HP rates the Photosmart 7520 at 14ppm for black print and 10ppm for colour. Although we didn’t reach those speeds under test, subjectively the printer seemed fast. We saw 7.7ppm for our 5-page text test and this increased to 11.3ppm for the 20-page document, not far off spec.
The 5-page black text and colour graphic document gave only 5.7ppm, though, only just over half the rated speed and the 20-side, 10-page duplex test gave a slow 3.7 sides per minute. Few people will opt to print duplex, at less than a third the speed of single-sided print.
This machine exhibits an old HP trait, where pages are automatically reduced in size when printed duplex. The height and width is reduced by about 10 percent, in comparison with the same pages printed single-sided.
We assume this is because of increased print margins required by the duplexer, but other makes of printer don’t do it and it makes a nonsense of any form of page layout. Why doesn’t HP just tell you the page image is too big, so you can make your own adjustments?
A colour copy from the flatbed took 22s and a 5-page black copy from the ADF took 1:02, both of which are reasonable. The control panel offers 2-sided to 2-sided copies, but it turns out you have to feed the source sheets twice; there’s no duplex scanning.
Photo prints took between 1:02 and 1:27, depending on where we printed from, but even the slowest time is fine.
Print quality is very good, with clean, sharp text, looking close to laser quality. Colours on plain paper are bright and solid and even reversed text, white on black, is very readable. A full-colour copy is also unusually close to the original, though loses some definition. Photos are bright, but never unnatural, with good rendition of detail in a range of hues.
The five ink cartridges are available in two capacities and using the XL versions gives pages costs of 3.0p for black and 8.1p for colour. These are reasonable, compared with the competition, without turning any heads.
There are plenty of reasons to buy a Photosmart 7520, including its print quality, and feature set. At £130, though, there are other choices, such as the Epson Expression Photo XP-750 with faster photo prints and a useful CD/DVD tray.
The Canon PIXMA MG6350 is also a contender, with its ice-white case, twin trays and six-ink print, though it’s hampered by the unpredictable print times its continual housekeeping forces on it.
The HP Photosmart 7520 is a well-designed all-in-one for home and home office use. It’s easy to set up and use, thanks in part to its effective touchscreen controls, and produces very good quality prints and photos. Running costs are reasonable and print speeds on plain paper are good, except for duplex prints. Overall, the machine is good value and should be on your short list.