With its peculiar combination of turrets and platforms, the HP Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One multifunction inkjet printer looks more like a 60s modernist house than an MFP. That's not to say it isn't attractive, but its styling is certainly somewhat unconventional – as you'll know if you're familiar with its similar-looking predecessor, the 7510 printer. Mind you, there's plenty to pack in, from the sizeable touchscreen to the fax facilities and the superb connectivity. Read more inkjet printer reviews.
The default paper feed is a roomy 125-sheet input tray, but sitting just above this is a sealed 20-sheet photo tray. The latter's not the easiest unit to slide back into place again, but it's very effective and saves you from having to constantly swap media. It even comes with a clear window so that you can check photo levels inside. Joining these three is a 25-sheet automatic document feeder. Rather than being spread-eagled inelegantly across the top of the printer, the ADF is tucked away inside a ‘turret' on the printer's top left corner. Pull up the flap, and out comes a full A4 feeder. See also: Group test: what's the best multifunction printer?
Besides a USB interface, the 7520 can also be connected to Wi-Fi - indeed, if you want to get the most out of the printer's web apps, you'll really need this connected. There isn't a wired Ethernet interface, but then, this device isn't aimed at businesses. More surprising is the inclusion of HP's ePrint, which allows you to email your files directly to the printer using your tablet or smartphone. Conveniently situated at the front of the printer are connectors for memory cards and USB drives. See also: HP Photosmart 5520 e-All-in-One review.
It's a shame that Lexmark recently decided to pull out of the Inkjet market, as their models had the best touchscreen menu systems we've seen. In their absence, though, the 7520 effortlessly picks up the baton, offering a wonderfully colourful 4.3in screen that allows the control system to work as every good touchscreen should. Punch the Photo menu, for instance, and use your finger to scroll through the photos on your USB drive or memory card. Select the one you want and then access an extra menu that lets you alter the size, remove red eye etc. You don't get an exhaustive selection of retouch options, but the basics are there. And it's all handled with so much aplomb. Fire up the Wi-Fi connection and you can download new apps for the printer. The bright screen also makes this product a cinch to use without needing to have a PC connected at all.
The 7520 doesn't stint on speed, and its text output is quite usable in the lowest quality mode, despite hitting an impressive 17.6ppm. We'd like it to be marginally cleaner and more focused in the middle mode, but it's still very good given the impressive 11.8ppm speed. Results at the highest mode offer superb clarity, but that 1.9ppm speed is going to be a turn-off. The graphics output on standard paper is very good though, almost on a par with that of the Canon MX895. The palette is perhaps just a touch too polite, but the results remain eye-catching. Speeds are very decent, although that 3.2ppm standard mode is only 0.1ppm faster than its little brother, the 5520. Photos are brilliantly rendered, and the 7520 is both speedy – 75 seconds – and alive with colour.
Running costs are reasonable, working out at a wallet-saving 2.4p for pages of black, and 4.8p for colour.
Copying wasn't the fastest on offer, but the results were accurate and little colour was lost in the transition. The 7520 produces fast scans, and its 100dpi shots were available within 4 seconds. Even at 600dpi, it turned out results in a mere 34 seconds. Images are sharp, although there was a rather dark tone to the results. The lid is robust, although you can't adjust it to fit in larger items. The HP has one of the most bizarre printing sounds we've heard yet. It's not particularly obtrusive, but it does occasionally seem to emit a series of tones, as though trying to communicate with its mothership.