HP Envy Inspire 7920e review: The answer to your home office paperwork
Ignore the average speeds, and this flexible MFP has a lot to offer the home office
If you’ve seen other multi-function printers in the HP Envy Inspire series, then the HP Envy Inspire 7920e is going to seem very familiar. In fact. It’s virtually identical to the HP Envy Inspire 7224e, only with one crucial and obvious addition: a 35-page auto-document feeder on top of the A4 flatbed scanner.
To be clear, this isn’t a bad thing. The Envy Inspire 7224e wasn’t perfect, but it felt like one of the few home office printers that had actually been designed by someone who’d spent time in a home office, and who realised that an unobtrusive style, ease-of-use and maintenance were as important in this context as the usual speeds and feeds stuff. The same goes for the 7920e, only with more scope for multi-page scanning and copying tasks.
Like the 7224e, this isn’t what you’d call a compact printer. It occupies a space 46cm wide by 38cm deep on your desktop, and this model has an extra 4.2cm of height, for a total 23.3cm. Yet the two tone off-white and beige colour scheme and rounded corners at the bottom do a fine job of minimising some of that bulk, and even the ADF fits in with the styling, rather than looking clipped on. What’s more, the build quality remains remarkably solid for what’s still a relatively inexpensive home office printer. You won’t find flimsy plastics or elements that would crack or shear off under the slightest pressure here, though the main paper input tray doesn’t always pop in and out as smoothly as it could do.
The 7920e has a maximum monthly duty cycle of 1000 pages, and HP states the target use case as a small team of under 5 people printing roughly 400 pages a month. In that case, the 125-sheet main input tray should be perfectly adequate, while there’s space for envelopes, cards and photo paper in the secondary tray above. This takes 6x4 and 5x7in photo sheets, and we couldn’t get A5 photo paper to print correctly from either tray. All the same, for home office purposes, you’ll spend most of your time printing A4 documents, anyway.
The controls are minimal, with most operations covered through the 2.7in touchscreen, which helpfully tilts upwards so that you don’t need to crouch down just to see what’s going on. Here you’ll find basic settings, black-and-white and colour photocopying and shortcuts to scan to a specific device. All setup and configuration, meanwhile, happens through the HP Smart smartphone app.
This does an excellent job of setup, connecting to a network, inserting the paper and ink cartridges and running through the hassle-free alignment process. Once that’s done, you can print straight from your smartphone or tablet, the macOS or Windows companion app, or simply use the standard Windows driver, which gets installed when Windows 10 or 11 picks up the printer automatically. Needless to say, there’s pressure during setup to sign up for HP’s HP+ and Instant Ink services, with warnings to stick to the safe path of official HP supplies rather than using third-party ink cartridges, but you can skip through if you’d rather avoid any such subscription, even if it’s arguably the smarter way to run this printer.
Print speeds are, unsurprisingly, on a par with the 7224e, meaning they’re decent rather than fast. The first page of our 24-page black and white text document arrived in 18 seconds, with subsequent pages coming through at a speed of 12.3ppm. Dropping down to draft quality boosted that to 16 seconds and 12.5ppm. The first page of a coloured document with a mix of text and business graphics took 25 seconds to hit the output tray, with the remaining pages appearing at a rate of 3.5ppm.
The 7920e also supports duplex printing, at speeds of roughly 7ppm, and has the same Quiet mode as the 7224e. This adjusts the print engine to lower the noise output, and while the reduction isn’t huge, it’s focused on the noises and pitches that are most likely to disturb other people. That might be crucial in a home environment where other people are trying to sleep or work – and could even be very useful in the average office.
Text quality is excellent on the better and best quality settings and passable even on draft. The 7920e also does a fine job with business graphics; they look crisp and well-defined, with smooth graduated fills and accurate colours.
The 7920e also does a better job of photo printing than you might expect from an office device. Despite having a fairly ordinary four-colour, 1200dpi print engine, photos have natural-looking colours, good levels of detail and no noticeable banding or colour smearing issues, particularly on photo paper. You can’t get borderless printing, weirdly, when you have photo paper selected in the secondary input tray, but all in all you get a good result from something that’s clearly not a specialist printer – certainly good enough for business or casual personal use. Just be prepared to wait. Even a 6x4in photo took 96 seconds to emerge, while a full-colour, A4 photo test sheet took 3 minutes and 25 seconds to print.
To be honest, though, the 7920e’s real strength isn’t its performance or its print quality, but the flexible document handling you get from its scanning and copying features. You’re looking at 15 seconds for a single black-and-white copy and 24 seconds for colour, but load up the ADF and it’ll copy at 6.3ppm (black and white) or 3.3ppm (colour), or scan a 9-page black and white text document at 6.4ppm. You can also set it to copy documents through the ADF and print them double-sided, reducing a 24-page report, for instance, down to just 12 sheets of paper. Combine that with customisable shortcuts, which you can set up through the app, and you’ve got a really flexible device, which you can set to, say, scan a multi-page report and email it to your team at the tap of a button on the touchscreen.
As with the 7224e, print costs are a potential Achilles’ heel. A set of 303XL black and colour cartridges, good for approximately 600 black and white pages and 415 colour pages, will cost you approximately £52 exc VAT, putting the price per print at 8.6p per black and white page and 12.5p per colour page. That’s expensive, particularly by the standards of new bottle-fed office inkjets like the Epson EcoTank ET-3850.
However, HP doesn’t want you to run the printer this way; it wants you to sign up for an HP+ subscription with Instant Ink. Do so, and you could opt for the 300 page per month, £9.99 inc VAT subscription and see the cost per page drop to 3.33p per page in black-and-white or colour. Devices like the Canon Maxify GX70505 or Canon Pixma G7050 will still work out significantly cheaper to run over the long-term, especially if you’re printing at high volumes, but the 7920e costs around £140 to £150 exc VAT, so is less expensive just to buy.
The Envy Inspire 7920e doesn’t have the speeds or low running costs to make it a great office workhorse for high-volume printing, but it makes a lot of sense as a home office printer, particularly if you’re handling a lot of paperwork and need a machine that can scan and share it as well as dish it out. Even on that basis, it works best with an HP+ and Instant Ink subscription and a predictable monthly duty cycle. It’s well-built, well-designed and capable of delivering reliable, professional results, but it’s still worth checking out the bottle-fed competition to make sure that they wouldn’t cost you less over the long term.
HP Envy Inspire 7224e specifications
1,200 x 1,200dpi A4 inkjet MFP, 1,200 x 1,200dpi flatbed A4 scanner
Up to 15/10ppm mono/colour
6.75cm LED TFT touchscreen
125-sheet input tray, 15-sheet photo tray, 35-sheet ADF
Recommended monthly duty cycle
460 x 511 x 233mm
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