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HP Photosmart 5520 - Performance and Verdict

By Simon Williams



  • Recommended by TR
HP Photosmart 5520


Our Score:


HP Photosmart 5520 - Performance

HP rates the Photosmart 5520 at speeds of 11ppm in black and 8ppm in colour. Our five-page black print completed in 39s, giving a speed of 7.7ppm and this increased to 8.8ppm in both draft mode and in normal mode on the longer, 20-page document. Not 11ppm, but not too far off. Subjectively, this feels like a speedy printer, not waiting long either to start printing or to produce each page.

One of the key new features of this machine over its predecessor is duplex print and our 20-page document printed as a 10-page, double-sided test, produced 4.4 sides per minute. HP seems to have done some work on ink drying times, as the wait between sides is down to only a few seconds.

HP Photosmart 5520 - Speeds and Costs

The five-page colour graphics test gave 4.5ppm, which is disappointing compared with the claims, but still well up compared with its price rivals. A single-page copy, which looked very similar to the original, took a respectable 27s, and 15 x 10cm photos took a minute, almost irrespective of source, which is very good.

The Photosmart 5520 can print from iOS and Android devices and the Android App is intelligent enough to pick up the printer from cold, without even a request for a scan. It also wireless printed directly, rather than via ePrint, which makes it quicker.

HP Photosmart 5520 - Feature Table

The prints we produced were very good. Black text is some of the best we’ve seen from an inkjet, sharp and dense, and colour graphics are solid and bright. Photo prints are natural, with good levels of shadow detail and colour variations, as in areas of sky, are smooth. Some of the best results we’ve seen from a sub-£100 all-in-one.

Duplex pages are automatically reduced in size, by between 5 and 10 percent, which is annoying, if you’re trying to produce a desktop published page.

HP Photosmart 5520 - Cartridges

The four ink cartridges are available in standard and high yield, XL versions and using the better value, XL consumables gives page costs of 3.1p for black print and 7.4p for colour. Both these figures are better than from several rival machines, such as the Canon PIXMA MG4250 (slightly) and the Epson Expression Home XP-405.


HP’s Photosmart 5520 continues the success of its predecessor, but adds in faster mobile print and duplex printing. It’s easy to use, quick to print, reasonably compact – though the paper supports are messy – and comparatively inexpensive to run. It’s a good, mid-range all-in-one producing excellent plain and photo prints.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Features 9
  • Print Quality 9
  • Print Speed 8
  • Value 8

Crofty Smith

February 23, 2013, 10:14 am

This printer is a load of ole tosh - nothing but paper jams and the print quality is dreadful - the black bleeds into colours no matter what paper u use and lines accross pictures even after cleaning and doing all the fangled jobs you are supposed to - my last hp was great until the black refused to work which apparently is a common problem with hp printers - nut this is rubbish

Chris Ryan

February 24, 2013, 5:26 pm

Very pleased with this printer. Nothing like the issues described by Crofty below - maybe a replacement is in order??
Print out is superb on photos and documents, leagues ahead of the Canon Pixma it replaces which was a similar price point.
So easy to print straight from the iPad or Mrs iPhone without transferring it via email then to a PC etc - though not yet got it set up with my own Galaxy S3 yet (a job for another day).
Print out is very quick too, again in comparison to the Pixma for all black and colour print jobs so far.
Built in apps are icing on the cake, daughter must have used half the included cartridges in the 3 hours it has been in the house doing mazes, Disney and Dreamworks print outs, but not a worry as the ink prices are relatively low too.

Joycey Scott

April 13, 2013, 5:49 pm

I am on my second HP printer 5520 and unhappy to say that printing photographs with all the right ink and paper is still producing a very poor quality. I am very disappointed as my previous HP printer was very good. This printer will be returned for a refund, I'm not messing about anymore.

