HP OfficeJet Pro 7720 Printer Review: Great Quality, Mediocre Value

The bargain-priced HP OfficeJet Pro 7720 offers some pretty fancy features for little more than a song. It can handle wide-format paper up to 11 by 17 inches, yet it costs only $200. To boot, it can copy and scan up to legal-size documents, and it has a document feeder for multipage copying and scanning. And its duplexer enables double-sided printing.

Design

The HP OfficeJet 7720 feels sturdy. Both the input and the output trays feel solidly built, as does the document feeder on top of the scanner lid.

This OfficeJet has a wide body, in part because the scanner glass is legal-size. This is also in part because the paper path is made to handle 11-by-17-inch paper. At 23 inches, this printer is almost half a foot wider than the Canon Maxify MB5420, which we tested at the same time. There is just one 250-sheet paper tray, which could be limiting if you plan to routinely mix up your print sizes or media. The document folder holds up to 35 sheets for scanning and copying (this model does not offer duplex scanning).

On the front panel sits a touch screen that allows you to swipe. This procedure is much easier than having to tap virtual buttons for page-up and page-down. The section of the front panel with the touch screen hinges upward. There are no physical buttons, so all stand-alone operation will have to be conducted with the touch screen, which can get a little cumbersome.

For example, having dedicated buttons for black-and-white and color copying/scanning would make stand-alone operation (not to mention entering fax numbers) more convenient. After I changed from color to black-and-white copying, for example, the copy icon at the lower right corner of the screen stayed green, which led me to question whether I'd actually changed the setting since it did not indicate the changed setting. Of course, when operating this OfficeJet from a computer, this limitation is of no worry.

The document feeder on top hinges upward to reveal the legal-size scanner glass. The hinges offer no resistance to the weight of the lid, so you will have to lift the lid up 90 degrees or hold it up if you don't have enough clearance.

This OfficeJet offers the typical assortment of connectivity: wireless, Ethernet and USB. The printer does not, however, have a USB direct-print port for printing from a thumb drive, nor an SD card slot.

Print Speed

Printing speeds are at the slow end of the range for competing small office-printers, but not out of range. The OfficeJet 7720 printed our five-page text document in 24.1 seconds, or 12.4 pages per minute. The Canon Maxify MB5420 was quite a bit faster, at 17.5 ppm. Using the duplexer, the HP made two-sided text prints at a very respectable 12.4 ppm, although the Canon MB5420 was significantly faster, at 17.5 ppm.

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Print speeds on mixed text and color graphics were more up to par: The OfficeJet 7720 printed our six-page document in 56.1 seconds, or 6.4 ppm, compared to 6.1 ppm from the Canon MB5420. Making two-sided prints of the same six-page document, however, the Canon bested the HP by roughly 15 seconds, printing at 4.1 ppm compared to 3.5 ppm for the HP.

The HP printed a letter-size glossy photo in 1 minute 41 seconds. The Canon MB5420 took 24 seconds longer to print the same photo. Our test is done at the maximum dpi setting. With this setting turned off, the OfficeJet made the same print in 20 seconds less, or 1 minute 20 seconds.

Copy and Scan Speed

This OfficeJet does not spit out black-and-white copies in short order. The 7720 made a single black-and-white copy in 15.3 seconds, roughly twice the 7.6 seconds it took the Canon MB5420 to make the same reproduction. A similar difference resulted when copying multipage text documents using the document feeder: The OfficeJet made the single-sided copies at 6.2 ppm, compared to the brisk 14.6 ppm turned in by the MB5420.

Similarly, the 7720 made two-sided copies of text documents at 5.4 ppm (in 55.7 seconds), while the Canon did so at 8.8 ppm (in 34.2 seconds).

The OfficeJet 7720 made a color copy in 16.8 seconds, compared to 13.4 seconds for the MB5420.

The OfficeJet excelled at black-and-white scanning to PDF format. It completed this task in just 5.8 seconds, much faster than the significantly more expensive HP PageWide Pro 577dw, which took 8.5 seconds. The Canon MB5420 clocked in at 9.4 seconds.

