HP DeskJet Plus 4120 full review
The HP DeskJet Plus 4120 is a colour printer, scanner and copier with Wi-Fi that's aimed at buyers on a budget.
Priced at around £100 when it first launched, it's now available a much more attractive £60 in the UK, $100 in Australia, and $99.99 in the United States, where it’s known as the HP DeskJet Plus 4155, which boasts the same features, as well as Amazon Alexa compatibility.
You can sign up to HP’s Instant Ink subscription plans, which automatically post out fresh cartridges to you when you’re close to running out. This is a much cheaper way to get ink than buying cartridges yourself, so depending on how much you print habits, it can be quite cheap to run.
You can hook it up to a desktop or laptop with a USB cable, but as with all modern printers you can print to the HP DeskJet Plus 4120 from just about any device over Wi-Fi: Android, Windows, iPhone, iPad and Macs are all compatible with it.
Similar to the HP Envy Pro 6420, the DeskJet Plus 4120 prints in colour at up to 4800x1200dpi, and up to 1200x1200 in black ink. Printing at higher resolutions takes longer and uses more ink, but results in a higher-quality, sharper image.
The A4 scanner captures documents at up to 1200x1200dpi, and copies of documents are scanned at 300x300dpi. This model can print on both sides of the paper if you want it to.
Design & Build
The HP DeskJet Plus 4120 measures roughly 200 x 428 x 332 mm. It’s not a regular cuboid, as the front side is angled forwards, making the DeskJet Plus 4120 look like a Sandcrawler, which will be a plus for Star Wars fans.
An automatic document feeder (ADF) sits up on the top, above the scanner bed. Unlike a lot of all-in-one printers, where the cartridge cradle (shown below) is accessed by popping the hood, everything is hidden behind a panel which sits behind the main paper out-tray. Whenever it’s time to replace the cartridges, you’ll pull this down, and the cradle will whirr into position. Cartridges clip in and out with little effort.
Paper is fed in at the hopper which sits at the back – this can hold up to 60 sheets of A4, while the ADF can hold up to 35 sheets of A4. The out-tray folds down with a little extra arm which swings out to the right. There are guidelines and marks everywhere and in the main hopper a blue plastic slide helps you line everything up properly.
A small LCD display on the right-hand side lets you check ink levels at a glance, but not much more than that. For day-to-day operations – as well as actually setting the HP DeskJet Plus 4120 – you’ll be using the HP Smart desktop and mobile apps.
Setup, apps & wireless printing
Setting up the HP DeskJet Plus 4120 is best done on a Windows or Mac desktop or laptop connected to the printer via a USB cable, using the HP Smart app. Download the app on your device, connect everything up, turn the printer on, and wait for the software to detect the printer.
This can take some time, so allow yourself around 15-20 minutes in total to get everything done. Once setup is complete, and you’ve connected the printer to your Wi-Fi network, sending print jobs to the printer via Wi-Fi is a piece of cake.
Windows users may need to download and install the relevant drivers in order to send print instructions to the HP DeskJetPlus 4120, whereas macOS users won’t have to, as it’s an Apple AirPrint compatible printer, so can just add the printer to your list of devices as they normally would. Once HP Smart for iOS and Android is installed, you’ll be set up to print from your phones too, though again AirPrint means the 4120 should show up on an iPhone or iPad without installing anything.
The mobile apps are a lot of fun, as you can print anything stored on your device – from photos of your pets and holiday panoramas, to selfies and memes – and images can be cropped, tweaked, and enhanced with filters before you press the big ‘Print’ icon.
Sending print jobs over Wi-Fi is largely hassle-free, and if you want to place the DeskJetPlus 4120 in a corner where Wi-Fi signal isn't the best, perhaps it’s time to invest in a new Wi-Fi router, or a mesh Wi-Fi system.
Both mobile apps let you print files stored in cloud services too, although the iOS app currently supports a wider range of names – Google Drive, Google Photos, Evernote, Dropbox, Facebook, Box, plus iCloud vs. Google Drive, Google Photos, Dropbox and Facebook support on the Android app.
While these apps will let you check up on how much ink is left in the tank, they’re limited in terms of printer diagnostics – you can't clean the printer nozzle or realign the printhead if it starts producing misaligned images. For all of that sort of thing, you’ll need to use the desktop apps.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the HP DeskJet Plus 4120 supports Mopria, a cross-platform standard which means that Android users can quickly and easily send documents and images to the printer (without installing HP's app) with a simple tap of the ‘Share’ icon in most apps, like your phone’s native gallery, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Google Docs, and others.
