HP’s Tango X is an all-in-one printer designed to satisfy the needs of home users who print documents and photos. It isn’t designed for the high-volume printing of a shared office printer, but it can certainly work as a personal printer in a busy home or small office setting.
We chose the Tango X for this smart printer review because of its innovative support for new ways to connect. It supports WIFI and Ethernet connections to a local area network, and it includes cloud-printing features using the HP Smart app. This makes it possible to print documents and photos directly from your smartphone or tablet while you’re away from home.
HP Tango X
Early Bottom Line
The HP Tango X is a fun mobile printer with some interesting smart features. For home users who print a lot of photos, it will satisfy most of your needs. Just be sure to get HP Instant Ink to offset the ink costs!
What is a Smart Printer
Smart printers are a totally new market in the printer space. Because of this, what a smart printer is hasn’t been clearly defined. HP has apparently decided a smart printer is a printer which works with smart phones and virtual assistants.
The HP Tango X is the first inkjet printer from HP that connects to your smart home devices. We’ll find out in this HP Tango X review if it’s worth the hype.
Who is this HP Tango X Review for?
This HP Tango X Review is primarily for younger home users who enjoy smart home tech. To be frank, this printer is at least partially a gimmick. If you like to have all of your smart devices connected, keep reading. If you could care less, there’s better photo printers out there for you.
What You Need to Look for When Buying a Smart Printer
As I said above, smart printers are a new category. So, I don’t have a lot for you to look for. First and foremost, you should make sure this printer will work with your existing smart home devices. HP advertises that the HP Tango X works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana.
Besides that, you should check that this printer meets your minimum technical expectations. This printer is designed to work with mobile devices, and is primarily a photo printer. It prints great photos, but is slow and ink costs are high.
With that in mind, here’s the technical specifications.
Compatible with Microsoft Cortana, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa
A major selling point for us was how far HP went to make the Tango X a modern printer that can integrate with a high-tech smart home. They designed this printer to accept print jobs from virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana. That means you can send documents to the printer with a voice command. How cool is that?
If you already use AI assistants like these on your mobile devices, this makes it much more convenient to print images and documents while your away from your computer. You won’t have to fumble with a soft keyboard or try to navigate a complex set of menus to print something.
You won’t have much trouble finding a home for the Tango X in a cluttered home office or work den thanks to its compact design. It’s lightweight also means you can be a creative when placing it on shelves or bookcases that have enough room for the paper feed and output tray. If it’s convenient for you, chances are the Tango X will fit there.
It’s not just the 15 x 9-inch footprint that makes it so versatile as a printer in terms of placement and portability: It’s also 3.5 inches tall. That thin profile means it fits into book bags and can be tucked away in bookcases or shelves when it isn’t used daily.
Like many network printers today, the HP Tango X supports dual-band WIFI, and we wouldn’t have considered it for this smart printer review if it didn’t. Being able to connect over a wireless network adds the flexibility to share the printer with anywhere in your home or office. Combined with the HP Smart app, you can also print from Android and iOS mobile devices.
Dual-band wireless connections are more stable and achieve better throughput than other WIFI protocols, so supporting this technology makes it unlikely that you’ll find yourself in a dead zone when you attempt to send a print job to the Tango X.
Optional High-Yield Cartridges
The best smart printers of 2019 offer different options when it comes to buying ink cartridges. Printer owners know that the ongoing cost of ink is more significant than paper in most cases, so HP offers high-yield cartridges for those who print in volume. This reduces the ink cost per page, and you won’t need to replace empty cartridges so often.
Great Photo Quality
It was when we saw its amazing photo prints that we decided to write this HP Tango X review. Whether you’re a photographer who prints samples of your work at home, or a you like to print family pictures suitable for framing, the Tango X has the print quality needed for these tasks.
Photo printing can often be expensive, but HP’s Instant Ink service can help to offset these costs. The entry level plan is free, while higher volume plans cost a monthly service fee.
