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Looking for a compact and budget-friendly printer for your home? The HP Envy Pro 6420 might be for you.
Budget- and space friendly printer for plain and glossy printing.
HP has been making printers and scanners for years, but a lot has changed since the days of the boxy office printers of the ‘80s – now, we get lightweight and minimalist-looking wonders like the HP Envy Pro 6420.
Instead of your typical grey cuboid, the HP Envy Pro 6420’s dimensions have been pared down so that each of its key functions – printer, scanner, and copier – are housed in their own discrete and easily recognisable sections.
Looks aside, the HP Envy Pro 6420 is a wireless all-in-one colour printer aimed at families and home office workers. Like the HP DeskJet Plus 4120, it’s a cartridge-based inkjet printer running on just two cartridges.
The HP Envy Pro 6420 is also covered by HP’s Instant Ink automatic cartridge replacement subscription service. This means ink-hungry households and busy home workers should be able to find a price plan that’ll let them run the HP Envy Pro 6420 much more economically than just buying cartridges outright – although less demanding users might find it cheaper to buy cartridges on an as-and-when basis.
Our review of the HP Envy Pro 6420 below covers everything you need to know, from ease of use to print quality and running costs – also, don’t forget to read our best printers round-up feature to see how this compares.
The HP Envy Pro 6420 is an all-in-one colour printer/scanner/copier with a space-efficient and stripped-down design that’s priced at around £90.
In fact, the HP Envy Pro 6420 is so stripped back that there’s no display on the control panel – besides basic controls and status lights, all of the commands will be issued from your devices.
As the HP Envy Pro 6420 is able to run print jobs issued from phones, laptops, and desktops over Wi-Fi, and desktop devices via a wired USB connection, there’s no essential need for a control panel with a display, as all of the printing, scanning, and copying jobs will be issued from another device.
In addition to printing on plain A4, the HP Envy Pro 6420 can print on A5, B5, DL, C6, and A6 paper, too. Double-sided printing (aka auto-duplexing) is supported, and an automatic document feeder (ADF) holds up to 35 sheets of A4, so you can create copies of large, multi-page documents easily. The HP Envy Pro 6420’s scanner reads images at 1200x1200dpi and copies at 300x300dpi. It prints black ink at 1200x1200 and prints in colour at up to 4800x1200dpi, allowing for very sharp graphics on plain paper.
Here are the main specifications for the HP Envy Pro 6420 all-in-one colour printer/scanner/copier:
The HP Envy Pro 6420 is available to buy now at Amazon with an RRP of £89.99.
The HP Envy Pro 6420 is quick off the mark, printing out single pages of text in under five seconds and 20-page documents in just over a minute and a half. It’s quick to print on both sides of a sheet, too, with 20 pages’ worth of text being printed on 10 sheets in under three minutes. The Envy Pro 6420 is faster overall than the HP DeskJet Plus 4120, although it took almost the same amount of time to print a photo on plain A4 – around two minutes.
Despite the spec sheet promising that the HP Envy Pro 6420 has the ability to print on glossy photo paper, we were unable to do so during testing.
It’s quick to scan, with documents and images being read in under 20 seconds. Copying and printing out a single page takes around 35 seconds while copying and printing a colour image takes under 50 seconds.
|Pages||Text only||Text & graphics||Graphics only|
|1 page||4.58 seconds (13.10 pages per minute)||11.07 seconds (5.42 pages per minute)||35.56 seconds (1.68 pages per minute)|
|5 pages||27.21 seconds (11.02 pages per minute)||56.36 seconds (5.32 pages per minute)||1m 39.93 seconds (3.002 pages per minute)|
|20 pages||1m 36.72 seconds (12.04 pages per minute)||3m 39.47 seconds (5.46 pages per minute)||7m 14.84 seconds (2.75 pages per minute)|
|1 colour photo printed on plain A4:||2m 10.89 seconds|
|1 colour photo printed on glossy A4:||n/a|
|1 colour photo printed on glossy 10 x 50mm:||n/a|
|Scanning 1 page of text:||17.70 seconds|
|Scanning 1 colour photo:||18.08 seconds|
|Copying 1 page of text:||35.10 seconds|
|Copying 1 colour photo:||49.73 seconds|
|2 pages of text on 1 sheet of plain A4:||18.07 seconds (6.64 pages per minute)|
|20 pages of text on 10 sheets of plain A4:||2m 51 seconds (7.01 pages per minute)|
Text, graphics and photos printed on plain paper all look good, even on the default settings, though naturally, if you push the quality all the way to the max, things look even better. Serifs are crisp and defined, the colours of graphs are rich and bold, and skin tones look warm and natural on photos. Colours are neither overblown nor washed out; everything just looks as it should.
