With its boxy shape, low profile (slightly over 10 cm in height), and nary a protrusion when not in use, the Envy 100 resembles a high-end A/V equipment. Besides the rounded edges, a variety of material was used to give this printer a modern look and feel. For example, the scanner lid at the top has a mirror surface with a patterned texture, and both this lid and the paper tray sport an aluminum trimming.
If you’re a heavy user, you’d be disappointed to know that the printer has only one input tray which holds just 80 sheets of paper. During a print job, the control panel would tilt upward, and a small flap (output tray extender) would extend out from within automatically. The output tray holds 25 sheets of paper.
In order to maintain its sleek style, when you remove the printouts after a print or copy job, both the extender and the control panel would retract back to their original positions automatically. Since most people generally have the habit of removing printouts after each job before proceeding with another, this automatic extend-retract feature can be somewhat irritating. The only way to stop this is to let the printouts remain on the tray. Also, if you’re not happy with the angle of the control panel, you’re limited to how much you can adjust it: you can’t tilt it down too much as this would hit the extender and obstruct the path the papers come out. We’ve tried delving into the menus, but we couldn’t find any setting to disable this feature. We're also concerned about the durability of these constantly moving parts.
HP has gone with a full touch-based control panel for the Envy 100. Surrounding the touchscreen LCD are a few more self-explanatory controls: Home, Back, Help, and Cancel. Even the power button located at the lower left of the panel is touch-sensitive.
On the Home screen, you could see that the row of apps takes up considerable screen estate. You can scroll left or right to reveal more apps that you’ve installed. Pressing the Photo, Copy, or Scan icon at the bottom calls up the respective menu. The row of smaller icons above the apps deals mainly with things like printer and wireless setup, ink status, and apps management.
Overall, we’ve no major gripes with the UI: for the most part, menus are sensibly organized. We are slightly frustrated with the sensitivity of the touchscreen though. On the first few occasions, when we tried to scroll down a menu, the gesture was registered as a selection, thus bringing us to a wrong screen. Subsequently, we found out that the best way to scroll is to press the finger down on the screen firmly and drag it slowly (flicking is a huge no-no). Patience is the key here. The same can be said when you want to press a certain key several times. For example, since the copy menu didn’t provide a virtual keypad, we had to press the arrow keys to increment/decrement the number of copies to make. And we had to ensure that we didn’t jab it too fast. One way we paced our presses was to wait for the beep sound that followed each successful press. So while the UI is fine, the usability was hampered somewhat because it was slow to react.
The HP Envy 100 uses a total of four dye-based inks (cyan, magenta, yellow and black), but they're housed in two cartridges: the black ink in one, and the cyan, magenta and yellow inks in another. The problem of a multi-color ink cartridge is that even if only one of the colors runs out, you'd have no choice but to replace the whole cartridge (unless you don't mind getting strange colors). For a printer that aims to be environmental friendly, we're somewhat disappointed by this design decision. Separate color inks would have helped this issue, but we wonder if HP had design and space constraints for the Envy 100.
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