Tag: UPnP Printer Device Class

Product Review–HP Envy 120 Multifunction Inkjet Printer


I am reviewing the HP Envy 120 multifunction inkjet printer which is the latest in HP’s “Envy” range of designer slimline multifunction printers. This unit has the same pedigree as the HP Envy 100 printer which I previously reviewed, where it implements a low-profile auto-duplex inkjet print mechanism in a very stylish cabinet reminiscent of home audio and video equipment.

But this model has had a few changes like face-up scanning with a clear glass lid for previewing your originals as well as a swing-open panel for the USB socket and memory card slots. This is alongside the idea of having it finished in an “all-black” housing.

HP Envy 120 designer all-in-one printer

Print Scan Copy Fax /
Paper Trays Connections
Colour Colour Colour Colour 1 x A4 USB 2.0
Ink-jet Resolution HP ePrint receive, Scan-to-email 802.11g/n WPS Wi-Fi wireless
Auto-duplex Face-side-up scanning with preview window UPnP Printing



The machine’s standard price: AUD$329

Inks and Toners

Standard High-Capacity
Price Pages Price Pages
Black AUD$25 200 AUD$48 600
Colour AUD$30 165 AUD$56 440


The printer itself

Envy 120 designer all-in-one printer printing a document

The Envy 120 printer when it is printing

Like the rest of the HP Envy printer series, this model conveys the kind of operation you would expect from high-end audio and video equipment like the classic Bang & Olufsen Beosystem 5000 Series hi-fi systems. For example, when a document is being printed, the front panel swings up and a small bar comes out in anticipation of that printed document. Then, when you collect the document, the front panel swings down.

Similarly, when you need to load paper in to the printer, you touch the “eject” button on the front and the paper drawer comes out in a manner not dissimilar to a CD player’s disc drawer. Then, when you have loaded the paper, you either touch the “eject” button or push the drawer slightly to close the paper drawer.

Walk-up functions

The printer is able to copy documents placed in the scanner area or print from memory cards or USB memory sticks using the touchscreen control panel. As well, you can use the HP ePrintCenter functionality to print out a wide range of documents ranging from notepaper to newspapers or comics.

It also works with the HP ePrint “email-to-print” function but also has a “scan-to-email” function which is infact an HP ePrintCenter app. This isn’t dependent on the machine knowing a POP3 or IMAP4 email service but through HP’s ePrint service. When you first set this feature up, you would need to enter your email address in to the printer’s control panel whereupon it would send you a PIN number via email. You enter these details in to the printer and can have them stored there. Subsequently, when the printer shows the “sender and recipient” screen, you can touch the “Modify Recipient” button to determine a different recipient. The documents can be sent as a JPEG or single-page PDF.

HP Envy 120 designer all-in-one printer card reader and USB port

The USB port (where you can charge smartphones) and the memory card slots behind a swing-down door

The USB socket that is used for walk-up printing from  and walk-up scanning to USB flash drives and similar devices also has been optimised as a device-charging socket. If you connect a smartphone, external battery pack or similar gadget to this socket, it will supply power to the device in order to charge it or avoid compromising the device’s battery runtime. This even happens when the printer is turned off using the on-off button on the front, This socket, along with the SD card slot that serves the same purpose of walk-up printing and scanning is hidden behind a hinged door on the front of the Envy printer.

Mobile-device functions

The HP Envy 120 works properly with the iOS and Android mobile devices using AirPrint (iOS only) or the HP ePrint app for both platforms. This app can work from JPEGs, PDFs or text files and can allow the printer to print both sides for multipage documents.

It does also support UPnP-Print for those devices that are willing to exploit this standard for network-based driver-free printing. At the moment, we don’t see any consumer devices on the market that are willing to exploit the UPnP-Print function but this could be relevant to cameras or interactive-TV applications.

Computer functions

I loaded the latest full-function driver software from HP’s Website and this loaded and installed very promptly without issues.

There is a problem that if the PC comes out of “hibernate mode”, it takes a bit too long to discover the printer on the network for scan-to-PC operation and shows up an error message as if the printer wasn’t there. But it can scan to the computer properly.

