HP Envy 120 e-All-in-One – A Pretty Face

HP Envy 120 e-All-in-One Printer Review and RatingsOver the past few years, a trend of sorts has emerged in the market for all-in-one (AIO) inkjet printers. In addition to manufacturing the standard range of practical office appliances for printing, copying, and scanning, most of the major printer makers—HP, Brother, Canon, and Epson come to mind—have added stylish-looking, luxury or semi-luxury models to their product lines. No longer does buying an AIO for your small or home-based office mean you have to choose one bulky, clunky-looking machine over another.

We’ve seen some reasonably good-looking printers over the years, but HP took the first shot in the style-over-substance wars (or at least the style-equal-to-substance ones) about two and a half years ago with the sleek Envy 100 e-All-in-One Printer. For a while, only Canon and HP sparred in this printer maker’s fashion rivalry—Canon with its glossy, elegant cube-shaped Pixma MG6220 and MG8220, and HP with its follow-on Envy, the Envy 110 e-All-in-One, which we looked at back in November 2011.

HP Envy 120Lately, though, Epson and Brother have rolled out runway-ready models of their own—Epson, with its Expression Premium XP Small-in-One line (our fave so far being the Expression Premium XP-800), and Brother with its very good MFC-J4510DW. What this tells us: Buyers of small- and home-office printers care enough about printer appearance to warrant making good-looking printers. Not only are we seeing eye-candy models from a wider range of manufacturers, but Canon sent us a refreshed version of the Pixma MG6220, the highly stylish Pixma MG6320, a couple of months ago, and HP’s update of the Envy 110, the $249.99-list Envy 120 e-All-in-One Printer—the subject of this review—arrived in our lab a few days ago.

HP Envy 100, 110, and 120

The evolution of the Envy line: the HP Envy 100, 110, and 120 (left to right).

What distinguishes this and preceding Envys from its competitors is that, above all, their primary strength is, well, looking good. With the other products we’ve mentioned here, their good looks are secondary—a by-product, if you will, of being premium office appliances.

Take the Pixma MG6320, for instance. As one of Canon’s higher-end photo printers, its primary purpose is to churn out top-quality images, and it does. Meanwhile, Epson’s Expression Premium XP-800, as well as Brother’s MFC-J4510DW, focus first on squeezing as much functionality into the smallest “reasonable” form factor. That you get a machine that looks good in a style-conscious office or your living room is a secondary consideration, not the primary one.

HP Envy 120 Top ViewThe Envy 120 is, as you’ll see in the Design & Features section on the next page, a good-looking printer—one of the tops in that regard. However, as we pointed out about the Envy 110 before it, as AIOs designed for small-offices and small-businesses go, it is not a very practical choice—especially if you do even an average amount of printing.

While, for the most part, it produces good-looking output, it’s slower than most AIOs, regardless of price, and because it has one of the highest per-page ink costs among printers in this price range, it’s expensive to use. Furthermore, it lacks several key conveniences and productivity features, such as an automatic document feeder (ADF). It’s really all about the look.

See the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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