The Photosmart 5520 looks like a carbon copy of last year’s model, the 5510. The chassis is identical, the ports, buttons and screen are all in the same location, and it has the same 80-sheet paper tray and flimsy arm for prints that holds a mere 15 sheets.
The addition of duplex printing this year is welcome, though, as is a larger 6.7cm colour touchscreen, which improves ease of use. Onscreen animations guide you through installing ink cartridges and calibrating, while clear icons make it easy to navigate the HP’s various inbuilt features and settings.
HP’s ePrint app permits printing directly from Android and iOS devices, and setting up an HP ePrintCenter account allows you to email documents to your printer from any web-connected device. Apple AirPrint is supported, too.
In our test prints, text lacked the absolute clarity of Canon’s Pixma MG5460, with spidering surrounding characters, but both mono prints and copies remain bold and good-looking.
Colour documents are superb, too, with vivid, lifelike colours and plenty of fine detail. Colour prints aren’t the cheapest, at 12c per A4 page, but that’s about the same as the Labs-winning Canon Pixma MG5460.
Photo quality isn’t as good as the Canon’s, however. While colours are rich and lifelike, blacks came out as a dark grey, plus a fine grain was evident. The results are still far better than every other model tested and 21c per 6 x 4in photo is the cheapest here.
Performance was patchier elsewhere. Photo prints were fast, producing a 6 x 4in photo in 59 seconds, and copying was speedy. However, mono documents printed at a slow 9.2ppm, and colour at a mere 5.1ppm; only Brother’s DCP-J140W was slower for document printing. Scans took their time, but the results were worth the wait, with plenty of detail and accurate colours.
Despite the mixed results, we like the 5520. It can’t match the quality of the Canon Pixma MG5460, but it’s cheaper to buy and run, and, for most purposes, the quality of its prints will prove perfectly satisfactory.
Good-quality prints and a tempting price make HP's Photosmart 5520 inkjet printer an affordable MFD well worth considering. Read the review.