HP Envy 110

The HP Envy 110 e-All-in-One inkjet multifunction printer looks like a classy VCR, acts like a Transformer toy, and prints magnificent photos. It’s also fully equipped for cloud printing. Is all that enough to make you forget its costly inks? Aesthetically oriented home and small-office users who don’t print much might be willing to make the trade-off.

Virtually everything on the Envy 110 e-All-in-One is designed with looks in mind. It forgoes basic black for a dark-mocha casing with copper-colored metal accents. Thanks to its extremely low profile–just 4 inches high–it can sit discreetly on a deep shelf. When needed, the motorized control panel tilts upward, and the arm that catches the paper swings outward; otherwise, they tuck neatly into the machine’s smooth chassis. Another classy touch is the hefty scanner lid, which slowly settles into place rather than slamming when you let it go. Everything on the printer feels rock-solid–an increasingly rare attribute when it comes to any printer, let alone a consumer model. The solid construction also makes the Envy 110 quieter than most printers.

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HP makes setting up the $249 (as of October 12, 2011) Envy 110 e-All-in-One easy. We chose Wi-Fi; USB is also available. The very attractive HTML-based interface lets you access printer settings across the network using your browser. The software bundle includes Photo Creations and HP Scan, which are both capable and attractive applications.

The control panel is wide and flat, with contextually lit controls (they light up only when needed). The 3.45-inch LCD touchscreen offers a crisp picture and good response, though one might argue that HP tries to fit too much information on each screen.

The Envy e-All-in-One prints, copies, and scans, but doesn’t fax. USB/PictBridge, SD Card, and Memory Stick slots are included for printing directly from flash memory. With the focus on looks and a sleek profile, the Envy 110’s paper handling is, not surprisingly, low-volume. Although automatic duplex printing is standard, the bottom-mounted input tray holds only 80 sheets, and the output arm holds just 25 sheets. The worst compromise is the nontelescoping lid on the letter/A4 scanner bed. The design doesn’t put much of a margin between the glass platen and the edge of the cover, so it allows in more light than usual; it created shadows around our magazine scan. Such shadows are easily cropped, but in our tests they seemed to fool the scanner software’s automatic-crop function.

HP was in the vanguard of cloud printing. Web-based printing apps have been available for select HP models for over a year, and the company’s ePrint remote-printing feature launched in early 2011. The Envy 110 e-All-in-One offers all of that functionality, as well as support for Apple’s AirPrint. 
In our tests the Envy 110 e-All-in-One printed very nicely. Images we printed on HP Advanced Photo Paper looked rich. Text was dark and sharp at both the default and best settings. We did notice some slight banding in images printed on plain paper (Hammermill Laserprint); this effect became more pronounced in draft mode, especially with monochrome graphics. Scans and copies were good overall.

The nice-looking output arrives somewhat slowly, however. Our text pages with scattered monochrome graphics printed at only 5.2 pages per minute on the PC and 5 ppm on the Mac–poky compared with the speeds of other inkjet MFPs we’ve tested. Printing a snapshot-size photo at default settings on plain paper took 22 seconds, or about 2.7 ppm; but it slowed to 56 seconds, or a little better than 1 ppm, when we switched to HP Advanced Photo Paper and better settings. On the Mac, a full-page, high-resolution color photo took a slower-than-average 3 minutes and change to print.

The Envy 110 e-All-in-One’s major unattractive feature is its ink costs. Although anyone who buys an MFP for looks and wow-factor probably won’t care, the costs for this model are exorbitant if you use the standard supplies. The HP 60 black cartridge lasts 200 pages and costs $15, or 7.5 cents per page, while the HP 60 unified color cartridge last 160 pages and costs $20, or 12.5 cents per page. That’s a whopping 20 cents for a four-color page. The 600-page, $35 black and 430-page, $41 unified color XL 60 cartridges reduce that to 5.8 cents per black page and 15.3 cents per four-color page.

HP intends the Envy 110 e-All-in-One to sit in a living room or private office as an objet d’art, seeing only occasional use and producing nice output upon request. For that purpose, it’s an excellent product. If you have a budget in mind, however, this MFP will break it quickly. The Canon Pixma MG6220 is just as cool-looking but not nearly as expensive to operate.

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