HP Envy 4500 Review: Taking A Look at the Specifications

It’s one of the few pieces of hardware that still offers functionality with paper in an age where digital technology is saving trees – but it’s a printer, so that’s kind of the point.

Hewlett Packard, or HP, is one of the most prominent names in all of technology. Over the years they’ve built up a large fan base and a big market share in the fields of PCs, laptops, and computing accessories. Though more things are going paperless today than ever before in the history of technology, printers still have their place.

Most printers that come with any sort of price tag are combo units. They can print, scan, and copy documents from a single device – greatly cutting down on office clutter as well as the costs associated with completing your setup.

HP’s line of printers offers something for almost everyone. Regardless of your preferred price range or the features you’re looking for, their inventory can likely show you something to fit your needs. Today we’ll be checking out the HP Envy 4500. What does this printer offer? What are its pros and cons? And when compared to the competition for the price, is it the best option out there?

Primary Features of the HP Envy 4500: What Are the Pros?

hp envy 4500
  • The HP Envy is a great printer for the price –  which is right in the low-to-mid range for printers with these types of features. If a printer can scan and copy. This means the Envy 4500 could be placed at the high-end of the low-cost range, or the low-end of the mid-cost range.
  • Sure, you can find a cheaper printer. But can you find one with the same features? Let’s start with the looks. Yes, look still matter for printers. A sleek, slim, black printer will almost always fit better in any setting than a bulky white box. With automated trays, glass tops, and a super low-profile design, HP’s all-in-one Envy printers look good everywhere. This is true whether we’re talking about the dorm room, the workplace, or the home office.
  • While a bit bulkier than the Envy 120, this printer is still smaller than a lot of others in the same price range. A smart design helps it take up less space – two-cartridge printer engine technology, to be exact. The method of fitting the cartridges in less space helps with both design and ink efficiency. That is the case unless you print a lot from a single color, in which case it can actually lead to a bit of waste.
  • printSurprisingly, this unit has an auto-document feed mechanism. That’s not rare for printers, but it is rare for printers in this price range. The scanner is a 1,200ppi flatbed and the finish is one designed to avoid fingerprints, effectively saving you from the inevitable collage of smudges.
  • printThe unit also offers another convenience that’s usually found only in higher-priced models – an LCD screen. The 50mm display makes it easy to sort through commands and improve responsiveness. Think about how hard it can be to figure out a device without a display. This can lead to frustration, or, even worse, to you printing incorrectly and wasting precious ink.
  • printWith a single front panel serving as both the output slot and the feeding tray through a simple folding mechanism, this printer is space-efficient even when you put it in printing mode. Enjoy crisp quality on A4 sheets up to 15 x 10 cm.
  • printWhile you’ll find a USB socket on the back of the unit you can use to connect it to your computer, you can also do so wirelessly. It doesn’t have auto Wi-Fi detection – we guess they couldn’t fit in too many surprising features for the price range – but the wireless direct print does work with standard computers as well as mobile devices.
  • printThe printing speed is also reasonable – an A4 copy takes under a minute, while 15 x 10 cm photos take less than a minute-and-a-half. Though no extremely quick, it’s a fair speed for the price.
  • printWith duplex printing capabilities, wireless direct/AirPrint functionality, and a wealth of HP printable themes to use, the HP Envy 4500 offers a lot of great features. But what about the drawbacks?

Downfalls of Buying the HP Envy 4500

  • Sometimes it can seem like buying a printer is a chore – and in the worst-case scenario, it’s a rip off. The reason for this is simple. Sometimes ink cartridges can be as expensive, if not more so, than the printer itself – even if it comes with ink as part of the deal!
  • Using a tri-color cartridge can lead to ink waste. Many of the negative reviews of the HP Envy 4500 stem from cartridge and ink issues. Some people call it an ink hog, while others say it is unreliable when it comes to spreading ink on the paper accurately.
  • Amazon’s reviews are a bit better than those on Consumer Reports, but any sign about a potential problem is worthy of a potential buyer’s attention – it could save you headache in the long run. Granted, printers are sometimes well-known for being difficult to work with. Feeding and ink loading can sometimes be difficult to manage, and there are many problems that stem from peoples’ unfamiliarity with the device when compared to another. If you’ve gotten used to a printer with seamless feeding capabilities and minimal ink waste, you could be in for a nasty surprise.
  • printThere’s also a lack of USB ports and media card slots, except for the single USB slot on the back. This means you can forget about uploading photos to print directly from a camera. For photographers, this can be a pain and even a complete deal-breaker for the HP Envy 4500.
  • printFor that, you’d need to upload your pictures to your computer and then print them using the printer’s included USB connectivity or Wi-Fi connectivity. That’s an extra step in the workflow. While it may not seem like much for the person who snaps a few selfies or portrait shots, a professional photographer may find this limitation extremely stifling.
  • printNo printer is perfect, and especially considering the HP Envy 4500’s reasonable price tag, it is understandable it would fall short in a couple areas. But how does it compare to other printers around the same price range?

