CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

HP Envy 100 review: HP Envy 100

Other printers should be envious of the Envy 100's good printing looks, but they might smirk at its ordinary print speeds.

Alex Kidman
Alex Kidman is a freelance word writing machine masquerading as a person, a disguise he's managed for over fifteen years now, including a three year stint at ZDNet/CNET Australia. He likes cats, retro gaming and terrible puns.
Alex Kidman
5 min read


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.


HP Envy 100

The Good

Genuinely stylish design. Supports apps. Supports e-printing from smartphones and tablets.

The Bad

Touch panel is imprecise. Large footprint for a "living room" printer. Slow printing in normal mode. Expensive for a multifunction.

The Bottom Line

Other printers should be envious of the Envy 100's good printing looks, but they might smirk at its ordinary print speeds.

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 HP's app platform that we initially saw demonstrated in Hong Kong. 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.

The Envy 100 is also e-print enabled, similar to the much cheaper B110, with the same set of restrictions. You're still stuck with an impossible to remember randomly generated email address for the printer and you still can't select paper types or print output. The Envy's also tipped to be AirPrint compatible for the upcoming iOS 4.2 upgrade, although e-print covers more than just Apple's smartphone and tablet fare.


Set-up of the Envy 100 is surprisingly simple, guided at every step by the unit's touchscreen, which guides you through installing ink cartridges and connecting to a wireless network before popping the installation CD into either a PC (XP or better) or Mac (10.5 or better). As is typical with any printer, you'll spend the first couple of minutes removing all the bits of holding tape from the printer; in the Envy 100's case this is bright blue tape.

The touch panel on the Envy 100 did cause us some grief. It's not terribly responsive, and that meant we intermittently selected an option when we wanted to scroll through them, and vice versa. If the included apps are what you're really after this will be a major problem, but if the majority of the work you'll put the Envy 100 to will be computer based, significantly less so.

HP's rated speeds for the Envy 100 fell significantly short of our real-world testing experiences. Printing a standard black-and-white text document with the Envy 100 set for normal coverage revealed a sluggish speed of 6ppm, with the first page taking a positively glacial 24 seconds to emerge. The one upside here is that compared to many cheaper and faster printers, the Envy 100 isn't particularly noisy or prone to rattling while printing in normal coverage. You do give up some of that blessed silence when switching to draft coverage, although the pay-off is a single page in 15 seconds and a much swifter 17 pages per minute. Coverage quality was average. Nobody's going to think these pages fell out of a laser printer, but for ordinary documents they're passable.

The same is true of photo printing on the Envy 100. Prints sized 4x6 inches took an average of 56 seconds to emerge, and there was a slight tendency for oversaturation of colours in many of our prints. This isn't a dedicated photo printer, but it's not terrible either.

The standard black and colour cartridges come in both standard and XL sizes. HP's figures suggest a page yield of 200 pages for the standard HP 60 Black and 165 pages for the Tri-Colour HP 60 cartridge. Checking online we found cartridges at around AU$26 for the black and AU$30 for the standard colour cartridge. As a rough guideline, that'd give you a price of 13 cents per page for black ink.


Will HP's Envy 100 bring printing into the living room? We've got our doubts about that particular ambition, but we've also got to admit that the Envy 100 does present a nice eye-catching printing solution, backed up by decent print quality. It's no speed demon, and there's clearly ways to print a little cheaper than the Envy 100 offers, but as a complete package it's quite good.