Making a JPEG at 600 dpi, however, the HP was on the slow side, taking 38.4 seconds compared to the Canon's 31.7 seconds. (HP's 577dw performed this task in a brisk 21.4 seconds.)

To scan at these resolutions, you will need to use the provided software on a PC. The maximum scanning resolution available from the touch screen in stand-alone mode is 200 dpi.

When scanning to JPEG format in our tests, the HP Scan software performs a preview scan. This takes about 9 seconds, after which you confirm the file name and the save location. File names should automatically be numbered, according to the company, though in my testing I had to manually number the names. The scan time to JPEG includes the preview scan time.

Print Quality

The OfficeJet 7720 delivers dark, sharp text that is near laser-printer quality. Graphics print with well-saturated and accurate color, details are sharp, and textures are smooth. When using the duplexer, colors looked slightly less saturated, and dark-shadow areas printed a little lighter, but the difference was very subtle.

Copy quality is high, though text did not look quite as dark as in the original text documents. In a black-and-white copy of our document that had a mix of color graphics and text, however, the text came out a little darker than in the original. These are minor differences; copy quality was very high across the board.

Glossy photos printed with a lot of detail, natural-looking colors and bold dark-shadow areas.

Scan quality was similarly of high quality. However, 600-dpi photo scans showed some mild bit-mapped artifacts in fine details, compared to scans by the Canon MB5420, which smoothed these out with more-attractive results.

Ink/Toner Cost and Yield

Ink costs are a bit of a mixed bag. Using standard ink cartridges, printing costs are roughly average with the OfficeJet Pro 7720, compared to competing small office models we’ve tested. For example, text and color pages cost 2.1 cents and 11.1 cents, respectively, providing a better bargain than the Canon MB5420, which costs an estimated 3 cents and 13.5 cents per page.

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Using high-yield cartridges, the OfficeJet 7720 does not deliver as much of a cost break as some other models. The Canon MB5420's print costs with high-yield cartridges are 1.5 cents (black) and 7.1 cents (color), versus the OfficeJet 7720's costs of 1.7 cents and 7.7 cents, respectively. In the case of the HP, high-yield color costs were calculated using individual cartridges, because at press time, a three-pack of the XL color ink cartridges was not available, which could lower color printing costs.

Setup and Software

Setting up the OfficeJet 7720 should be straightforward, after removing the usual assortment of tape and packaging material. I did, however, find that connecting to the OfficeJet was a little unintuitive, though I thought I was following the printed setup guide accurately. I ran into errors that said the printer was unable to connect to the PC, while the Wi-Fi settings on the touch screen said this connection was already set up. After following prompts to reach WPS mode, however, I was able to use the wireless setup wizard on my Windows PC and put the 7720 on my network.

The OfficeJet 7720 is quite slow to start up, taking 35 seconds. The MB5420 took just 5.7 seconds.

The included HP Smart software offers an adequate assortment of functions for printing, scanning and faxing. During setup, you are directed to the company website to download the package. The initial page of the software guides you through the various functions and directs you to customizable options, as well as how to print from mobile devices. For Android devices, you can use the HP Print Service app or Mopria app. For iOS devices, the OfficeJet 7720 supports AirPrint. You can use a network connection or Wi-Fi direct.

Bottom Line

With the ability to print at up to 11-by-17 inches and scan legal-size documents, the solidly built HP OfficeJet 7720 offers big features for small offices at a bargain price. It delivers high image quality and is outfitted with a document feeder and a duplexer for two-sided prints. It's a big boy that does a few tasks quickly, such as scanning black-and-white PDFs, while performing many others at middle-of-the-road speeds, particularly compared to the more versatile Canon Maxify MB5420. This OfficeJet is particularly slow to make multipage copies, for example, which is a critical office task. The lack of physical buttons can make stand-alone operation via touch screen a little tedious. Faster speeds and lower ink costs with high-yield cartridges would sweeten the deal.

Credit: HP

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