For printing, the print driver was very responsive and didn’t show any extra unnecessary information through the print process.

Print quality

The HP Envy 120 was able to turn out documents with a similar quality to other consumer inkjet printers. But when it comes to photos, it can lose a bit of the definition compared to the original Envy 100. Here, it also yields darker images with reduced contrast. Of course, this wouldn’t be a match with the Photosmart printers which yield higher photo quality for HP’s consumer inkjet printers.

When the Envy 120 prints on both sides of a page, there is a slight shift between the front and the back of the page. This can be annoying if you are using this feature for desktop-publishing especially with luggage labels and similar odd-shaped documents.


HP Envy 120 designer all-in-one printer see-through scanner lid

See-through scanner lid

The scanner has the scan head integrated in to the lid so as to provide a “preview” window for how you scan or copy the documents or photos. This can work well for snapshots and single-page documents but can be difficult to use when it comes to working with bound material such as copying out recipes from a cookbook to avoid damaging that cookbook in the kitchen.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

One weakness across the HP Envy printers and the slimline printing mechanism is that they use two ink cartridges – one black cartridge and one “three-colour” cartridge. This can make these printers expensive to run especially if you consider regular use out of them because if you run out of one colour in the colour cartridge, you have to replace that cartridge.

Here, HP could improve on the low-profile auto-duplex print mechanism by using separate cartridges for each colour. It can also allow HP to use photo-grade inks that are used with the Photosmart series of inkjet printers, thus giving the Envy series deluxe credentials in the output as well as the looks.

The other weakness with this model is the scanner design not being able to work with bound material very well due to the it working “face-side-up”. This could be improved with a lid that uses a pantograph-style or “Z-style” hinge so it can lie flat on the bound material during scanning thus achieving best results.

Conclusion and Placement Notes

Like the HP Envy 100, I would see this printer work more as a secondary printer to keep in a living area where you value elegance and aesthetics. This also would appeal to households who want a multifunction printer but use it on an ad-hoc basis and also value the aesthetics. For example, this could exist in a family room, living room or main hallway while a workhorse printer could be mainly used in the home office for the big runs.

It wouldn’t impress people who place value on the price of the printer or the cost to keep it running especially as a primary workhorse machine.

Encouraging the use of the UPnP Printer device class

The UPnP Forum have established a printer device class in the early days of this standard and have provided an “improved-printing” service for this device class. This was an attempt to allow a device to print text, Webpages and photos without the need for the device to have printer-specific drivers.

HP Envy 100 all-in-one printer (D410a)

I know that a lot of Hewlett-Packard’s network-enabled printers in the Photosmart range like the Photosmart Premium Fax C309a support this functionality. This also includes the HP Envy 100 printer which I have just reviewed. Some other manufacturers like Epson may support this functionality in a few of their products.

HP Photosmart Premium Fax C309a

The reason that there is inaction concerning the UPnP Printer device class is that there aren’t enough client devices that properly support this function. So far, some of the Nokia phones that work on the Symbian S60 Third Edition platform like the N95 and N85 can print photos to these printers using this platform. But I know of no other devices or platform apps that exploit this functionality.

Key enabler for this device class

Platform devices

An increasing number of manufacturers are moving towards the use of device platforms like Android and Maemo as the baseline operating system for embedded-platform devices like set-top boxes, PVRs and TVs as well as smartphones and tablet computers. These platforms typically use “apps” as a way of adding functions to the device, effectively turning the device into something that resembles a general-purpose computer. These “apps” are typically written by third-party developers and provided through an “app-store” or similar menu that is hosted on the device, either for a low cost or, in a lot of cases, for free.

These platforms, save for the Apple iOS platform, don’t have a printer-interface function that these apps could exploit and what is happening is that printer manufacturers are writing photo-printing apps for these platforms that work with their devices. They can support the UPnP Printer Device Class as a printing interface rather than reinventing the wheel for this function.

Key applications

Hardcopy from the tablet computer

As the tablet computer becomes increasingly popular amongst home and small-business users, there will be a requirement to turn out hard-copy from the apps loaded on these devices. Examples of this include printing emails or chapters from ebook apps to printing out photographs taken using the device’s integrated camera.

