HP’s new ENVY 110 multifunction inkjet printer comes with a good-looking, slimline design using high grade materials, which is rare on printers – but the price tag is high.
A 3.5in touchscreen is hosted on a flip-out panel that’s beautifully constructed and weighted, with an exact angle possible. It’s here that the set-up wizard begins; oddly, it wants to know what time zone we’re in as well as our location (as if we have a choice), but quickly gets us printing a test page. As it does, the screen lowers itself flush with the front of the printer, and a small arm folds out to support the upcoming A4 print-out. Nice.
Within seconds we’re connected to our broadband router, and printing from an iMac and a netbook without having to make any annoying software changes.
The ENVY 100 also comes with a full suite of apps. As well as ePrint (an assignable email address for this printer, so it can be emailed documents from anywhere in the world to print), eFax (a phone connection cable is in the box) and automatic product updates, the WiFi-ness of the ENVY 110 is also responsible for fuelling a suite of HP’s own TouchSmart apps.
Once loaded, the touchscreen hosts some simple instructions (photo print, copy, scan, and fax) underneath a selection of 20 apps, with more able to be downloaded.
The most impressive is Facebook integration; all photos associated with your profile are available for printing. There is also on-screen access to online photo albums from Photobucket, Smugmug, Snapfish and Picasa, some printable city guides from ArrivalGuides.com, free piano sheet music and some printable Sudoku charts. There are also a few maps apps, which could be useful for driving (although would you trust a Bing Map?).
The future of colouring-in is about to change, too, thanks to the ENVY 110. The Disney app appears to offer a small collection of black ink colouring pages to print-off – everything from Winnie-the-Pooh to dreary princess-related tosh. We’re just beyond colouring-in oursleves, but it could be a useful resource for parents. So too is Nickelodeon’s store of free mock certificates, origami templates, and more colouring-in pictures, while AOL Kids, HP Cards and Easy HP Crafts are of a similar persuasion.
A ‘quick forms’ app collects templates for monthly and weekly calendars, notebook and graph paper and to-do checklists, but a Last.FM app? All it does is print-off an ‘information pack’ on a particular artist – a brief biography and nothing more – which is rather pointless.
A nice idea, these apps, but it can all seem like a solution looking for a problem – and the less said about links to printable digests of daily news headlines, the better. What decade are we in?
There is one main problem with all this. The ENVY 110, despite having a brilliant touchscreen and an enviable selection of apps, is rather good at WiFi – indeed, WiFi is its making. So much so that it’s very likely that it will be placed far from a desk; we’re not sure these apps are actually going to be used.
Owners of Apple gadgets will love AirPrint – the ability to print directly from an iPhone or iPad. It really is so simple, and largely does away with the need for third-party apps. Simply flick through your photo album, choose a photo, then select ‘print’ – the ENVY 110 should pop up on your phone, if it’s networked. In our tests, though, an iPhone 3GS took seven seconds to communicate with the printer and a further 02:02 to print a 4x6in colour print. Now that’s slow – and the results, while good, can look a touch soft (that ought to change if a eight-megapixel camera-endowed iPhone 4S is used). A test from a PC rather than an iPhone yielded a speed of 01:04 seconds for the same 4x6in print. Meanwhile, a five-page black and white document printed in 1:03 minutes.
ePrint is a genuinely exciting feature; each Envy 110 printer has its own email address; once you’ve been through a tiresome sign-up procedure online (it needs a completely unique, and completely useless, ‘screen name’ to complete the process) a @hpeprint.com email address is generated (it can be customised).
Once done, you can forward a document to it from anywhere in the world and it will do its thing. In our test it took about 45 seconds from sending the email until it began printing, though one job did get lost in ‘pending’ mode. It could be useful if you need to come back from a business trip and get straight to work, though the print report emailed back a few minutes later is overkill.
The scanner works fast (26 seconds per page in our test) and it’s possible to output it (in JPG format) to a USB stick or SD card as well as a connected PC or Mac, though it can be rather noisy. There’s a small flap on the right-hand side of the product that hosts not only a USB slot for taking pictures from a thumb drive, but also a multi-talented card reader that handles SD, MMC and MS Duo media. That USB slot is also compatible with PictBridge for cabled-up printing directly from a camera.
Ink and costs
The product uses HP 300 or HP 300XL (the latter being high yield, and much more economical) black and colour cartridges. We found a dual pack selling online for £34.30, which with a rated yield of 600 pages gives a price of 5.7p per page.
Contact: HP on 0844 875 0975
- User interface, Facebook app, design and build quality.
- Expensive inks, large footprint, underwhelming photo quality.
Despite all of these nice features, and a quite brilliant user interface that's easy to understand and never misses a beat, we can't help thinking that the HP ENVY 110 is style over substance; it only holds 80 sheets of paper and printing, while quiet, is slow and expensive with colour prints that underwhelm.