John Brooks

April 24, 2013, 11:03 pm

Just lost a 5510 series after about a year of service, bought this to replace it and have to say this is not an improvement. Why can't I see the tools menu on my pc monitor or am I missing something? It is a pain in the backside having to get down on my knees to check ink levels etc. If I am missing something will someone from the world of tech please let me know. Cheers


August 20, 2013, 12:58 pm

Awful printer. I have had it replaced and still have problems with just terrible print quality. The print cartridges needs replacing all the time, even though we hardly print anything. Would rather pay more for a better printer than this pile of rubbish. Cheaper to buy a replacement than keep buying new ink.


August 23, 2013, 11:14 pm

Can anyone tell me why ,my printer which has took, before wont accept my memory stick,put the stick in and told me no memory stick press ok.
Can you tell me if I am doing any thing wrong.


September 2, 2013, 2:19 am

Never had a bad Hp printer till now. the 5520 runs out of inks after few uses and when they are replaced they don't work. 2 out of four. Running all the tool options just use more of the little amt of ink in the new cartridges. Noisy as heck and wireless interferes with other computers .

Not Happy

September 2, 2013, 3:40 am

Very disappointing printer. Bought primarily because it can also scan only to find it doesn't scan properly! Can't 'scan to computer' if you're using an iOS operating system unless you only want it to scan a 1cm square of the document. Can't 'scan to email' because it gives five error messages before it will actually send it, then after 30mins to scan 2 pages and send them to my email (cos it won't scan them to my computer) the scans are useless anyway! Terrible quality and a file that can't be read by Windows or Mac software (I've tried both).


September 3, 2013, 5:23 pm

try any Linux OS they are free and work


September 5, 2013, 6:00 am

Constantly has paper jams, prints terrible quality images. The only perk is the ability to receive and print emails, but obviously doesn't help when it's constantly jamming (even when there's no paper in there). I have replaced as I am extremely disappointed.


September 28, 2013, 5:07 pm

I have had three different HP printers from my local Tesco; each returned in less than one week.
The HP Photosmart 5520 Series 143 refused to even print out a correctly aligned piece of its own printed graph paper; the HP logo at the bottom right corner was missing. The scan of the Printer Test Page was missing the top left half rectangular lined boundary. Packaging and lid HP label strip was also missing. Possibly a returned item ?
The other cheaper printers would not produce a clean Printer Test Page and even scanned and printed even worse.
Fortunately Tesco shop manager will pass all of this to Tesco HQ and have words with HP ref their Quality Control.
Prompt cash refunds were offered and accepted.
These results were shown to Staples and PC World but they had not had any similar feedback. Perhaps a bad batch at local Tecos ?


October 16, 2013, 12:44 pm

just received a replacement under warranty from HP due to poor quality photo printing but replacement is just as bad. I have an old HP 4280 that prints far better quality photos than this "photosmart" model.


October 24, 2013, 9:09 pm

I'm a bit disappointed that it does not appear to have a onscreen control centre, like the c309a. Its cheaper than the c309a its true.


February 1, 2015, 1:09 am

Definitely the worst printer I've ever purchased. Paper doesn't align properly. Borderless printing doesn't work due to poor alignment. Paper jams regularly. Print quality sucks. Stops printing correctly even with plenty of ink remaining.


September 23, 2015, 8:47 am

never in my life I bought a printer that was that useless. I thought to buy a HP again, as for years I had HP and it was really good. Ink is out in no time, paper jams, really slow, wireless doesn't work or take ages (totally useless feature, just jam the cable in, than it works fine), not user friendly at all! HP could have done a better job than this crap!! So no new ink for me, I will buy a whole new printer.


October 4, 2015, 1:49 pm

And here I thought I was the only one having problems with this printer. Simple (but pricey) solution.......going to buy another printer and it certainly won't be another HP.

And I can remember when Hewlett Packard was synonymous with quality.

Therese Leignel

March 11, 2016, 12:39 pm

Avoid this at all cost - a complete waste of space - the very wrost printer I have ever come across - everything absolutely everything goes wrong with it - quality of print ZERO - jamming all the time, printing 10 pages at the same time - unable to read what you print - AVOID if you want to keep your sanity

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