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HP Envy 100 review: HP Envy 100

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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.

Performance

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.

Conclusion

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.

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