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HP DeskJet Plus 4120 Review

The HP DeskJet Plus 4120 is an entry-level all-in-one colour printer that costs around £100, and is covered by HP's Instant Ink automatic refill subscription plans.

Verdict

Cheap up front, but not quite so cheap to run, the HP DeskJet Plus 4120 is only good value for money when paired with an Instant Ink subscription.

Pros

  • Low buying price
  • Prints quickly
  • Instant Ink subscription prices are low

Cons

  • So-so print quality
  • Cartridges are expensive
  • Not economical to run without an Instant Ink sub

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £100
  • Prints over Wi-Fi
  • Colour inkjet printer
  • 9p-10p cost per page
  • HP Smart app (Windows, macOS, iOS, Android)
  • 2p-3p cost per page with Instant Ink
  • Dimensions: 428 x 332 x 200mm
  • Weight: 4kg

The HP DeskJet Plus 4120 is an all-in-one inkjet colour printer, scanner, and copier for the home. It’s a cartridge-based printer covered by HP’s Instant Ink subscription plan, which generally works out better value for money than buying cartridges outright.

As well as connecting to Windows and Mac devices via USB, you can also queue print jobs wirelessly from your desktop, or from your phone with the HP Smart app.

HP’s printer boasts both a cheap up-front price and low running costs when taken with an HP Instant Ink subscription. Priced at around £100, it’s one of the cheapest printers going. We took the HP DeskJet Plus 4120 for a spin to see how its print quality fares versus the competition.

Related: Best Printers 2020

HP DeskJet Plus 4120 Design – Simple style with plentiful features

The HP DeskJet Plus 4120 isn’t particularly revolutionary in terms of design; it very much looks like a typical all-in-one printer. It has a small display on the front right-hand side that lets you check ink levels at a glance, as well as the current print status.

Paper is fed in at the top at the back, and the hopper can hold up to 60 sheets of A4, while the scanner/copier in-tray can hold up to 35 sheets of A4 at once. The out-tray folds down with a little extra arm which swings out to the right.

HP Deskjet Plus 4120

Setting up the HP DeskJet Plus 4120 is easygoing, with the cartridges clicking neatly into place.

Setting up the HP DeskJet Plus 4120 is simple. Download and run the HP Smart software from HP’s site, connect the printer to your laptop/desktop device via USB, and follow the on-screen prompts. Once you’ve attached the cartridges and closed the tray, a simple tap of the Wi-Fi icon will print out the rest of the instructions you need to get set up for wireless printing.

Sadly, I was unable to connect my MacBook Pro to the printer wirelessly. Whenever I tried to run the wireless setup wizard via the HP Smart app, I would be asked to sign in for security reasons – clicking the ‘Sign in’ button did nothing. Praise the Lord for trusty old USB.

Luckily, connecting to the HP DeskJet Plus 4120 via the Android HP Smart app was much easier going; I was able to fire off requests to the printer from my phone in a matter of seconds.

HP DeskJet Plus 4120 Performance – Nippy speeds, but suffers software issues

HP promises a printing speed of 8.5ppm (pages per minute) with DeskJet Plus 4120, and that’s broadly what I saw in testing, when printing out five page documents in 32 seconds (9.3pp) and 20 page documents in around 1 minute and 21 seconds (8.5pp). Colour images would take on average 1 minute and 52 seconds individually.

Unfortunately, I ran into an issue when attempting to print colour images from my MacBook Pro – the HP DeskJet Plus 4120 would only print them in black and white. Even with all of the latest drivers were installed, no matter which photo file I attempted to use, the printer would not play ball.

I was able to print colour images from my Android phone instead, so all was not lost. This is likely a software issue, and one I’m sure that HP will iron out with an update. According to HP’s site, the last firmware update for the DeskJet Plus 4100 range was issued on the 10th of June, 2020.

On the plus side, print quality is generally pretty good for a home printer with a maximum resolution of 4800 x 1200dpi.

HP Deskjet Plus 4120

While some fine details are lost, skin tones look nice and neutral, not too blanched or overly saturated. Text too looks passable for the most part, although you will want to run alignment tests to begin with; in early runs of document tests, certain letterforms, mainly lowercase ‘w’s, appeared fuzzy.

The A4 scanner has two presets for documents and photos, and scan at resolutions of up to 300dpi for documents and 1200dpi for photos. It takes between 10-15 seconds to scan documents and 3-4 minutes to scan photos at the highest resolutions. You have the option of saving the results as JPEGs or PDFs.

The HP DeskJet Plus 4120 is a thirsty customer, and not especially cheap to run. Here’s how much mileage you can expect to get out of a black and three colour ink cartridge:

HP 305 Black HP 305 Tri-Color
Page yield 120 100
RRP £10.99 £10.99
Cost per page 0.09p 0.10p

Cartridge prices were taken from HP’s UK site and were correct at the time of publication. Cheaper bundle deals can be snapped up elsewhere, so if you don’t print frequently, and you don’t want to be tied into a subscription, then your best bet is to shop around.

There are three HP Instant Ink subscriptions available to HP DeskJet Plus 4120 buyers, based on how many pages you print per month; 50 pages (£1.99/month), 100 pages (£3.49/month), or 300 pages (£7.99/month), with free cartridges posted out to you whenever the printer detects that its low on ink.

In terms of cost per page, these prices are equivalent to 0.03p and 0.02p, with the more expensive options providing better value for money.

Of course with the HP 305 cartridges giving you around 100 pages a throw any way, you can see why it might make more sense, economically, to go for the middle subscription, which is roughly one tenth of the price. The subscriptions are rolling, so you can cancel whenever’s convenient.

As with the HP Tango X, the pay-as-you-go model might be a better shout.

Related: Best Student Laptop

Should you buy the HP DeskJet Plus 4120?

The low price might be tempting, but the middling print quality and high running costs outside of an Instant Ink subscription plan mean the HP DeskJet Plus 4120 isn’t the best value buy out there. It’ll do in a pinch, but the Epson ET-M2720 is both cheaper to run long-term and easier to use.

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