HP Envy 4520 All-In-One Printer, First Take: Business features at a budget price

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All-in-one (AIO) printers are getting much more compact, even with a full complement of features. HP's Envy 4520 packs in wireless and double-sided printing as well as printing from a phone or tablet, all in a svelte black unit.


The HP Envy 4520 AIO printer: all the controls are on the touch-screen.

Image: HP Inc

What used to be premium business features are coming to the budget end of the market. The Envy 4520 is a small, neat, wireless all-in-one printer with double-sided printing and comprehensive tablet and phone printing options, which is impressive for the £49.99 (inc. VAT) price tag.

Setup is mostly excellent: when you turn it on, the printer asks you to pick and confirm your language and location using the small touchscreen control on the front; then you're asked to load paper so it can print a test sheet, which it then asks you to put on the scanner to use for alignment. That's much better than putting a pre-printed alignment sheet in the manual that many users will never find. We also love the way the printer automatically extends the arm that printouts rest on, so pages don't tumble to the floor.

The printer also shows you the URL to visit to install the printer driver, but at this point setup becomes much more confusing because it doesn't turn wi-fi on or remind you to do that yourself. You could connect via USB of course, but wireless printing is far more convenient. If you don't have Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), where you push a button on your router to authorise devices without typing in a password, prepare for a trip back to the days of T9 text messaging: instead of a full keyboard, HP gives you T9-style groups of letters so you have to tap the 'abc' button three times to type 'c', which is a strange interface choice these days.

After the printer is setup, you can find it on other PCs just by looking for a printer to add, at which point you can read the PIN off the printer screen to type into your PC, and the printer driver will be installed automatically.


Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) is the easiest way to connect to your new printer.

Image: Mary Branscombe/ZDNet

Once the printer driver is installed, HP uses a bit more of your ink to print a sheet telling you that you need to go to the HP Connected site to activate your printer and personalise its email address. The idea is that you can email documents from a phone or tablet to print them, which is extremely useful because it means you can print a document while you're out and have it waiting when you get back to the office (or print it remotely for a colleague). You can also print from iOS, Android, Chrome, Kindle and BlackBerry devices on the same wi-fi network as the printer, as well as from Windows devices.

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We're not sure about wasting paper and ink printing out the URL. There's a claim code that's more convenient to have in front of you rather than displayed on the printer, which might be on the other side of the room. But you only need that if you've been using the printer for a while without activating it, so printing it should be optional.

It's easy to suspect that HP wants to encourage you to use up your ink and paper: unlike previous models, the 4520 doesn't suggest printing a crossword automatically every week, but it does come with the HP Printables options, to print crosswords, horoscopes and other free offerings that get you to actually print more pages. Possibly more useful are the templates stored in the printer, so you can print out a sheet of graph paper or music staves.

Duplex printing on a budget

The Envy 4520 is one of the few home and small-office printers with double-sided printing, which it makes far simpler than even some business models, although you don't get other business features -- there's no auto document feeder for scanning or copying, for instance, nor is there an Ethernet port. The duplex settings let you choose to flip on the long or short edge of the paper -- like turning the page in a newspaper or flipping to the next month in a calendar. If you're using photo paper or any other type of paper with different sides, the lack of a printed manual becomes annoying; the icon on the paper tray makes it look as if you put the side to print first face down, when it should actually go face up.


The Envy 4520 supports duplex printing via a simple interface.

Image: Mary Branscombe/ZDNet

We found the Envy 4520's print quality to be excellent for text, graphics and photos -- especially given the price. Print speed -- for both text and graphics -- was also impressive, although the printer sometimes spits out the sheet of paper to dry before printing the other side. That works well in most cases, although we did find one test printout on photo paper became smudged when printing the other side of the page. The Active Ink Balancing system in the printer cartridges does a good job of keeping colours accurate even if you're running low on one colour (usually, if you run low on blue, you'll get very yellow greens). It's not perfect, but it will keep your presentations from looking off-colour when you're only low on one colour and don't want to change the whole cartridge.

