pro 6420 offers remarkably good value for the money, with color printing and scanning at 1200dpi, a 35-page automatic document feeder, a mobile fax facility, and auto-duplex printing.
Many all-in-one devices still can’t handle printing on both sides of the page, which is essential for saving paper (and trees). While duplex printing appears laborious and slow, it is certainly more efficient than flipping every sheet by hand.
- Type: Colour 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 slots: 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
It does not offer duplex scanning, but it does accept and scan 35 pages at a time, which is virtually unheard of. Additionally, it offers built-in dual-band Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, and Bluetooth connectivity. Bluetooth makes it easier to use your smart device to find the printer, then use HP’s companion app to connect it to your Wi-Fi network.
I highly recommend the companion app, which works on both PC/Mac and iOS/Android devices. Mobile fax messaging and scanning to and from the cloud are some of the features it offers. By using the app, the device can make up for its lack of a display panel.
According to the brochure, we were able to print at a pace of 10ppm when printing non-duplex. Furthermore, it claims to achieve 20ppm in draft mode, something we did not reach and cannot recommend due to the compromised quality.
It doesn’t have great print speed, but it does have good resolution at 1200×1200 dpi, which is the same as the scanner. A variety of media can be printed, from envelopes to plain papers up to 300g/m2 in weight, and from photo paper of any size up to A4.
Setup and operation
It takes just a few steps to set up the HP Envy Pro 6420: insert the two cartridges, load your paper, and turn it on. All you have to do is download the HP Smart companion app. When you run the app on your desktop or mobile device, it will make a Bluetooth connection and get the printer connected to your Wi-Fi network. Press the i-button on the printer to get the Wi-Fi Direct password, which you’ll find on the printed information page.
Even though the printer lacked a display, it wasn’t a problem. Instead of selecting the media type at the printer, you can select it using the app. Photocopying and scanning multiple documents with the ADF caused no problems during the test. With the app, you can set up Smart Tasks, such as scanning a particular email with one click. In addition to allowing you to use voice commands, like most HP printers, it also works with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple Siri.
Our test bench measures every printer we source for testing, and we compare the results to all others we have evaluated. We used a standard ten-page document and a stopwatch app to measure print speeds instead of relying on manufacturers’ quotes. We print out the same set of test documents on every machine to compare print quality. On these twelve pages, you will find text in different font sizes, font colors, images, photos, and test patterns for assessing sharpness, color fidelity, contrast, and greyscale.
Additionally, we compare functionality, running costs, and the design and build quality of each product. These parameters and the overall value for money are reflected in the overall score.
For the price of the HP Envy Pro 6420, the print quality is surprisingly good, especially for glossy photographs. For black and white prints, the resolution is 1200×1200 dpi, and for color prints, it is optimized to 4800×1200 dpi. In optimized mode, the paper moves slower so that more dots are visible along its longest edge, but the resolution remains 1200dpi.
As a result of applying more ink, the edges appear sharper, without showing dots. Printing dye-based colors in optimized mode on plain paper will result in saturated paper and no ink. You should prevent printing in this mode on glossy paper since it is too absorbent and will result in saturated paper and no ink.
As far as detail and color are concerned, photocopies were always faithful to the originals. Scanning multiple documents with the ADF was quite smooth and efficient. While testing, we did not experience any paper jams, and we found this printer to be quiet, reliable if a little slow.
Upon printing just twelve pages, we received a low ink alert. It’s true you get more ink with a standard cartridge, and there are only two cartridges in the package, but it seems stingy nonetheless. I don’t think it can compete with printers like the Canon Pixma G4510, which costs about £250 (US$336) and comes with enough ink for 7,000 color photographs. When the colored ink ran out after the 12th A4 test photo, color prints’ quality deteriorated sharply.
A standard tri-color replacement cartridge costs £10 and apparently produces 100 images. It’s a pretty awful price for a page, but you’re also left wondering about the photo’s quality. It urges you to subscribe to HP’s Instant Ink subscription, which sends refills directly to your door as you run out of ink.
The companion app and the prohibitive price of the cartridges urge you to do so. When you sign up, the current packaging even includes three months of Instant Ink free. So, if you’re not afraid of committing, a subscription of this kind will lower the per-page costs significantly. It will not compete with laser or cartridgeless inkjet systems.
|Great wireless connectivity||Expensive ink|
|Strong app support||Limited paper capacity|
|Sleek space-saving design||Slow print speeds|
|Useful 35-page ADF|
The HP Envy Pro 6420 is a great all-in-one device if your printing needs are not very heavy, but you do require flexibility at a reasonable price. It includes duplex printing, a strong design, and an attractive price. While it lacks an LCD display, the paper capacity is limited, and there is slow printing speed, these features can all be overlooked if you are printing on a small scale.
Although, the meager amount of ink provided in the box and the high cost of replacement cartridges make it a false economy. We recommend this printer for occasional printing in a home office to anyone willing to subscribe to Instant Ink.