HP launches the world’s smallest all-in-one printer (possibly). Read our HP DeskJet 3720 Review
Requirements: Smartphone, tablet Mac or PC Windows Vista or later, Mac OS X v10.8 or later
HP has been making DeskJet printers for the best part of 30 years, but it seems it’s not done yet. Before I get to its latest entry, though, let’s talk about why this device exists and why, at less than £60, it’s so cheap. The critical word here is ‘consumables’. Rationally, all of HP’s printers are really a means to a profitable end from a commercial perspective.
Realizing that users feeling gouged for consumables is a major barrier to selling more printers and consumables, HP devised ‘HP Instant Ink’.
With it active, the printer automatically orders new supplies when they run low.
This service started on its higher-end professional series printers, and now it’s available on its entry-level devices, like the new HP DeskJet 3720 Review.
This is the perfect printer for a student or child who has limited space, because despite having a remarkably small footprint, it does almost everything. By that I mean that it prints, obviously, but it also scans, copies and is internet connected via wi-fi.
What strikes you first, other than the tiny scale, is the day glow cyan-and-white coloring (or ‘Electric Blue’, as HP refers to the highlight color).
Once you’ve installed the two cartridges (black and tricolor) and connected it using either USB or the built-in 2.4GHz wi-fi, you’re free to print from your mobile devices or PC. or scan back to them. Printing resolution is a crisp 4800 x 1200dpi, and it can scan up to 1200dpi (600dpi optical) in 24-bit full color.
Print stock is loaded on a deplorable ramp on the rear, which takes a maximum of 60 pages, and there’s a corresponding catch tray at the front for when they emerge. How long it takes for them to get there entirely depends on the quality and coverage you expect. ISO speeds are 7.5ppm for black and 5.5ppm for color.
A full A4 test print at best quality took six minutes and 50 seconds, with admittedly excellent results. While not exceptionally quick, this isn’t made for high volume.
If I have a problem with this design, it’s the implementation of the scanner, cleverly hidden under the white bar.
Material to be scanned is offered at the front, at which point pinch rollers grab it automatically. With no physical support for the document or any adjustable guides, the chance of getting the paper perfectly square is practically nil. Out of ten attempts I got one that was square and plenty of odd angles. If you intend to do lots of scanning I’d invest in something bigger, ideally with an auto-feeder.
My other complaint is that HP does like to bug its customers excessively. After the driver was installed on my PC, every time I went to print, a web page popped up commending me for installing a ‘New Genuine HP Cartridge’ and wanting to whisk me away to buy some more!
Eventually that disappeared, and HP found other excuses to fire up Internet Explorer – a browser that I don’t use, that isn’t secure and isn’t my default.
It’s also pushing hard its new HP Social Media Snapshot app and includes a pack of the Snapshot stickers for you to use. These are 5″ x 4′ self-adhesive sheets designed to let you print from Instagram, Facebook and Flickr and relive the Polaroid era, yet again.
Those irritations aside, the value of this printer comes down to ink and how much it costs to run. Replacement official HP 304 carts cost, and I used the standard color one up entirely in six full coverage pages. It does make XL versions, with a 300-page yield on both with 5% coverage, or roughly three times that of the standard cartridges.
HP is promoting the HP DeskJet 3720 Review as the world’s smallest all-in-one printer, and it is jolly small. However, as a number of people have pointed out it isn’t, and to be fully accurate, it isn’t even the smallest all-in-one that even HP makes.
As a design, the efforts HP made to make it this small have compromised some aspects, especially the scanning. Yet for a small volume printer that you don’t even need to wire up to your device to work, it’s ingenious in many respects.
mm Mark Pickavance
HP DeskJet 3720 Review: Verdict
A tiny all-in-one that begs for a monthly ink subscription
Product Features of HP DeskJet 3720 Review
• Instant Ink – three-month free trial.
• Wi-fi and Apple AirPrint.
• Color print / copy / scan.
• Single-sided printing.
• The world’s smallest all-in-one printer (not really).