If you want predictable ink pricing and you print a predictable number of pages a month, you can use HP's Instant Ink subscription to pay monthly for printing a set number of pages, with a new cartridge turning up automatically when you need it. You can set that up yourself directly on the printer (in the past you had to buy a kit to enroll your printer), or you can stick to paying for cartridges when you need them.


Printing Technology Ink-jet - color
Monthly Duty Cycle (max) 1000 pages
Office Machine Features Mobile Printing
Display Diagonal Size 2.2"
Recommended Monthly Volume 100 - 400 pages
Wireless Ready Yes
Mobile Printing Capability Apple AirPrint, HP ePrint, Mopria Print Service, wireless direct printing
Standard Memory 64 MB
Max Supported Memory 64 MB
Inkjet Technology HP Thermal Inkjet
Ink Cartridge Configuration 1 black cartridge, 1 color cartridge (cyan, magenta, yellow)
AirPrint Enabled Yes
Power Consumption Sleep 0.55 Watt
Power Consumption Standby 3.05 Watt
Power Consumption Operational 15 Watt
Display Diagonal Size 2.2"
Display Diagonal Size (metric) 5.5 cm
Consumables Included 1 x cartridge (black) - up to 190 pages - HP 63
1 x cartridge (tricolor) - up to 165 pages - HP 63
Color Category black
Max Copying Speed Up to 7.5 ppm (mono) / up to 4 ppm (color)
Max Copying Resolution Up to 600 x 300 dpi (mono) / up to 600 x 300 dpi (color)
Max Copying Speed B/W 7.5 ppm
Max Copying Speed Color 4 ppm
Max Copying Resolution B/W 600 x 300 dpi
Max Copying Resolution Color 600 x 300 dpi
Max Document Enlargement 400 %
Max Document Reduction 25 %
Maximum Copies 50
Installed Size 64 MB
Max Supported Size 64 MB
Environmental Standards
ENERGY STAR Certified Yes
Max Printing Resolution Up to 1200 x 1200 dpi (mono) / up to 4800 x 1200 dpi (color)
Max Printing Speed Up to 9.5 ppm (mono) / up to 6.8 ppm (color)
Max Resolution B/W 1200 x 1200 dpi
Max Resolution Color 4800 x 1200 dpi
Printer Drivers / Emulations PCL 3 GUI
Max Printing Speed B/W (ppm) 20 ppm
Max Printing Speed Color (ppm) 16 ppm
Automatic Duplexing Yes
Ink Cartridge Configuration 1 black cartridge, 1 color cartridge (cyan, magenta, yellow)
Ink Palette Supported (Colors) Cyan, magenta, yellow, black
Color 4-ink
Inkjet Technology HP Thermal Inkjet
Manufacturer Warranty
Service & Support Limited warranty - 1 year
Operating System Support MS Windows 7, MS Windows XP SP3, MS Windows Vista, Apple Mac OS X 10.8, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Apple Mac OS X 10.9, Apple Mac OS X 10.10, Windows 10
Software Included Drivers & utilities, HP Photo Creations, HP Update
Environmental Parameters
Sound Emission (Operating) 51 dBA
Min Operating Temperature 41 °F
Max Operating Temperature 104 °F
Sound Emission 51 dBA (operating)
Humidity Range Operating 20 - 80% (non-condensing)
Document & Media Handling
Max Media Size A4/Legal
Document & Media Handling Details Input tray - 100 sheets size: 3 in x 5 in - Legal (8.5 in x 14 in)/A4 (8.25 in x 11.7 in) weight: 64 g/m² - 250 g/m²
Output tray - 25 sheets
Speed Details Printing: up to 20 ppm - B/W draft
Printing: up to 16 ppm - color draft
