This is probably the cheapest printer we’ve ever reviewed. It falls in the ultra-budget category of printers i.e. devices at the bottom most wrung of the price ladder. For example, while we’ve reviewed under $100 printers before, we don’t think we’ve breached the $80 mark before. We have now. The HP Deskjet 3720 is positioned by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) as the world’s smallest all-in-one printer.
The HP Deskjet 3720 isn’t just there to make up the numbers. It is a very capable device that meets the needs of a specific demographic of people. It is an inkjet all-in-one printer which means that it can print, copy, and scan. The technology used behind this device is HP Thermal Inkjet. Whether this device will be suited to your requirements or not depends on what your priorities are. Our HP Deskjet 3720 review should help you decide.
Strengths of HP Deskjet 3720
What is the HP Deskjet 3720’s claim to fame? We’ve already mentioned that the OEM wants it to be seen as the world’s smallest all-in-one printer. While there’s no real way to verify this claim, the fact that the company is making such a claim says a lot about how compact this device is. If it isn’t the smallest in the world, it definitely is one of the smallest in the world. The HP Deskjet 3720 is so compact that it only measures about 141mm in height, 177mm in depth, and 403mm in width. The device is also incredibly light. It weighs only 2.33 Kg which makes it one of the lightest printers in the world too.
In addition to being small, the HP Deskjet 3720 is also aesthetically pleasing. Its looks aren’t your dull grey or basic black and white style. Instead, it sports a combination of white and vibrant blue. This means that you won’t have to hide it away in some forgotten corner of your home. If the first reason why you should consider this device is its compactness, the other reason should be its price. It is one of the cheapest out there. Whatever the price spectrum of all-in-ones is in the market correctly, we can assure you that this device is placed at the very beginning of it.
The HP Deskjet 3720’s listed price is $79 which is already very low. However, you can get it for cheaper at certain reliable online stores. Ours is one such store. At Inkjet Wholesale, you’ll be able to get this device for under $50. If that is not cheap, we don’t know how anyone defines the budget market segment. For that price, you would expect some major cutbacks from the OEM. While there are cutbacks, they’re in lesser important aspects and connectivity isn’t one of them.
HP has made sure that the device offers suitable connectivity options personal printer users. You can connect to the HP Deskjet 3720 through either a USB 2.0 port or wirelessly. There isn’t any Ethernet port but does anyone use that at home these days? Wireless connections are the best since they open up mobile printing capabilities for you. You can use any mobile device such as smartphones and tablets to print on this device. The printer is compatible to HP ePrint, supports Apple Air Print and even allows for wireless direct printing.
Weaknesses of HP Deskjet 3720
We mentioned cutbacks in the previous sections. One of these cutbacks has happened with the scanning functionality. However, part of the reason for this cutback is also the compactness of this device. Because this device is cheap and compact at the same time, the OEM has done away with the flatbed scanner. Instead, the HP Deskjet 3720 has a feed-through scanner which will require you to scan your documents one page at a time. That, however, is barely an inconvenience. A bigger problem is that using the feedthrough scanner will result in scans that are askew. You’ll rarely get a document as it is supposed to be. Further, you’ll even get black bands at the beginning of scanned documents because of the nature of the feedthrough scanner.
Printing speed is another aspect where the OEM has shorted the customer. The HP Deskjet 3720 isn’t the speediest printer around. It is rated to print at a speed of 8 monochrome pages per minute (ppm) and 5.5 colour ppm. While the HP Deskjet 3720 is a slow printer, personal users don’t really demand high print speeds because they don’t have to print in high volumes. The same logic applies to the paper input capacity of this device i.e. while it is low it shouldn’t be that much of a problem for personal users. Still, when compared to other devices, it is low which makes it a weakness.
This device can handle up to 60 pages at one time. The recommended monthly duty cycle of the device is such that you should be able to replace the paper at least four times. The maximum recommended monthly duty cycle of this device is 200 sheets while the minimum is 50 sheets.
You should also know that while this device is cheap to get, it isn’t cheap to run. The running cost of the HP Deskjet 3720 is on the higher side in its market segment. You’ll have to pay around 29.8 cents for every page you print with this all-in-one but that is with genuine or OEM cartridges. You can cut this running cost down in two ways. The first is to sign up for the HP Instant Ink Programme. The programme will see you pay a flat amount per month for printing a certain number of sheets. The lowest plan is for 50 sheets. The programme also causes a new cartridge to be shipped to you every month. The other way to cut costs is to use compatible or generic cartridges instead. By using generic cartridges you can bring down your per-page cost to 25.4 cents.
The HP Deskjet 3720 is also without the automatic duplexing capability. So, if you like to save money on paper, you’ll have to duplex manually by turning over printed sheets. Furthermore, we would also like to forewarn you that this device is noisy when it is printing. This is because of the low quality of plastic used in its construction.
Key Features of HP Deskjet 3720
Output quality is a major aspect to consider while buying a new printer. The output quality of the HP Deskjet 3720 is quite good without being excellent, as can be expected from a budget printer. While the text output is average, what makes this device worthy of your attention is that fact that it delivers surprisingly decent photos and graphics. It is rated to print at a maximum resolution of up to 4800 x 1200 dots per inch (dpi). However, again, you should be aware that this device doesn’t offer borderless printing before you start planning to print your family album with it. Even though the HP Deskjet 3720 offers good photo output, it isn’t a photo printer. This is evident by the fact that it neither has a memory card slot nor compatibility for PictBridge.
The device’s printing is guided by its 360 MHz processor and 64MB integrated DDR1. This helps the HP Deskjet 3720 deliver the first monochrome print in 15 seconds and the first couloir print in 18 seconds from the ‘Ready’ mode. The control panel of this device is dominated by a 7 segment icon LCD. It also comes standard with HP Printer Software, HP Update, and HP Photo Creations. The device has a one year Return to Base (RTB) limited warranty wherein it will have to be returned to either an HP service centre or the dealer to be repaired or exchanged.