At the moment, the iPad can work with AirPrint-enabled printers like the HP Wireless-E B110a, the HP Envy 100 and the HP Colour LaserJet CM1415 that have been reviewed in this site. Windows 7 tablets can use the conventional driver-based Windows printing platform but Android and WebOS tablets don’t have an integrated printing platform. Access to the printers for these platforms is through photo-printing apps which are limited in purpose because they only print photos or, in some cases, PDF files; and are also tied to particular manufacturers’ printers.

If Google, HP or other companies who are behind tablet-computer and smartphone operating systems implement the UPnP Printer Device Class, they can add a driver-free printing ecosystem to these operating systems.

Hardcopy for Interactive TV

As the TV set becomes integrated with the Internet, there will be an interest in interactive TV. This will allow the viewer to interact with broadcast material using their remote control. Initially, it is being used with some broadcast-TV set-top boxes that use a cable-TV or dial-up-modem return path to facilitate purchasing of pay-per-view content or increasingly to allow viewers to register votes when they watch panel shows or talent quests. The Internet path is increasing the interactive TV abilities through the delivery of extra material to the viewer, thus permitting concepts like “catch-up TV” and on-demand availability of extended interviews and supplementary material. It is being augmented by set-top boxes, PVRs and TV sets (especially the main-lounge-area ones) being equipped with network connectivity.

The UPnP-enabled printer can work well with Interactive TV by offering a hard-copy option for editorial and advertising content. In the case of editorial content, this could lead to the availability of factsheets, end-of-show leaderboards and similar material.

The best example of this would be MasterChef, the popular cooking-based reality TV show. In a typical season, there are many recipes that will appeal to one’s tastebuds and may “fill in the gap” for a cooking situation that may be particular to one or more viewers. Here, the viewer would have to go to the MasterChef website using their computer and search through the recipes for the one that interests them in order to print out the hard copy they need to work from when they build their shopping list and when they cook the dish in the kitchen. It could be made easier by the viewer pressing a button on the Interactive TV remote control while the recipe is being cooked to have that recipe printed out, or obtain a recipe list for this current episode so they can choose what to print out.

Even the commercials could be augmented with “print-to-redeem” coupons, “specials lists”, factsheets and product-disclosure notices that the viewer can print out at the touch of a button when they see the ad. This can be extended to programs like game shows or talent quests that exploit viewer participation and use “print-to-redeem” coupons as incentives for viewers who participate in these shows.

Games and apps that are part of the interactive TV experience can be augmented with hardcopy options. Examples of this could be skill-based games that reward users with prizes for successful completion or being at the top of the game’s leaderboard; or apps that provide hardcopy information on demand.

Companies who are behind interactive-TV platforms like those involved with Internet TV could implement UPnP Printer Device Class in order to open up the possibilities offered with hard copy for Interactive TV.

Hardcopy snapshots from digital cameras and electronic picture frames

The UPnP Printer Device Class offers the ability for a connected electronic picture frame or digital camera to print snapshots through an existing home network rather than having to use “peripheral connections” like USB or Bluetooth.

This can avoid the need to locate a frame that receives “new” images via email or online services near the printer to print out the snapshots. Similarly, one could print out snapshots taken with a Wi-Fi enabled digital camera or mobile phone without worrying about whether the camera will work with the printer. This would be more acceptable for people who like creating “picture walls” from special events that they host. These “picture walls” are collections of pictures of the event taken by guests that are stuck to large sheets of cardboard.


But there are more applications like the ability to obtain a copy of a “dashboard” screen from a monitoring device through to “on-demand” news-printing from other devices. It also means that the UPnP Printer Device Class can open up paths for innovation when it comes to the functionality roadmap for a device targeted at a home or small-business user. As well, the UPnP Printer Device Class can also be useful as a “generic printer driver” for general-purpose computers so that basic text and graphics print jobs can be turned out without the need for awkward print drivers.

What needs to happen is that companies need to get serious about implementing this device class in their printers, computers and network-enabled devices.