Another reason we’d consider the Tango X one of the best smart printers of 2019 is little things like the custom fit linen dust cover that’s included. It adds style and protects the sensitive print head from dust and debris when the Tango X isn’t in use for an extended period of time. This saves you the potential hassle of needing to clean the print head before you can get a good print quality after a long period of storage in a dusty environment.
HP’s dust covers are good-looking, too. You can leave the printer in a living room or stylish office with it covered, and it’ll fit right in.
High Ink Costs
One of the downsides of inkjet printing is the cost of ink refills, and the Tango X doesn’t escape this problem. The quality of the ink is higher than printers that aren’t designed for high-quality color photo printing, too, which pushes the cost higher than average. When we calculated the average cost per page for this HP Tango X review, it was more than we expected. HP tries to mitigate this with their Instant Ink program, but whether you subscribe to this service or not, you’ll notice the cost of the ink if you print hundreds of pages a month.
No Borderless Prints over 5″x 7″
One of the drawbacks of the Tango X is its limited print area, and this results in a lack of borderless printing on prints larger than 5″ by 7″. This is less of a problem for regular paper documents, but for photo prints, it might mean some extra time spend trimming borders. A typical home user may not find this to be a serious problem, but a professional photographer or artist might think twice if they’ll be forced to trim a large number of prints.
During our testing for this smart printer review, we noticed that the Tango X’s print speed left something to be desired when we queued up multiple print jobs. This was especially true of high-resolution image printing.
This is not a printer intended for a high-volume office or photo studio, but its print speed is acceptable for a home printer that’s typically sent single-page print jobs. Chances are that it’ll be complete by the time you check on it. It prints at eight pages per minute for color documents and 20 pages per minute in black-and-white.
Small Paper Tray
Home printers often aren’t made to hold a more than a couple hundred sheets at a time, and we confirmed during our testing for this HP Tango X review that it’s true for this smart printer as well. This is a trade-off for its low profile. In order to have enough space for the print head and paper handling mechanism, the paper tray doesn’t have as much room as you’d have in a larger printer.
This isn’t something that will be very noticeable if you print only a couple pages a day, but if you print more often for a business or hobby, you’ll notice the need to reload the printer every day or two.
Unproven Product Category
Smart printer reviews are a new niche for us as these products have begun to appear on the market. Although they often test well in your review process, we can’t help but wonder if the concept will turn out to be a fad.
It’s true that integrating your electric and computer equipment into a smart home ensemble can be convenient, but we wonder how often we’d actually use Alexa to print a photo or a PDF who found on the internet. It seems more likely that any network printer could serve the same purpose. Unless you know you need to print from mobile devices, the Tango X is really a high-quality network printer with a couple extra ways to connect to it.
The Bottom Line
The HP Tango X is a fair quality photo printer which is elevated by integrated smart features. It remains to be seen whether smart home integration and improved mobile printing are thing people want. If they are, the HP Tango X will scratch that itch.
HP Tango X Review Result: 4/5 Stars
Overall, we were impressed by the HP Tango X, both in terms of print quality and adoption of state-of-the-art internet technology. Smart printers may become the new gold standard in the printer market as consumers continue to integrate mobile devices and cloud services like Alexa into their day-to-day lives. HP may well have made the best smart printer of 2019 when they designed the Tango X.
We recommend the Tango X as one of the best smart printers of 2019 for any home or small business. It’s a portable printer that’s capable of high-resolution color photo printing. After passing our new smart printer review, it scored high marks as a printer and as a smart device. We’d also suggest checking out HP’s innovative Instant Ink service. Not only does it automate the process of ordering and disposing of replacement cartridges, but it can save money, too.
The HP ENVY Photo 7855 is one of the best photo printers we’ve seen. It’s a high quality photo printer designed with the user in mind. If you don’t care about the mobility and smart features of the HP Tango X, then the HP ENVY Photo 7855 might be more of what you’re looking for.
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