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HP Envy Pro 6420 Review

A colour all-in-one printer that blends versatility with style

Verdict

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The HP Envy Pro 6420 is essentially a HP DeskJet Plus 4120 that offers higher-quality prints; you get similar functionality, for a similar price.

Pros

  • Excellent print quality
  • Low up-front cost
  • Attractive, space-saving design

Cons

  • Tricky to set up
  • Thirsty for ink

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £90
  • Ink type: Cartridge
  • Supports Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android
  • Cost per page: 6p-10p
  • Paper tray capacity: 100 A4
  • Print speed: 12.27ppm
  • Dimensions: 433 x 512 x 194mm
  • Weight: 6.16kg

The HP Envy Pro 6420 is a low-cost all-in-one colour printer aimed at families and home-office workers. It’s a multi-function device, combining printing, copying, and scanning.

Being a cartridge-based inkjet printer, you’ll need to keep an eye on those ink levels, especially if you’ll be printing hundreds of sheets every month. If you’re a heavy-duty user, then one of HP’s Instant Ink subscriptions might be more economical.

Able to receive print instructions over humble USB from desktops and laptops, and over Wi-Fi via mobile and desktop apps, there are plenty of ways to get the Envy Pro 6420 to print your documents and photos.

It also supports double-sided printing (aka auto-duplexing), scans at 1200 x 1200dpi and copies at 300 x 300dpi. It prints black ink at 1200 x 1200, and prints in colour at up to 4800 x 1200dpi, allowing for very sharp graphics and text.

Price and availability

The HP Envy Pro 6420 is available to buy now, although few places were stocking it at the time of writing.

Your best bet is Amazon, which is selling the printer for £89.99. Alternatively, it’s available from independent merchants on eBay UK for between £75-£80.

Design and features – A Brutalist masterpiece in miniature

  • Sleek and eye-catching design means it isn’t a space hog
  • Setup process can be painful – use a USB cable
  • Can grab more than one sheet of A4 while printing

The HP Envy Pro 6420 bucks the boring black-box-printer trend. All of the main components – the document feeder, the scanner, and main body of the printer itself – are hived off into discrete sections, which make it look more like a scale model of the Southbank Centre than an all-in-one.

Measuring roughly 432.5 x 511.5 x 194mm (WDH), the HP Envy Pro 6420 doesn’t take up as much space as you might think. It’s reasonably heavy, at 6.16kg, so not so easy to shift around; but not impossible either.

The ADF (auto document feeder) for the copier sits on the top. The hopper that swings out can hold up to 35 sheets of A4 paper. Lifting this section up reveals the scanner glass. There’s no slow-close mechanism here, so everything has to be pushed all the way back and carefully replaced. Luckily, there’s a slow close on the printer’s hood, so changing ink cartridges is less of a hassle. Recessed finger grips at the side let you gently pop the hood and ease it open.

The main paper in-tray is cunningly concealed at the very bottom of the HP Envy Pro 6420. This slides out and can hold up to 100 sheets of plain A4, or 40 sheets of photo paper. There are guide markings for A4, as well as 10 x 15mm and Letter-sized sheets, along with adjustable clips that pinch in at the side. If it looks like a tight fit, it’s because it is. Sometimes, during printing, the HP Envy Pro 6420 had the habit of grabbing two or three sheets of A4 by mistake.

While there’s no LCD control panel, there are several backlit controls for copy/resume and status indicators, for example, to let you know at-a-glance if the HP Envy Pro 6420 is connected to Wi-Fi.

And, since there’s no control panel, you’ll need to use either an HP Smart desktop or mobile app to set everything up.

You’re probably better off connecting a desktop device to the HP Envy Pro 6420 via USB for set-up, since the printer repeatedly declined to connect to any of my phones via Bluetooth – this is something I’m chalking up to Bluetooth itself generally being rubbish, rather than a fault of the HP Envy Pro 6420 itself. No USB cable is included in the box, but the type you’ll need is a USB-A-to-USB-B, which you can pick up for peanuts from virtually anywhere.

The HP Smart Windows and iOS apps will allow you to safely and securely connect the HP Envy Pro 6420 to your wireless network, and input your SSID credentials. While Windows users may also need to install drivers, for Mac users there’s no need thanks to Apple AirPrint support. The whole process should take around 15-20 minutes, depending on the quality of your Wi-Fi connection.