HP Envy 4500 vs Canon PIXMA MG3550

HP Envy 4500 vs Canon PIXMA MG3550

For the sake of a more accurate comparison, we wanted to compare a model from HP’s line to another from a reputable competitor. We’ll go with Canon – not only are they known for making great printers, but their PIXMA line shares the same qualities as HP’s Envy line. They’re value-based devices, making them perfect for buyers on a budget.

One of the main benefits of the MG3550, is that it has a good software bundle. This matters a lot, as older printers like this don’t always have the ability to be detected and configured automatically. It’s also useful if a person is trying to set up their device without an internet connection. In short, it’s better to have good software than not – even if it’s a disc that’s left on the table along with the operation manuals, passed over in favor of digital installation and instruction programs.

Like the Envy 4500, the PIXMA MG3550 has AirPrint and Wi-Fi Direct printing capabilities. It also has Duplex printing as a standard feature, and a twin-cartridge system. The differences come into play when you consider what it lacks – an LCD screen, for one. This makes it a little bit harder to use, unless you take quickly to these devices and learn without much difficulty.

There’s also the fact that the PIXMA MG3550 runs at about the same speed, so it has no distinct advantage over the Envy 4500 in that area at least. But the area where the MG3550 may excel is in the efficiency category – it can be a lot cheaper to run, as it is known for less paper jams and less ink waste. You can save on both potentially, meaning it is possible to get more value out of his printer.

However, the HP Envy 4500 is still right there – if you take into account how much easier it is to use thanks to the display, as well as how sleek it looks thanks to the space-efficient design, this printer is hard to beat in many areas.

HP Envy 4500 vs. Epson Expression Premium XP 830

HP Envy 4500 vs EPSON Expression Premium XP 830

For the sake of showing just how the printer stacks up against those in a higher class, we’ll compare it to one that costs around two-to-three times as much. Epson is another popular brand that can be called one of the top choices in the industry. They’re as reputable a company as HP and they have a good thing going with their Expression line.

The Premium XP 830 is one of their best home printers, utilizing a duplex printing mode and including a scanner for great all-around value. The area where it excels over the HP Envy 4500 is connectivity. There are plenty of slots to connect media devices to, meaning you have a wide range of options for a smoother and more seamless workflow.

Despite being a pricier printer, as such models usually have complex controls, this one is very easy to use. It has an LCD display and also the required hardware to facilitate quicker printing. When you’re in a hurry printing out that short-notice academic paper or those photos you want to frame immediately, this can come in handy.

But even a printer that costs twice as much as the Envy 4500 has its downfalls. The most noticeable being the low-capacity paper tray. It also has comparable costs to the 4500, meaning the 4500 could potentially be the higher-value choice of the two in that category. Finally, there are plenty of options in both Canon’s and HP’s lineup that can rival this one.

It just goes to show that the more expensive option isn’t necessarily the better one. So long as the features are good, and the manufacturer is reputable, it is a good buy to consider.

Examining HP’s Reputation: How Are Their Products Viewed?

We wanted to take one section to rate the quality of the manufacturer themselves. A good name on a product doesn’t necessarily mean that product is worth buying. However, most companies with a good standing in their industry got it through quality controls in both their product manufacturing processes and their approach to customer service.

For years, HP has exceled in the areas of PCs, laptops, computing accessories, and technological business solutions. It’s easy to see why – they’re not only dedicated to quality, but they’re constantly researching on how to make better products.

A better product doesn’t always necessarily mean more features. In some cases, that can be worse as it raises the price. There’s a sweet spot when it comes to value-based products. Having enough features to warrant the price and solve the customer’s problem, but not having so many that the cost becomes unreasonable.

With a focus on innovation, sustainability, and creativity that has been commended, HP is a trusted manufacturer and one whose printers can be expected to deliver in all areas.

Final Verdict: Is the HP Envy 4500 Worth the Money?

When it comes to printers, cost is everything. They’re often viewed as a necessary evil in terms of computing accessories, helping us cling to paper in the era where everything is going digital. That being said, people don’t want to spend too much on a printer.

This all-in-one model gives you everything you need. A sleek design, an LCD display, a copier, and a scanner – combined with the reliability of the HP name, and that’s a great buy. Sure, you could get faster print speeds or less ink waste by spending a bit more. But if you’re on a budget and want something that is well-rounded and gives bang for your buck, go for the 4500.

HP Envy 4500 Review: Taking A Look at the Specifications

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