HP Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One review

The Photosmart 7520 seems like an excellent bit of hardware, but HP's simplistic drivers will prevent demanding users getting the best from it

24 Jan 2013
Our Rating 
3/5
Price when reviewed 
130
inc VAT
Buy it now for 

Specifications

print speed, USB, 802.11b/g/n wireless, 220x454x455mm

This multifunction inkjet sits at the top of HP's Photosmart range. As the name suggests it's a photo-orientated printer for the home, but it's packed with a variety of useful features including a 25-page ADF and a fax modem, potentially making it an all-rounder capable of taking on office duties. It's rather big and boxy, with a tilting touchscreen control panel that looks like someone has stuck an Android phone on the front of the printer.

HP Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One

We haven't always enjoyed HP's printer touch interfaces, but this one is brilliant. It comprises a 4.3in screen surrounded by a few context-sensitive function buttons, displaying clear and feature-rich menus. It's generally quick to respond to taps and swipes, but we found it helped to briefly tap-hold selections to be sure the input had registered. The huge screen is put to good use, offering features such as a document preview during copy operations.

This is the first time we've encountered an HP printer using the increasingly popular five-ink setup, which includes a pigment black for text printing on plain paper, and dye-based black, cyan, magenta and yellow inks for photos. Unlike some other systems, HP's photo black ink is only used during photo prints, meaning that we can't factor it into our running cost calculations. Excluding it, pages of mixed text and graphics should cost just under 7p, which is quite reasonable. HP's figures suggest that the photo cartridge will last for an average of 290 6x4in photos, which works out at roughly 4p per photo for this cartridge alone.

HP Printer Assistant

HP's Printer Assistant is an integrated way to manage all of the Photosmart 7520's features

Typically for an HP inkjet, the Photosmart 7520 produced good quality results on plain paper, delivering crisp black text at a rapid 12.5ppm and nearly reaching 19ppm at Draft quality. Colour speeds were less impressive, but the results were still very good.

HP Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One

You'd hope that a photo-orientated printer would also excel on glossy paper, but the 7520 was disappointing in a couple of ways. At its highest resolution setting, available only through the driver's unfriendly advanced settings, it was a touch slow, and the results looked in places as though they had been sharpened too much. More seriously, you can only select borderless prints in the advanced menu, and even then our prints on HP's own paper had narrow borders along two edges.

Although with this MFP, HP's scan interface contains a couple more options than usual, it's still over-simplified - particularly for the type of creative user who might be attracted to a photo product. There are no automatic crops or levels, and despite the presence of an 'Optimize for image quality' tick box, all our scans looked over-sharpened and artificial. We were also perplexed that the Scan Size box defaulted to Letter rather than A4, even though our test PC is correctly localised for the UK.

Slightly more advanced settings

This version of HP's scan interface has more options, but is still missing important ones such as a free choice of resolution

It's hard to avoid the impression that this is a high quality MFP that's let down by simplistic drivers and over-zealous scan sharpening which can't be de-selected. It's a shame, as when used from the touchscreen rather than a PC this is certainly an impressive device.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
Maximum native print resolution 9,600x2,400dpi
Max optical resolution 1,200x1,200dpi
Output bit depth 48-bit

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.0 10m 18s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.0 15m 8s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfaces USB, 802.11b/g/n wireless
Optional printer interfaces none
Size 220x454x455mm
Weight 8.6kg
Duty cycle 1,250 pages

Paper Handling

Maximum paper size A4/legal
Maximum paper weight 300gsm
Standard paper inputs 2
Standard paper input capacity 145
Maximum paper inputs 2
Maximum paper input capacity 145
Duplex (code, cost if option) Yes

General

Printer technology thermal inkjet
Supported operating systems Windows XP/Vista/7/8, Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Other inkjet features 10.9cm colour touchscreen
Other inkjet options UG189E upgrade to three-year care pack with product exchange, UG064E upgrade to three-year care pack with next-day product exchange

Buying Information

Price £130
Consumable parts and prices £12
Price per colour A4 page 4.6p
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s) 290 10x15cm photos
Warranty one year RTB
Supplier http://www.currys.co.uk
Details www.hp.co.uk

Print Quality

Number of ink colours 5
Number of ink cartridges 5
Maximum number of ink colours 5
Maximum number of cartridges 5
Quoted photo durability 80 years
Quoted photo durability source HP

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview 0s
A4 document at 150dpi Fail
A4 document at 300dpi 12s
6x4in photo at 600dpi 21s
6x4in photo at 1200dpi 1m 17s

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.0 15s
Time for single A4 colour copy 1.0 22s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.0 2m 26s

Photo Features

PictBridge support No
Borderless printing A4
Direct (PC-less) printing Yes
Supported memory cards Memory Stick Duo, SD, MMC
CD printing No

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies 99
Max mono copy resolution 600x600dpi
Max colour copy resolution 600x600dpi

Fax Features

Max mono fax resolution 196x98dpi

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£148