The HP Envy 4520 All-in-One Printer is designed for home use.HP Envy 4520 giving the user control over what to do with the machine, how to connect it to different devices, where to pull print materials from and how to refill depleted ink cartridges.
HP’s Envy series of printers always leans heavily toward a slim design, and the 4520 continues the legacy with a new, curved chassis that measures 17.5 inches wide, 14.5 inches deep and 5 inches tall. The control panel rests on a lip just below it at a fixed angle, easily viewable unless you have the printer higher than eye level. Curiously enough, there are no physical function buttons on the panel aside from the power button on the left– you can only interact with the printer through the 2.2-inch monochrome LCD display, so you shouldn’t expect to be viewing and editing photos.The user experience on the tiny display makes you lift and drag a finger to scroll across all the menus, and the touch response isn’t as snappy as on a smartphone, causing issues with latency and accidental presses. There’s also no way to recalibrate or change the sensitivity of the screen.
The 4520 measures 5 by 17.5 by 14.5 inches (HWD) and weighs 11 pounds 15 ounces, making it small enough to easily find room for and light enough for one person to move into place.Physical setup is standard for an inkjet MFP. Installing the software is a little different than with most printers, but HP says it expects to make this approach standard for its new inkjets. The Start Here instructions tell you to go to the HP website where “HP will guide you through…your printer setup.the webpage is a general-installation page, rather than one that’s specific for the printer, and when I tried searching for the 4520, the site couldn’t find it. HP says this was only because the printer was not available when I tested it, and the website should have it by the time you read this.
This AIO’s paper-handling options (or, should we say, lack thereof) say the most about its volume capabilities. The main paper cassette on the Envy 4520 holds up to 100 sheets of plain paper, or up to 10 envelopes or sheets of photo paper.Printed pages, in turn, land on the lid covering the input tray, making that in essence the output tray.HP says this output niche will hold 25 printed pages, and it did—just as long as we used inexpensive, thin copy paper. When we used premium paper of just about any type, though, we couldn’t get the output tray to hold more than 15 to 20 pages without forcing out sheets already lying there.
One last consideration that demands mention is running cost. As with the HP 5540, the 4520 can take advantage of HP’s Instant Ink program, which works a little like a cell-phone plan. It lets you print some number of pages per month for a fixed fee, charges extra for additional pages, and limits the number of pages you can roll over if you don’t use them.You have the option to go off a plan and back on, or switch plans, at any time—if you’re taking a vacation for example. But if you forget to opt out when you don’t expect to print much, you’ll still be paying the full plan price. HP says that you can print 50 pages per month on the Instant Ink program, it’s talking about literally 50 pages. Printing a single period on the page counts as a page. So does covering it edge to edge in ink, with two-sided pages counting as two. All this makes it hard to compare running costs with the Instant Ink plan to running costs without it. Keep that in mind, and consider the cost carefully before you sign on.One of HP’s selling points for Instant Ink is that the printer monitors ink levels and automatically orders more ink before you run out, so the new cartridges arrive before you need them.One additional issue is that HP tries hard to get you sign up for Instant Ink both when you install the printer and every time you change ink cartridges, giving your reminders on the printer’s front-panel LCD. If you don’t sign up for one of the Instant Ink plans, the reminders on the LCD can become a repeating annoyance, although an admittedly minor one.
The Envy brand has taken something of a circuitous route to get to where it is today—now representing low-end stuff as well as high-end gear.These little printers have churned out great-looking business documents, even if a bit slower than most other AIOs.The test business documents we printed looked good, with great-looking text and clean, vibrant, and accurately colored images.
If you’re looking for the latest in printing technology in an all-in-one inkjet, the HP Envy 4520 is certainly worth checking out.As long as you don’t mind operating the unit exclusively through the touchscreen.