Amazon Review by Amazon Customer
2215 people found the following review helpful
Great Printer, Deceiving Software, Mediocre Scanner, Expensive Ink.
The HP Envy 4520 Wireless Color PhotoPrinter is a very reasonable printer/scanner combination. There are a couple of issues you probably want to be aware of before making your purchasing decision however.
PACKAGING: Packaging is fine, with the exception of not having a full printed manual included. Adequate styrofoam padding will protect the printer from a rough shipment. Amazon places the box within a box for shipping, so you get great protection and it it should arrive with no problem.
SETUP: Very simple, very easy. From only having to remove two pieces of tape, to the very intuitive on screen wireless setup… well done. The ink is easy to install and the “Start Here” documentation was easy to read. Connecting to my wireless network was as simple as finding it on a list from the touch screen interface and typing in my password… no laptop or ethernet cable required.
Setup on the computer side was a little more disappointing, however. It requires using the included CD-ROM, which is fine… but what is NOT fine is all the bloatware and spyware settings the install interface tries to trick you into doing. Be very careful and take your time during this installation. For example, HP will default to very intrusive monitoring of your printer usage - basically giving them blanket access to your computer as long as they “anonymize” the data it is collecting. You must actually go into the text of the User Agreement, find the hyperlinks, and then click them to change the defaults from active monitoring. These settings are hidden and this is not ethical behavior for a company. Privacy settings should be obvious and clear. Sorry HP, this is what is dropping you to 3 stars, not the hardware itself.
HARDWARE: The hardware is well designed and aesthetically pleasing. The printing quality is superb and even testing this on standard paper, the photographs looked crisp and professional. When printing, a small little ruler shaped paper catch will eject outward automatically to keep the paper from falling into the floor. You can press this back in with your hand afterwards.
The scanner, however, isn’t the greatest. It should work fine for making copies of documents, but you’ll definitely want something more functional if you are archiving photographs. The test photographs that were saved to JPEGS obviously had suffered through a couple of software filters before being saved to disk. The wireless functionality of the scanner worked great but requires the computer to which it is being sent to be online at the time of the scan.
One pleasant surprise was the on-demand internet form printing. This actually is useful. From the touch panel on the front of the printer one can print ruled notebook paper, graph paper, coloring book pages, mazes, calendars, etc. This is a very nice feature and appreciated. If you enable the web account portion of this service you can even automatically set the printer to print certain things at intervals automatically, such as calendar pages at the beginning of the month.
INK: The HP Envy 4520 is a loss lead. HP will sell you this printer for cheap, and then you pay a huge markup on the ink. As of writing this review, a black and color ink cartridge will cost you over 50% of the price of the printer itself. Ouch! HP also tries to wrangle you into subscribing to its new ink service. In a nutshell, your printer will phone home whenever your ink starts running low and HP sends out more. The top tier plan allows you to print up to 3600 ISO pages for a flat $792 a year. The cheapest plan restricts you to only 600 pages for $132 a year. I have no interest in this service, but perhaps it would be attractive to someone somewhere.
CONCLUSION: This is a great inkjet printer as far as the hardware is concerned. The scanner is functional as a document scanner, but not sufficient for a photo archive. The required installation of software on the PC side is deceiving and attempts to trick the user into privacy settings that very favorable to HP. And like most printers of this class, the printer is cheap… the ink is going to cost you some blood, sweat, and tears though.