In testing, the HP Envy Pro 6420 was not able to print on glossy paper. In theory, it should do in theory, but in practice, the printer would always pull up a sheet of glossy paper from the tray, only for it to become stuck halfway, the roller wheels unable to pull the sheet all the way through, resulting in a paper jam.
The HP Envy Pro 6420 uses the HP 305 and HP 305 XL cartridges, meaning running costs range from as little as 8p per page to 10p – in other words, about the standard for printers in this category. The right HP Instant Ink subscription could, however, work out being much better value for money.
As with the HP DeskJetPlus 4120, the HP Envy Pro 6420 uses two cartridges, one for black ink and the other for colour (cyan, magenta, yellow).
Both the standard-sized HP 305 cartridges and the higher-volume HP 305XL cartridges can be installed in the HP Envy Pro 6420. The bigger XL cartridges are, as you’d expect, better value for money overall, but only just:
|HP 305 Black||HP 305 Tri-Color||HP 305XL Black||HP 305XL Tri-Color|
|Cost per page||9p||10p||8p||9p|
Costs per page of around the 10p mark is about the norm – here’s where HP’s Instant Ink service comes in. With an active Instant Ink account, the HP Envy Pro 6420 will automatically tell HP to pop some fresh cartridges in the post when it detects that you’re running low on ink. HP Instant Ink subscriptions are based on usage and have a sliding price scale. You pay by the month, as with Netflix, and there’s no long term obligation, so you can cancel, sign up again, or move down to a cheaper Instant Ink deal as and when it suits. Prices are as follows:
|Pages||Cost per page|
The value of these prices depends greatly on how often you and people in your household will be printing documents and pictures. Still, when comparing purely on price, it’s worth noting that the most expensive subscription is roughly equivalent to buying a set of standard-sized HP 305 cartridges. You get roughly seven times as much use for the same money.
The HP Envy Pro 6420 takes little time at all to set up and is generally easy to use, although the compact design and low profile of the paper in-tray mean that sometimes the rollers can grab two or three sheets at a time, which can lead to paper jams.
Setting up the HP Envy Pro 6420 requires the use of one of the HP Smart apps for Windows, Mac OS, iOS or Android, a few sheets of paper, so the printer can run alignment tests and connect to your home network.
While in theory, any platform will work for the set-up process, if you can, you’re best off using either a Windows or Mac device and a USB cable – all other processes require that you use Bluetooth, which can be prone to interference and dropped connections. This way will work, but in the interests of time, stick to the wired method if you can.
Once you’re all set, and you’ve connected the HP Envy Pro 6420 to your Wi-Fi network, and you’ve run the alignment tests, you’re then free to start sending print requests from anywhere in the home over Wi-Fi.
Windows users will likely need to download and install drivers from HP’s site first, but Mac OS users won’t need to do this, as the HP Envy Pro 6420 is Apple AirPrint compatible.
The apps are all easy to use and primarily designed to allow for quick prints. Images can be tweaked with filters before being printed, and there’s a quick link to the HP Printables activity centre baked into the app as well.
Both mobile apps let you print files and photos downloaded and stored on your device, as well as print from cloud storage services including Dropbox, Facebook, Google Drive, and Apple iCloud (iOS only), whereas the desktop apps only print PDFs – you can simply run print commands from
The main purpose of the HP Smart desktop apps is to complete set-up, re-run any realignment tests, and perform troubleshooting tasks, as you can’t currently do this from either of the mobile apps.
The HP Envy Pro 6420 looks a treat, saves on space, prints text quickly and sharply, and can print on two sides of A4. Image print quality and speed are also good, but as we weren’t able to print on glossies, it’s impossible to comment on its ability to photo paper. Occasional paper jams, and more than one sheet being picked up from the paper tray, are also things you’ll need to be mindful of if you snap this up.
As with the HP DeskJet Plus 4120, the HP Envy Pro 6420 is relatively cheap to run but to enjoy the biggest savings, you'll need to sign up for an Instant Ink plan.