The HP Tango X is a new breed of cloud-based printers – apart from a cleverly disguised power and Wi-Fi setup button on the back all you see is quite an elegant oversized, almost Applesque dark grey/pearl slab and natty grey tweed cover.
And HP Tango X has Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Cortana voice assistance too – sorry Siri users miss out although there is an iOS app and supposedly macOS support.
To be honest, I was not sure what paradigms to use to review this printer. I judge things like print speed, ink costs, paper handling and much more techy stuff. This printer hardly fits any of those parameters. In fact, the more I use it I find it’s incredibly dumb in a sweet kind of way – all its intelligence is in the cloud. So, I need to develop new paradigms to cover the future of personal printing.
Things like will it match my décor. Grey tweed is nice, but there is a blue twill and rumours of a cork cover as well.
The print cartridges look very small. Normally I would be damming small tri-colour and black cartridges to hell as too expensive. It uses the HP 804 cartridges that are for the Envy Photo printer – that means good quality. BTW – you can only use genuine, not refilled cartridges as they are part of the dumb printer’s circuitry.
Review: HP Tango X Model 3DP64A
- Plug in the printer to 240V (uses a standard 2-pin plug)
- Load the two ink cartridges and place some paper in the feed slot (up to 50 sheets)
- Download the HP Smart app for Android or iOS
- It finds the printer and pairs it to your router
- You can send an email invite to get the app for Windows
- That is it!
The printer is 389.6 x 246 x 91mm (lid closed) and 260.7 mm (lid open). The cover acts as a receiving tray making it overall 615.8mm deep — all up its 3.4kg.
The setup guide is quite cryptic and in three languages. If you want to access the full 102-page manual, you can here.
What does it do?
It is solely to put ink on paper at 8/11 colour/mono pages per minute. It takes from DL envelopes to A4 paper and from bond to 300gsm stock and photo papers (5×7 borderless prints)
HP rates it at up to 500 pages duty cycle a month. So, if you are doing casual printing that is great. If you are doing a thesis, then go to Officeworks to print it out.
It does not scan, copy, fax or do anything else.
HP intimate that it can scan etc., but that is all via the smartphone camera.
The app is where it all happens well sort of – its smart, but it is a dumb printer
The app gave me all sorts of trouble after a trouble-free installation. Why? Norton Security did not allow me to access the insecure web server. Not just Norton but every Android browser I tried.
So, I went via Windows and a browser to access its embedded web server page accessed via a browser, e.g. 192.168.x.x.
But that HTTP page is not secured by default and Norton et al. has a fit when you try to visit it – at least you can override that. The first thing is to change is to add an Admin password, or risk becoming part of an IoT botnet. If you forget the password, you can hard reset the printer and install it again. Then you can change the web server to HTTPS.
It told me there was a firmware update, but it was unable to download (I tried via Windows and the Android app) and told me I could not use Web Services and HP Instant Ink on the printer until the update. Hmmm.
What I could see was Wi-Fi Direct (you can enable it to transmit its one mini Wi-Fi network), Bluetooth (presumably print over BT), AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) or IPP over HTTPS
The black HP 804 is good for 200 pages and at $26.18 from Officeworks that is 13 cents per page. The tri-colour costs $34.58 and is good for 165 pages or about 21 cents a page.
Of course, there are XL Black/colour versions costing $63.98/600pages and $71.28/415 page. Look, if you are a scrooge shop around for deals or this is not for you. Most millennials only print a few hundreds pages a year – if that.
BTW – it comes with starter cartridges for 125/110 black/colour prints so don’t swear at it when you run out before you expect to.
Print quality and speed
Blacks were, as expected inky black. Colours on 80gsm bond were, as expected, matter and muted but perfectly good.
There was a little photo banding on bond paper, but the best print mode was the fix. Of course, that slows print down and uses more ink.
A4 mixed mono/colour was closer to 10 pages a minute.
We printed one 5×7 photo print, and it was as good as you get from an instant print kiosk. Print speed approx. 1 per minute.
Remember however that it is only an CMY plus black printer so it lacks the depth of a professional grade colour printer that may use six or more colours.
Voice control – did not work
In theory, you can use your voice to print documents like shopping and to-do lists, calendars, colouring book pages, puzzles, and more.
We tried to set up Google Assistant, but Google Home appears not to support HP Smart yet.
GadgetGuy’s take; HP Tango X is a new breed
As regular readers understand I like to get into the nuts and bolts. On that basis, print costs, paper handling etc., it is not for me.
But for a casual user who values ascetics over tech then it’s great. It’s a new printer class, albeit the app has security issues. HP should fix these soon.
In the US it has HP Smart Ink where you can get ink plans on a subscription (automatic supply reorder) – including delivery to your door. It is supposed to be cheaper, but I have no relevant Australian details.
To summarise Good Housekeeping UK said it is a printer that does not spoil the look of your home. The unique design makes it great for anyone that needs a printer but hates having it on display. 3.6-out-of-5.
Tom’s Hardware (techy like me) called it a convenient wireless printer that was compact, stylish and reasonably fast but print costs kill it. 2.5-out-of-5.
I sit in between – if you like the style and don’t care about the print cost my only gripe would be the immature app and security. Fix that, and I will update the rating.
Price: $349 from HP online and major retailers. It is available without the cover for about $100 less.