Printing: up to 9.5 ppm - B/W (ISO)
Printing: up to 6.8 ppm - color (ISO)
Copying: up to 7.5 ppm - B/W (ISO)
Copying: up to 4 ppm - color (ISO)
Scanning: up to 8 ppm - B/W
Scanning: up to 4 ppm - color
Max Original Size Letter A Size (8.5 in x 11 in)/A4 (8.25 in x 11.7 in)
Original Type sheets
Media Type Class envelopes, photo paper, plain paper
Media Size Class A4/Legal
Min Media Size 3 in x 5 in
Min Media Weight 64 g/m²
Max Media Weight 250 g/m²
Supported Media Type envelopes, photo paper, plain paper
Supported Media Sizes 3 in x 5 in, 3.95 in x 5.9 in, A4 (8.25 in x 11.7 in), A5 (5.83 in x 8.25 in), A6 (4.13 in x 5.83 in), B5 (6.93 in x 9.83 in), C6 (4.5 in x 6.38 in), DIN long (8.27 in x 3.9 in), Legal (8.5 in x 14 in), Letter A Size (8.5 in x 11 in)
Supported Envelope Sizes US No 10 (4.1 in x 9.5 in)
Borderless Photo Sizes 8.5 in x 11.7 in
Standard Media Capacity 100 sheets
Output Trays Capacity 25 sheets
Brand HP
Product Line HP Envy
Model 4520 All-in-One
Localization English
Country Kits United States
Packaged Quantity 1
Interface Required
Connector Type 4 pin USB Type B
Type USB 2.0
Total Qty 1
Office Machine
Type printer / copier / scanner
Functions copier, printer, scanner
Monthly Duty Cycle (max) 1000 pages
Recommended Monthly Volume 100 - 400 pages
Printing Technology ink-jet
Printing Output Type color
Office Machine Features Mobile Printing
Dimensions & Weight
Width 17.5 in
Depth 14.4 in
Height 5 in
Weight 11.93 lbs
Optical Resolution 1200 x 2400 dpi
Grayscale Depth 8-bit
Color Depth 24 bit
Scan Element CIS
Dimensions & Weight (Shipping)
Weight (Shipping) 14.22 lbs
Consumables Included
Type cartridge
Duty Cycle 165 pages, 190 pages
Product Name HP 63
Color black, tricolor
Included Qty 1
Printing System
Inkjet Technology HP Thermal Inkjet
Color 4-ink
Photo Printing Capability Yes
Ink Palette Supported (Colors) cyan, magenta, yellow, black
Ink Cartridge Configuration 1 black cartridge, 1 color cartridge (cyan, magenta, yellow)
Document & Media Handling Details
Type input tray, output tray
Media Feeder Capacity 100 sheets, 25 sheets
Min Media Weight 64 g/m²
Max Media Weight 250 g/m²
Min Media Size 3 in x 5 in
Max Media Size Legal (8.5 in x 14 in)/A4 (8.25 in x 11.7 in)
Operating System Support Apple Mac OS X 10.10, MS Windows 7, MS Windows Vista, MS Windows XP SP3, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 8.1
Software Included HP Photo Creations, HP Update, drivers & utilities
Speed Details
Function copying, printing, scanning
Max Speed 16 ppm, 20 ppm, 4 ppm, 6.8 ppm, 7.5 ppm, 8 ppm, 9.5 ppm
Mode B/W, B/W (ISO), B/W draft, color, color (ISO), color draft
PC Connectivity
Connection Availability Yes
Interface USB 2.0, Wi-Fi(n)
AirPrint Enabled Yes
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Full Contract Period 1 year
Power Adapter
Voltage Required AC 120/230 V
Frequency Required 50/60 Hz
Power Consumption Operational 15 Watt
Power Consumption Standby 3.05 Watt
Power Consumption Sleep 0.55 Watt

Where To Buy


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Where To Buy

HP Envy 4520 All-in-One Printer

Part Number: F0V69A