Like other connected printers, it has its own templates that mean you easily produce simple documents like calendars, games and forms straight from the printer. With 128 MB of memory, it has enough space for ordinary users.
The printer has one of the most unusual designs we've ever seen, and with its ultra-slim form factor, metal body and glass trim, it looks more like a DVD player than an inkjet. When you plug it in, the 3.5'' touch-sensitive colour screen switches on, the paper tray opens and the support that catches printed pages slides out. Although the James Bond-style mechanical gadgets may look cool, they don't really speed things up. The printer can print on both sides of the page, has 802.11n WiFi and a memory card reader. There are just two cartridges: one for black ink, the other for colours.
The Envy 100 is slower than the other printers in this range. At 7 pages per minute (ppm) for colour, it can't equal the HP Photosmart with Wireless B110 or the HP C310, for instance, both of which print at 12 ppm. The Envy 100 prints in black and white at 10 ppm, whereas the B110 does the same job at 15 ppm and the C310 at 12 ppm. It's even worse in double-sided mode, where the figures are halved to just 4 ppm.
We weren't surprised to find that printing colour photos was just as slow. Neither the B110 nor the C310 are lightning fast, but both are faster than the Envy 100. To give you another comparison, the Canon Pixma MG5250 is two to three times faster, taking 66 seconds over an A4 photo and 32 seconds for a 4 x 6'' print.
Quality: better in colour
The quality of our office test documents definitely deserves four stars: colour prints were sharp and very nicely done. In black and white, though, small marks make it harder to pick out detail, especially in our test graph and on photos. We managed to improve the quality of grey scale by adjusting the settings: having grey at 'high quality' produces better results.
The scanner's native resolution is 1200 dpi, and you can expect to wait 11 seconds to scan a document at 300 dpi, which is pretty fast. Scanning always adjusts the look of the document, and in this case, colours are less bright and the outline of the boy's face less sharp than in the original.
The overall discrepancy between the colour in the original document and those in the scanned document is 7.2%, which is pretty high.
Copies take 13 seconds in black and white (which is quite fast) but 27 seconds in colour (a little slower).
Energy Consumption & Noise Levels
Despite boasting Energy Star certification, the Envy 100 is pretty power hungry: 5.3 W on standby and 13.6 W while working is just too much.
Our tests confirmed HP's claims that this is a quiet printer, measuring noise levels of just 52 dB(A).
The good news is that the running costs are pretty low for an inkjet. To give you a comparison, the Envy 100 is not unlike the Canon Pixma MG5250 that we mentioned above, but still pricier than the Epson Stylus Office BX625FWD or the Kodak ESP7250. It's still around the lower end of average for an inkjet though.
The bad news is that there's just one colour cartridge, which means you have to replace the whole thing as soon as one colour starts to run out.
- WiFi, double-sided printing and Internet connection
- Slim, stylish form factor
- Low running costs with XL cartridges: just 8.5 p
- Fast scanner with reasonable quality
- Small paper tray (just 80 pages) and no fax
- Slow at printing both documents and photos
- Just one colour cartridge
- High energy consumption
The HP Photosmart Envy 100 could be a great impulse buy for anybody impressed by the fact that this is a printer that doesn't actually look much like a printer. Sleek, quiet and stylish, it will look great in anybody's home office. With plenty of connections, it's a great all-rounder with an appealing combination of touchscreen and web-based features. It does have its limits, though, especially when it comes to printing speeds.