Setting Up The Envy 120
The Envy 120 is quite simple to set up. Pull it out of the box, remove the few pieces of tape and connect the power cord. The printer display will then lead you through the setup procedure.
The setup was fairly standard: load cartridges, load paper, conduct alignment, select connectivity and then enable web services (if you set up the Envy 120 over a network connection).
I set up the Envy 120 over a wireless connection; the printer will give you the option of connecting wirelessly through the printer display or waiting until you download the software and drivers (the recommended option). I went ahead and set up the printer through the display because despite the recommendation, I find it to be the easiest way. The printer will search out available networks, then select your network and plug in the network key (if applicable).
After the printer brings up the home screen and prints out the web service page, go ahead and pop in the software and driver CD. Like all the new HP products, you can choose to run the install via the ePrintCenter, but since I tried during the Officejet X576dw setup and didn’t like it, I stuck with the provided CD.
You’ll have to confirm the installation agreements (web services, internet connection usages settings, etc.) and select the software you’ll download. Once you’ve completed this step, you’ll need to select your connection option. From there, the wizard really does most of the work.
The printer installation is complete, but you will still need to setup the ePrint functionality (if you plan on using it). It’s pretty simple as well: go to eprintcenter.com, sign in to your account (or create one if this is your first HP product) and enter your printer code (found on the print out from the earlier setup).
After entering the code, you can setup up the ePrint settings: create a unique email address, allowed senders, print options, print services, etc.
After your printer is registered, anytime you log into the HP ePrintCenter your home printer info will load. Users can add multiple printers to their unique ePrintCenter by signing in to their account.
Ease Of Use
For those of you new to HP products, the popular ePrint technology mentioned above is a great way to share information, documents, images, etc. The HP ePrintCenter home page will display your ePrint email address (that can be changed anytime), a queue of recent print jobs, real time info about the printer and your print apps.
But if you feel like being truly cutting edge, you can upgrade to HP’s newest software, HP Connected. It has a new streamlined look with less clutter. You still have the home page with a list of devices with their individual ePrint email address (that can be changed anytime) and current status. But now, everything else is found in one of four main categories: collections, services, catalog or devices.
Collections is where you will find the print history for your connected HP devices as well as access all the optional photo software including Snapfish.com, Photo Creations, HP Connected Photo Windows 8 App (only for Windows 8 users) and the Snapfish Mobile Apps for iPhone and Android.
Services will bring you a rundown of all available applications on all your connected HP devices or you can sort them by individual printers. For instance, I have 42 available apps over three connected HP devices on my account, but the Envy 120 only has 19 currently available. However, if I want to add more apps (or printables as HP has started calling them) to the Envy 120, I can click on the catalog category.
Catalog will allow users to browse all 126 apps (printables) available on HP Connected and download them to your device. Devices will simply give you access to each printer on your account.
HP will eventually add their new Instant Ink program to the HP Connected services tab but it is currently in beta testing.
I got the feeling that HP Connected itself is still in the baby stages because I got a server error message several times when I was playing with it and I’d have to refresh the page. But overall, I like it and I definitely think it is better organized than the previous HP ePrintCenter (and if you hate HP Connected, you can still use the HP ePrintCenter).
As far as the Envy 120’s stand alone features, it offers a 4.33-inch touchscreen (upgraded from Envy 110) with 19 pre-loaded web-connected apps (as mentioned above) and three main device menus, a front side USB port and basic memory card reader.
Overall, the touch panel is fairly easy to navigate and sensitive to touch. I like the intelligent touch options and the scrolling feature for the apps. It’s very similar to the flick and press motion used on a variety of smartphones and tablets available on the market.
One of the coolest things about the Envy 120 is the transparent scan lid. Instead of laying the scan face down and crossing your fingers that it will turn out, you lay the scans face up so you know exactly how the scan will turn out.
The scan software was basic but more than adequate for an all-in-one inkjet. Users can select a variety of scan-to options on the first page and then, once the document or photo has been scanned in, choose from a few basic editing tools: crop, rotate, lighten/darken and add/remove pages.
The Envy 120 also comes with the HP Printer Assistant, a home center with shortcuts to everything Envy 120 related; you’ll find the ePrintCenter, device software, shopping, status alerts, utilities, setup, embedded web server and more. It also offers a local search as well as a web search (granted you have internet access).
Print Speed and Quality Tests
HP lists the print speeds for the Envy 120 as 7 ppm in black and 4 ppm in color and I found those to be accurate during our testing. When printing our 40-page black and white text document, the average print speed was 7 ppm but got as high as 8 ppm in some tests. When printing mixed documents with both color images and black and white text, the print speeds dropped to about 6 ppm. When printing full color images, graphs, etc., the print speeds averaged 4 ppm, but did come out slower in some tests.
The black and white print quality was good; solid and dark. The color quality was average, which wasn’t too surprising for an inkjet printer printing on copy paper. I would say the Envy 120 was very comparable to the previous generation Envy 110 and to the competition in this area.
Print speeds will increase when printing in the draft mode. The print speeds are doubled in this mode at an average of 14 ppm, with a first page out in as fast as 9 seconds and the quality is very similar. The slight difference being in clarity with the lettering not being as solid as the normal draft mode, but it’s hard to tell at a quick glance.
The Envy 120 does offer automatic duplexing but print speeds slow down considerably (talking about one double sided page a minute, maybe two) and I had some issues with paper jams. First, it was hard to get the paper unjammed because of the size of the Envy 120 and limited access to the paper path. Second, after I would get the paper unjammed, the printer was still convinced something was blocking the paper path and I would have to restart the printer.
Photo print speeds were average. It took about two and a half minutes to print a 8.5 x 11-inch sample of our full color balloon image. The Envy 120 printed a 4×6 image in as fast as 52 seconds, but took as long as 55 seconds.
The photo quality is improved over the Envy 110 but is still lacking compared to other HP products I’ve tested. The colors are better but the details still aren’t as sharp compared to print samples from competitors in the same class. There is no secondary photo tray because of the compact size of the Envy 120 which can lead to misprints if you forget what paper is in the tray (as I am prone to do).