Printers are normally way down the list of really desirable objects when it comes to technology, and nowhere more so than in design, but we do have to give HP points for trying. The multifunction Envy 100 comes in a large box that opens up to reveal a black plastic wrap around the printer itself. Except it's not a wrap, but a full carry bag of the recycled shopping type. We're not sure too many folks would put their bread and milk (or for that matter lug around their printer) into such a conspicuously HP-labelled bag, but it's a neat touch.
Likewise the top of the Envy 100, which features a mirrored surface with a cascading black dot pattern on it is, we've got to say, something of a looker. It does make us wonder how good it'll look in 12 months time once some dust has settled on it, but at least when you unpack it, it looks great. A touch panel at the front rotates outwards mechanically when in use, as does the paper rest tray when doing any printing. It's all part of HP's aim to take printing out of the home office and into the living room. Whether you want a printer in your living room is entirely up to you, but with dimensions of 10.2x42.7x33.6cm, you'll need to put aside quite a bit of space to do so.
HP rates the Envy 100's print speeds at a relatively modest 27 pages per minute (ppm) for black and 22ppm for colour. It uses a simple two-cartridge approach to printer inks, which are easy to install, although we did note with some trepidation that the Envy 100 asks for the "starter" cartridges to be installed first. "Starter" in this sense usually means lower capacity cartridges in the box, and they're certainly not packaged as though they're full capacity cartridges. As an all-in-one, the Envy 100 also sports a 1200dpi flatbed scanner, although for those with more of a stylish SOHO use in mind, it's worth noting that fax is absent. It'll connect via standard USB or Wi-Fi, with support for 802.11b/g/n.
The Envy 100 also supports. They're something of a mixed bag, given that they're basically just inducements to print more and critically use more printer ink, but there's some nice variety on-board at the start, including Dreamworks content, daily Sudokus and naturally a link to HP's own Snapfish printing service. Although that last one does put our heads into something of a recursive spin, as you'd be ordering prints to be delivered to you from a printer itself — albeit one that only uses a two-cartridge printing solution and thus isn't going to be any great shakes in the photo printing department.