HP Photosmart 7520 review: $200 all-in-one printer puts your prints in the cloud

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In addition to Apple AirPrint, the 7520 also features HP's ePrint technology that lets you send jobs from any connected device to the printer using the uniquely assigned e-mail address. You can even navigate through the settings and change the e-mail address to an easier designation to give out to friends and family that you trust enough to take control of your printer -- you can take ownership of that in the control panel (Wireless > Web Services > Display E-mail). It's really easy to set up, but there are a few restrictions.

For one, the printer must be on and also connected to your network. For another, it can't print Web pages, although you can simply copy and paste the text into a document as a workaround. You can even create your own customized e-mail address.

The ePrintCenter is an online hub where you can view job history, change settings, add printers to your account, browse and install apps, and cancel print jobs. All the extra applications are free, and HP breaks them down into categories within the App Store: entertainment, home, kids, news/blogs, photo, and tickets.

Each one promises to streamline the printing experience by offering shortcuts to your favorite coupons, news articles, weather reports, recipes, and so on. HP tells me that it plans to release a Software Development Kit (SDK) in the near future so software engineers can design their own shortcut apps for the store.

Adding apps to the 7520's home screen is as simple as hitting the Get More button. It takes you directly to the store to download new apps, rate them, and even add your own comments. The apps have potential, but prepare to battle long load times that require you to navigate through several submenu layers.

The standard flatbed scanner/copier measures 8.5 inches by 11.7 inches, but I was disappointed to find that the hardware omits a hinge that some may find necessary to scan thicker media such as books and multipage documents. Regardless, its 1,200-dpi resolution scanned and copied crisply rendered documents. This model can also send scans directly to a PC, a memory card, a network folder, an e-mail message, or even the cloud.

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The key difference between this model and the 7510 from last year is the latter lacked a dedicated fax machine, instead having an eFax companion utility. HP partnered with eFax to bring fax functionality to HP's lower-end models -- it works by sending a fax over the Internet so there's no worry of a busy signal to interrupt your transmission.

The extra $50 for the dedicated fax machine and phone line on the 7520 is prudent for home offices and individuals with higher-than-average fax volume, as the 7510 eFax version is a trial that only allows a maximum of 20 incoming and 20 outgoing pages per month, with the option to upgrade to an unlimited service for a monthly fee.

Performance
In lab testing, the HP Photosmart 7520 printer registered scores slightly faster than the average for multifunction devices at the $200 price point. It churned out just over six pages of monochrome text per minute, produced nearly four pages of color graphics in the same span, and screamed past the competition with 6.4 PowerPoint slides in the same 60 seconds. Slides notwithstanding, the 7510's scores trailed behind the performance of the Epson WorkForce 645, a top performer in this category, but the difference won't likely be noticeable to you unless you're printing a large stack of pages at once.

Thankfully, the Photosmart 7520 also doesn't sacrifice quality for speed. It produced crisp, dark black text even at smaller fonts, where I would dare to compare its line work to that of a laser printer. Color graphics and photos exhibited accurate colors, though I found that copies of photos came out slightly blurry. I recommend simply reprinting a photo from its digital source if you need another copy.

HP Photosmart 7520 performance (in pages per minute)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Presentation speed  
Photo speed  
Graphics speed  
Text speed  
Epson WorkForce 645
5.69 
1.12 
4.32 
11.81 
Lexmark Interact S605
3.63 
2.07 
3.96 
7.83 
HP Photosmart 7520
6.4 
1.45 
4.11 
6.14 
Canon Pixma MX372
2.57 
1.62 
1.8 
5.63 
Kodak Office Hero 6.1
1.43 
1.08 
2.06 
4.94 

Service and support
HP backs the Photosmart 7510 with a standard one-year warranty that includes 24-7 toll-free phone support and live Web chat during weekdays. HP's Web site also contains downloadable drivers, software, and manuals; e-mail tech support; FAQs; and a troubleshooting guide. You can return the product within 21 days of delivery.

Conclusion
The Photosmart 7520 is an excellent printer for home offices and for families who will take advantage of its wireless printing features like ePrint and Google Cloud Print. I certainly recommend it at the $200 price, but you can likely find a Photosmart 7510 for less if you don't need the fax machine function.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Type fax / copier / printer / scanner
  • Printing Technology ink-jet
  • Max Original Size Legal (8.5 in x 14 in)
  • Optical Resolution 1200 x 2400 dpi
  • Functions printer
About The Author

Justin Yu covers headphones and peripherals for CNET. When he's not wading through Web gulch or challenging colleagues to typing tests, you can find him making fun of technology with Jeff Bakalar every afternoon on The 404 show.