HP DeskJet 3720 review

A few years ago Epson launched a range of compact ‘small-in-one’ printers that were specifically designed for people who were a bit tight for space at home. It’s taken HP a while to come up with something similar, but the company now claims that its new DeskJet 3720 is the world’s smallest all-in-one printer. See also: Best cheap printers

Also see: Best Black Friday Printer Deals

We’d be hard pushed to disagree with that claim, as the DeskJet 3720 measures just 140mm high, 403mm wide and 180mm deep as you lift it out of its box. You’ll need an extra couple of inches for the 60-sheet paper tray that folds out of the back of the printer, but you can certainly sit it on a desk or shelf at home without taking up too much space at all.

HP DeskJet 3720 review: Features and design

Like its stablemate, the DeskJet 3630, the 3720 has a modern white and blue livery. The compact design is made possible by ditching the traditional A4 flatbed scanner used by most multifunction printers. Instead of placing documents onto a glass plate you have to feed each page through the scanner by hand. That’s a minor inconvenience, though, and shouldn’t be too much of a problem for occasional use at home. Our only real complaint here is that the printer is rather noisy, as the lightweight plastic casing tends to rattle quite a bit while the printer is working.

HP DeskJet 3720 review

We weren’t initially impressed by the quality that the DeskJet 3720 produced with our various test documents, and it took a little while with the rather clumsy HP Utility app – which sometimes couldn’t even connect to the printer despite the fact that we were using the USB connection – to adjust the printer alignment and improve the print quality.

The final text quality was good – it lacked the smooth outlines produced by the best inkjet printers, but will be perfectly adequate for simple documents such as letters and school reports. Colour graphics were also good, and the DeskJet 3720 even managed to produce some very attractive photo prints when using glossy postcard paper. Bear in mind that it does not support borderless printing, so there will always be small white borders around photos if you're printing on A4 or 6x4in sheets.

HP DeskJet 3720 review

HP DeskJet 3720 review: Performance

Performance is modest, as you’d expect from a a low-cost printer, but speeds of eight pages per minute for mono text and 4ppm for colour will be adequate for light use at home. Our 6x4in postcard prints took a lengthy 100 seconds but, again, that’s not bad for a printer in this price range.

HP DeskJet 3720 review: Price

You can buy the 3720 direct from HP for £55. But, as always with low-cost printers, the sting in the tail comes with the cost of the replacement ink cartridges. The standard 304 black and tri-colour cartridges included with the printer cost £10 each, but only last for 120 mono pages and 100 colour pages. That works out at a hefty 10p per page for colour, and a quite extravagant 8.3p per page for mono. Using HP’s high-yield 304 XL cartridges brings the cost of colour printing down to a more reasonable 7p per page. However, mono printing with the 304 XL black cartridge still comes to 6.5p per page – which is about three times what it ought to be.

That’s hard to stomach, but HP is clearly trying to tempt you into signing up for its Instant Ink subscription service, which allows you to print a fixed number of pages each month in return for a flat-rate monthly fee. A modest printer such as this would probably gain most from the entry-level subscription, which allows you to print 50 pages per month for £1.99 – or 4p per page. Again, that’s good for colour printing, but still quite high for mono.

However, HP is running a special offer with the DeskJet 3720 that gives you the first three months subscription for free, so it might be worth signing up for a few months to see how you get on.

HP DeskJet 3720: Specs

  • 4-colour (CMYK) inkjet printer
  • Print resolution – 1200x1200dpi
  • Scanner resolution – 600dpi
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi, USB, Apple AirPrint
  • Paper input – 60 sheets (A4)
  • Dimensions – 140x403x180mm
  • Weight – 2.3kg
  • 4-colour (CMYK) inkjet printer
  • Print resolution – 1200x1200dpi
  • Scanner resolution – 600dpi
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi, USB, Apple AirPrint
  • Paper input – 60 sheets (A4)
  • Dimensions – 140x403x180mm
  • Weight – 2.3kg

OUR VERDICT

We like the compact design of the DeskJet 3720, and its print quality and performance are good for a printer that costs just £55.00. However, its running costs are pretty high even if you commit to HP’s Instant Ink scheme, so the DeskJet 3720 will only be a good deal for people who have very light printing needs for the occasional letter or school report.