Once setup is complete, you’re free to download and use the HP Smart mobile apps (iOS, Android). These are super-easy to use, and allow you to keep tabs on cartridge ink levels as well as issue print commands for documents and photos.

As well as being able to print files stored locally on your phone, you can also pull in documents from iCloud (iOS only), Google Drive (Android only) and Dropbox (iOS, Android), as well as grab photos from Google Photos and Facebook.

  • Text, graphics and photos all look excellent
  • It’s a bit of an ink guzzler, so be mindful of cartridge levels
  • Print speeds are about average

The HP Envy Pro 6420 is a reasonably fast printer – not the quickest I’ve tested, but not super-slow either. Printing out single pages of text takes between 4-5 seconds (4.42 on average), while our five-page test documents took between 11-12 seconds; I recorded 11.68ppm in tests.

Naturally, bigger documents will take a while longer, with 20-page documents taking around 1min 40secs – I recorded on average 1min 37.7secs, which is equivalent to 12.27 pages per minute. A single image on plain A4 took 44.07 seconds.

Print quality is high, with text, graphics and photos all looking sharp, rich, and detailed – even on Normal print quality. I wasn’t able to print on glossy photo paper – the maximum paper weight that the HP Envy Pro 6420 will support is 75g/m2; or, in plain English, nothing heavier than standard plain A4.

The HP Envy Pro 6420 uses HP’s 305 cartridges, but will also play nicely with bigger XL units and even the 307XL blank ink cartridge. Here’s how far they’ll all go:

HP 305 Black HP 305 Tri-Color HP 305XL Black HP 305XL Tri-Color HP 307XL Black
Page yield 120 100 240 200 400
RRP £10.99 £10.99 £19.99 £17.99 £26.99
Cost per page 9p 10p 8p 9p 6p

Editor’s note: Prices were taken from HP’s UK site and were correct at the time of publication. 

As always, you can often find deals online, where black and colour ink cartridges bundled together can be had for less – and inevitably, the more expensive high-yield cartridges offer better value for money. Generally speaking, the blank ink cartridge is the one that’s going to get hit the hardest, so it’s probably best to grab the biggest one you can, regardless of your printing habits.

Alongside topping up as and when, there are also HP Instant Ink subscriptions, which will see you get sent new cartridges in the post whenever the HP Envy Pro 6420 detects that ink levels are low. Instant Ink subs are based on how many pages you print per month, and cost the following:

  • 15 pages: 99p/month
  • 50 pages: £1.99/month
  • 100 pages: £3.49/month
  • 300 pages: £9.99/month
  • 700 pages: £22.49/month

That top-tier subscription is actually cheaper than the biggest cartridge – although, if you’re not running hundreds and hundreds of copies and print-offs every month, that could quickly get expensive.

HP Envy Pro 6420 conclusion

The HP Envy Pro 6420 has a very affordable price point for all-in-one colour printer, making it a good option for those who occasionally need to print out a boarding pass, or scan some documents in your home office.

However, due to the high cost of HP’s cartridges, those who print a large amount every month will only find good printing value by subscribing to HP’s Instant Ink service, which isn’t exactly convenient. This also isn’t a good option for printing on glossy paper, so you’ll need to look elsewhere if that’s a priority.

You should buy the HP Envy Pro 6420 if…

  • You’re on a budget
    For around £100, you have a very capable colour all-in-one.
  • You’re not printing huge amounts every month
    If you’re printing off reports, homework and the occasional colour print, the HP Envy Pro 6420 can be quite economical.
  • You are printing huge amounts every month
    On the flip side, the right Instant Ink subscription could work out cheaper than buying cartridges on a pay-as-you-go basis.

You shouldn’t buy the HP Envy Pro 6420 if…

  • You want to print on glossy photo paper
    Since it can’t handle media heavier than plain A4, you won’t have any joy printing on fancy photo paper – look at the Canon PIXMA 7450, or Epson XP-7100.
  • You just need a cheap colour printer
    Don’t need to scan or copy? Check out the Canon PIXMA TS305 instead – it’s even cheaper.
  • You’re already oversubscribed
    Without an Instant Ink subscription, running costs aren’t cheap, so a unit with ink tanks, such as the Epson ET-2720, might be a better consideration.

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