To be honest, I really don’t have to print that often. In our increasingly virtual world, I can read, edit, email and even sign most documents digitally. The thought of storing and maintaining a bulky printer that is constantly blocking and eating ink is therefore not very appealing.
Now that I work from home all of my time, being able to print without going to the office or the library is a huge benefit. After researching dozens of home printers, I finally found an option that is not only easy to set up and maintain, but also has a sleek, compact design that doesn’t get in the way.
HP Tango X Wireless Inkjet Printer
- Compact, slim design
- User-friendly smart app
- No scanner or double-sided printing
- No USB connection
While other printers seem to have stalled as blocky eyesores, the HP Tango has a minimalist, Apple-like design in the form of a compact 15 x 8 x 4 inch box. The lid folds up when you need it and folds back down when you don’t need it. For an additional $ 50 you can opt for the HP Tango X with a linen cover that unfolds as a classy compartment for your printed paper, but otherwise simply wraps around the printer. While not required, it helps the printer fit into the bookshelf I placed it on (and prevents dust from building up too). Not to be flat, but its looks are certainly important when trying to maintain a clean, crowded work area in your home.
You may also find that the Tango lacks a small LED display so you don’t have to poke around on a tiny screen to navigate the controls menu. The only manual buttons are the two on the back that control power and WiFi. This is because this printer is almost entirely controlled by the easy-to-use HP Smart app, which guides you through the easy set-up process. To connect the printer to my wifi first, I had to move it closer to my router (although this is probably more of an issue with my semi-unreliable network, not the printer), but I was able to use the printer later from a second floor with no connectivity issues . The app guides you through inserting the paper and ink cartridges in just a few minutes. Unfortunately, there isn’t a USB port on the device for manual connection when your internet isn’t available, but the Wi-Fi connectivity works fine for most people.
The HP Smart app guides you through setting up the printer. Just press the lid to open it, click the ink cartridges, and let the Tango do the rest of the work.
The Tango X cover does not attach securely to the printer; it is wrapped around the outside so that it fits into your desk or bookcase when not in use.
Let me assure you that the HP Tango does its job well for smaller print jobs at home. The colors on paper and photos were clear and vibrant. In my test print of a 12-page document, it printed at 8.5 pages per minute in black and 4.5 pages per minute in color – slightly slower than HP claims of 11 pages per minute in black and 8 pages per minute in Colour. However, the printer, which only produces around 60 decibels in action, isn’t that uncomfortable to hear. Plus, you can even activate a quiet mode in the app that smooths the ink cartridges when they race back and forth on the trail to make the printing a little quieter.
The printer can only hold up to 50 pages at a time, and I’ve found that the Tango sometimes spits out extra blank pages when I’ve loaded too much paper. That capacity isn’t a deal breaker though, as you’ll have to remove the paper if you want to fold the printer back up after printing anyway. The app also conveniently notifies you when the number of sheets in the tray is low.
While HP lists the Tango as an all-in-one printer, note that this device does not include a scanner bed. Rather, you can scan documents with the smart app by taking photos on your phone. I actually preferred this process to trying to properly orient the paper in a scanner bed because the app makes it quick and easy, and automatically crops the pages well. Even when I took the photos in not-so-good lighting, my scanned copies came out with colors that were a little more dull than the original. You can also scan documents from the app and send them directly to your email. This came in handy when you needed to print, sign and email signed papers. Unless you have to regularly copy large, multi-page files, this feature will still work for your needs.
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The colors on the scanned document (right) were a little dimmer and darker compared to the original (left).
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The photo scanned via the app (right) did not show very accurate colors compared to the original (left). So you’d better stick to scanning documents.
The intelligent functions of this printer also extend to voice control via Alexa or Google Assistant. I could easily plug the printer into a Google Home speaker so I could ask the speaker to print things like checklists, calendars, and notebook pages. It’s a nice touch, but maybe not the most useful if you don’t print these forms regularly. The HP Smart app also provides access to a myriad of other useful “printouts” such as coloring pages, cards, calendars, and other pre-made posters and worksheets.
Now let’s talk about the cost of ink. The HP Instant Ink service will automatically send you ink when the printer detects that it is running. You can sign up for a plan based on the amount of ink needed to print a certain number of pages, starting at $ 2.99 for 50 pages per month, $ 4.99 for 100 pages per month, or 9 $ 99 for 300 pages per month (photos are free). HP also has a free 15-pages-per-month plan. However, if you go over that, you’ll pay $ 1 for every 10 pages. Although HP will still charge you the minimum of your monthly plan even if you don’t use all of the ink, $ 2.99 a month for up to 50 pages is still a good deal to get the ink right to your house I’ll never run into the store trying to find the right cartridges when you have an urgent document to print.
The cost of the HP Tango at $ 150 or $ 200 with the cover is certainly a bit expensive compared to printers that cost less or the same, but more features like scanning, faxing, double-sided printing, etc. have a cost, when the printer has all the features you need and you want something small with a subtle design for your home. HP recently released new home all-in-home printers that attempt to mimic the sleek style of the Tango, so one of these other printers may work for you too:
With the lack of a scanner bed and two-sided printing, the Tango will not replace the large and efficient LaserJet printer you are used to in your office. If you have to print large documents every day, it pays to choose a faster, more powerful, larger capacity all-in-one printer. But if you’re like me and just pull out the printer to occasionally sign documents, send birthday cards, or print photos, there’s little you can do wrong with HP’s Tango.
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