The DeskJet Plus 4120 is pretty nippy. The official spec sheet promises to print 8.5 pages per minute when printing plain text, and in my tests, it actually did a little better.
It’s a little slower at printing anything in colour, though. A 20-page document with text and colour graphics took 3 minutes and 58 seconds, which is roughly 5 pages per minute.
Photos printed on plain A4 take on average 53 seconds, while printing on 10 x 15 cm glossy photo paper took longer, around 1 minute 10 seconds.
Quality of text was passable, but not exactly fantastic on Normal quality. Serifs occasionally looked indistinct, and there was occasional bleed on letters like ‘k’, ‘x’, and ‘w’. Quality is only really acceptable on Best, which of course, uses more ink and means you'll have to wait a bit longer for pages to emerge.
Luckily, graphics and photos are both very good, with big blocks of colour on bar graphs, logos, and diagrams looking sharp and bold. Skin tones on photos look life-like, even on plain paper, and photos printed on glossies look pretty fantastic.
The only issue I had with glossy prints was that getting images to align in the centre of 10 x 15 cm paper didn’t always work when ‘fit to page’ was selected on the mobile apps. You can manually offset this, but a bit of trial and error is required.
The HP DeskJetPlus 4120 costs about as much to run as a lot of printers in this price range, which is to say it’s quite expensive. The average cost per page is around 9-10p. However, if you want to save some money, an HP Instant Ink subscription can make things a lot cheaper.
Two cartridges are required, for black and colour (cyan, magenta, yellow) inks respectively.
While the two-cartridge approach means that replacing empties isn’t as expensive as it might be if the printer used more, it is a little wasteful, in the sense that you're likely to use up all the yellow ink while there’s a bit of cyan and magenta left in the tank. Unless you're happy to continue printing with the missing yellow, then you'll be throwing away that unused ink.
Regardless, the HP DeskJetPlus 4120 takes both the standard-sized HP 305 black and tri-colour cartridges and the bigger HP 305XL cartridges.
The HP 305 cartridges cost £10.99 a piece and will, on average, give you enough ink for 120 (black) and 100 (colour) sheets, which is roughly equivalent to a cost per page of 9p and 10p, each.
The larger HP 305XL cartridges are priced at £19.99 and £17.99. While that’s a bit more, HP promises enough ink for approximately 240 (black) and 200 (colour) printouts. All of this adds up to a lower cost per page of 8p and 9p.
Signing up for an HP Instant Ink subscription is easy enough – you just need your email address and bank details to hand.
You’re also nudged in the direction of signing up during the setup process, and whenever you check the ink levels via the HP Smart app, too, so it’s not as if finding a link to the HP Instant Ink pages is exactly hard.
The Instant Ink service is quite clever, as your printer will automatically detect when ink levels are getting low, and have a fresh set of cartridges posted out to you (in theory) before you run out completely. If you want to save some money, these rolling contracts are worth exploring. Standard prices are as follows:
15 pages: 99p/month
50 pages: £1.99/month
100 pages: £3.49/month
300 pages: £9.99/month
700 pages: £22.49/month
Given that the cheapest cartridges available for the HP DeskJet Plus 4120, which give you around 100 pages’ worth of ink, cost £10.99 each, £3.49 a month compares very favourably. Or, if you look at it another way, £10 will either get you one new cartridge, or enough ink for 300 pages.
Price & availability
The HP DeskJet Plus 4120 – aka the HP DeskJet Plus 4155 in the States – is available to buy right now.
The HP Deskjet Plus 4122 – the same model albeit with a green plastic trim – is also available from Argos for £59.99.
The HP DeskJet Plus 4120 is a great value all-in-one, but it’s expensive to run without an Instant Ink sub. Some flaws, like middling text quality and misaligned photos stop it from being sale of the century, but if you can live with these, it’s a good buy.
HP DeskJet Plus 4120: Specs
- Colour Inkjet all-in-one printer, copier, scanner
- Ink type: Cartridges
- Print resolution: 4800 x 1200 dpi
- Scan resolution: 1200 x 2400 dpi
- Maximum paper size: A4
- Auto Document Feeder
- Dimensions: 200 x 428 x 332 mm (H x W x D)
- Weight 4.82kg
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