The HP Envy 4520 printer uses the latest ink delivery technologies to prolong cartridge life and potentially save you money through its Instant Ink delivery service. It also scored well in print speed tests and produced high-quality output results.
the HP Envy 4520 truly deserves its “all-in-one” moniker, 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.The good news is that the 4520 does better relative to the competition for photos.
Its redesigned chassis sits low to the ground and easily disappears out of the way when you’re not printing, and the minimal touchscreen design frees the control panel from button clutter and confusion. And at its price of $100 in the US at the time of this review (it sells for £59 UK and AU$99), it’s an affordable option for people who don’t want to spend too much on a printer that might only get used on scattered occasions. Even though it’s not the smallest printer on the market in its price range, the HP 4520 is a dependable performer and worth the investment.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. You can get a smaller all-in-one unit like the Epson XP-420 if your work area is really hurting for space, but as far as multifunction printers go, the hp envy 4520 is one of the sleekest I’ve seen.
This time around, the company went back to a matte black finish with a patterned scanner lid on top. 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.
Others might have an easier time navigating through menus, but I wish there were a few shortcut buttons built into the hardware to quickly bring you directly to the print, copy and scan functions. 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 ink delivery system rests underneath the scanner bay and incorporates a single tricolor cartridge for dye-based black and another for tricolor. The hp envy 4520 takes HP’s upgraded #63 model ink cartridges, a new design for the company that integrates the print head alongside the tank while also making technical improvements to ink balancing as well as end-of-life monitoring.
In previous cartridge models, users would begin to see color banding, or malformed horizontal lines running across a print job, that would typically indicate a cartridge coming close to depletion. Oftentimes, the banding would disappear after a few more prints, then return again, confusing the user about the true level of ink remaining in the cartridge.
HP developed a technology with the new #63 cartridges called Active Ink Balancing that closely monitors ink levels throughout the cartridge’s life cycle, making notes if one color starts to run out faster than the others. If that starts to happen, the system will automatically adjust the balance by mixing other colors to compensate for the depletion.
If you don’t need office-centric features like an ADF, however, aren’t concerned with text quality or print speed for documents, and can make good use of connecting using Wi-Fi Direct, or you find HP’s Instant Ink program attractive for its promise of a relatively predictable running cost per month, the hp envy 4520 is a reasonable pick, though not a compelling one.
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