It's important to take note of your networking situation at home prior to buying the Envy 100; you absolutely need a wireless network to take advantage of ePrint and the multitude of apps available for download--remember, it has no Ethernet port.
The setup gets tricky when it comes time to look for the e-mail address assigned to your particular printer. You'll need to sign up for an ePrint username and password at the HP ePrint Center online, or you can also use your Facebook, AOL, Google, or Yahoo log-ins to bypass registration. Once a connection is established the printer is supposed to print a network setup sheet with the e-mail address, but it took our Envy 100 several tries before we successfully received the e-mail, with the display still indicating a disconnection.
HP support tells us that it's a known issue that should be fixed in an upcoming firmware upgrade. According to HP, that upgrade should happen automatically immediately after the printer is connected to the Internet. Our experience was a little different. The first off-the-shelf unit we received from HP wouldn't recognize or download a posted update. We tried to apply that update manually, but ultimately HP had to send us a replacement unit with the more recent firmware preinstalled.
This means a few things. First, if you've already purchased the Envy, you might also encounter the same updates issues and out-of-date firmware. The new model we received, with updated firmware, did indeed solve the connectivity indicator issue. With no new firmware available to download, though, we have no way to replicate the firmware updating hassle. HP tells us that the company is "aware of the issue and is releasing an automatic update to fix it. HP also provides technical support for customers to help them update their product." We appreciate the customer service effort but would obviously prefer HP to iron out these issues prior to shipping.
Connection errors notwithstanding, we actually enjoy using ePrint. The system can print various message attachments in the form of images, document files, PDFs, and photos, and it'll also send a separate job for any text that appears in the e-mail body. The default preferences let anyone with the address print wirelessly, but you can also set up a list of verified senders to allow on a private network.
As verified by our testing, the ePrint functionality works with a wide variety of Web clients--we used Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, and Microsoft Outlook with positive results, and you can even e-mail articles directly from an RSS feed like Google Reader as well.
You can track the progress of print jobs sent to the Envy 100 using HP's online ePrint Center, the central hub to view job history, change settings, add printers to your account, browse and install apps, and cancel ePrints. The printer recognizes and begins printing a job immediately after it receives an e-mail. We also like that you can queue up several jobs and track them all just like you would using a desktop client.
We're disappointed that the $250 Envy 100 uses the same paltry two-ink cartridge system as this $50 Deskjet D2660. Dual-ink cartridges can't produce pictures as vivid as those from a five- or six-ink printer, and you'll end up spending more money refilling the $32 color cartridge since it bundles three colors into one package.
HP also sells extra-large-capacity cartridges and value packs that save money in the long term, but the cost to replace these consumables sooner than others (especially with ePrint and HP Print Apps encouraging you to increase your printing output) in the same price range will ultimately cost more than the Envy 100 itself.
Along the same vein, the Envy 100's dual-ink cartridges are easily outpaced by multicartridge printers, especially in our graphics and photo speed tests. Our timing results show that the Envy printed photo and color graphics much slower than the rest, with text document and presentation print speed dropping in just below average.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Presentation Speed (PPM)||Photo Speed (1 Sheet)||Color Graphics Speed (PPM)||Text Speed (PPM)|
Finally, the overall print quality also suffers as a result of the tricolor cartridge. Outbound prints, especially graphics-intensive samples are marred by various line patterns that run throughout the images, and colored bars look faded and blotchy even in the best-quality print option. 4-inch-by-6-inch snapshot photos are the biggest offenders, and it doesn't take a printer editor to see the color inconsistencies and the overall lack of vibrancy.
We would expect this performance from a sub-$100 single-function inkjet, but not from a $250 flagship printer that claims to have the latest in printing technology.
Service and support
The HP Envy 100 is backed by HP's exclusive enhanced support services that offer a dedicated toll-free number, troubleshooting over online chat with an HP expert, and a one-year warranty that guarantees repairs with "Next-Day Business Turn Around," offering brand-new replacement units for the first 30 days after purchase.
In addition, HP offers an added Accidental Damage Protection and a Pick-Up-and-Return program that sends an authorized courier to pick up your failed equipment and deliver it directly to an HP-designated repair facility.
You can find more warranty information by visiting the HP Support Web site, which also features online classes, FAQs, driver downloads, troubleshooting tips, as well as a new shopping buddy that puts you in a chat room with an HP sales rep to answer your questions before you buy.
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