HP TECH TAKES
Exploring today's technology for tomorrow's possibilities
HP Tango Printer: A Complete Review
November 4, 2018
With connected homes becoming more commonplace, it was just a matter of time before a smart home printer hit the market. The HP Tango printer is an innovative player in the home printer space that allows you and your family to send any number of print jobs through voice command, a mobile app on a phone or tablet, or through a traditional computer prompt.
Read our comprehensive review to see why this device is the next big thing in printing.
Sleek style for the modern home
Measuring in at a humble 14.8 x 8.1 x 3.6 inches, this minimalist dream also weighs just 6.8 lbs. You can choose to put it on your desk with paper surrounding it in a way that says, “here’s my printer.”
Or, you can set it on a shelf or end table and allow it to be part of your home décor. With an elegant presentation and no clunky buttons to distract, it does a surprisingly good job of blending in.
The printer relies on a just a few, simple indicator lights and buttons on its top for important actions, such as power, cancel, and more information. If a button isn’t needed - “resume,” for example - it won’t appear, giving you fewer distractions to deal with.
To find out what the printer is working on, rely on the integrated lights. This edge-lighting changes as your printer works, using a thin strip of lights on the front to communicate via color and patterns what it’s doing at all times.
Because much of the printer control is done from your connected device, the extras found on many traditional printers won't be found here. Which makes the HP Tango an interior decorator’s dream.
Connect to everyone
The term “smart printer” is fairly new. While all HP printers have been responding to tech trends for decades, this latest advance is unique to the market. In addition to using the basic wireless connections that today’s printers depend on, mobile-to-printer commands work well with this device.
Anyone with the HP Printing app can send a print job straight to the device, and a variety of customizations and editing options are available at the touch of the mobile device screen. It’s not limited to those in the same home, either, because connected app users in any location can print on demand, too.
Send a document to family members while you’re away, print a surprise love note from on the road, or just snap a photo of a receipt to print for your files when you return.
Do more with the HP Smart App
The HP Smart App is one of the highest-rated productivity apps in the Apple iOS store, and that’s because it’s a proven solution for multiple users trying to compete for time with a single, connected home printer.
Family members who install the app on their mobile device or tablet can connect in minutes, getting access to the in-network printer. The entire setup requires just a few simple security prompts to make sure that not just anyone can connect.
Once the app is installed, immediately scan, crop, edit, save, and send items to the printer with just a few taps. The app uses the same technology that many mobile banking applications use by finding document corners for you and straightening, cropping, and resizing as needed for better prints without having to open an external document editing app.
Other features of the HP Smart App include integrations with your HP Instant Ink account (more on that below) and notification settings to alert you to problems with the printer, project status messages, and more. You’ll always know what your HP Tango printer is up to with virtual notifications enabled.
Ask for (almost) anything
Wireless connection isn’t all this printer offers, however. Where it really shines is in its first-in-class voice command capability. With so many devices waking up and performing at the sound of the user’s voice, it only makes sense to include printing in the mix.
Anyone who loves smart speaker tech will happily embrace the HP Tango smart printer, which uses the same voice prompts we’re familiar with from other branded voice-recognition gadgets. Ask Alexa to print out your shopping list or request that Google nudge the HP Tango to print your calendar. It might sound something like this: “OK Google, ask my printer to print out today’s appointments."
Early tech adopters should know that this is the first printer to use voice commands. Anyone wanting to experience cutting-edge home tech will find this to be a must-have addition to their already-connected home.
Those who are new to the phenomenon won’t have issues, however. The commands are easy to learn, and the HP voice recognition tech works well to pick up sound in a variety of environments and from a wide range of voice tones.
Whether you’re familiar with the tech or new to it, you’ll soon be confident when asking for prints from your existing voice accounts, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana.
While all these advancements in tech are impressive, it’s all for nothing if the print quality isn’t there. Fortunately, the HP Tango covers those bases with a superb black-and-white quality of 1,200 x 2,000 dpi, and 4,800 x 1,200 dpi for color. It accomplishes this with thermal inkjet technology that HP® has come to be known for. Expect the industry-leading prints from our genuine print cartridges for best results.
Get up to 11 pages per minute when you’re printing family photos, important documents, manuscripts, invitations, shopping lists, maps, and more. And it can do so on your choice of paper products, including heavy-duty cardstock, printer paper, and envelopes.
It’s an ENERGY STAR®-qualified appliance, too, which means it uses less energy. You’ll save money and electricity costs when you scale down your printer to this modest, powerful, and modern smart device.
Meet the HP Tango family
With something designed to fit into your life so seamlessly, it makes sense that there would be options to help you create just the right look for your home. Continue reading to learn more about the two HP Tango printer models and decide which one is right for you.
Original HP Tango smart printer
This is the stylish and simple HP Tango smart printer. It comes with everything needed to get started printing right away, including starter ink cartridges and a free trial of the HP Instant Ink subscription service.
It prints a recommended 100 to 300 pages per month, using two ink cartridges: one tri-color and one black. This is a wireless network printer, so there is a power cord but no additional USB or connection cords. You’ll need a WiFi network to connect this device.
HP Tango X smart printer
The X version of the HP Tango is the same sleek printer. Like the original HP Tango, it uses brilliantly colored lights to indicate various printer functions. However, the HP Tango X smart printer comes with a linen cover in your choice of two colors to help the printer blend into your décor and protect your device from dust and moisture when it’s not being used.
When you’re ready to print again, just unfold the cover and the linen acts as a mat for your print jobs to lay on when finished.
If you already own the HP Tango original model, which was the first to hit markets, you can upgrade to the look of the HP Tango X printer.
Simply order the optional linen cover in Indio or Charcoal as an additional accessory, or wait until the Cork Currant design is released later this year. Better yet, snag more than one cover and switch up your style as you wish.
The importance of ink
This smart home printer may be truly unique, but it operates on the same reliable HP printing technology as other printers in the line. It’s ready to go minutes after unboxing, provided you use the HP-branded apps and prompts to connect to your home system and begin printing.
Like other HP printers, it is always recommended that you use authentic HP-branded ink products. The benefits are many, including better print quality, cleaner print heads, and it is one of the latest HP Instant Ink eligible printers.
In the earlier days, it was common to choose a printer based on its ink cost, which usually factored into pages per cartridge and cartridge print price. HP® has always offered competitive pricing on their ink cartridges, but there’s an easier way to refill your HP Tango, save money on ink, and help the environment. Through the HP Instant Ink program, which you can enroll in within minutes upon activating your printer, you never have to leave home to buy ink or even put it in your online shopping cart.
The HP Tango stays in continual communication with your HP Instant Ink online account, alerting the service when you are low on ink with either the black or tri-color cartridges. A shipment will arrive at your door well before it’s time to switch out for a new cartridge. The service is quite brilliant because it intuitively sends out ink and provides a postage-paid, pre-addressed envelope for sending back your empties. It makes empty printer cartridge recycling easy and free, and helps reduce the impact of e-waste.
In addition, the HP Instant Ink service charges by pages printed and not by cartridges used, so you can also take comfort in knowing that you can print all those brilliant and vivid color projects you want without it costing more. Photo prints would cost the same as a black and white print job, even if more ink is used.
Choose from a plan that offers just 50 pages per month, or go big with up to 300 pages a month. There is no annual fee, and you can change plans at any time. Unused pages (up to a plan’s monthly total) roll over to the next month, so you can avoid losing paid-for pages.
If you need to print more than what your plan allows, your rollover pages will be used first. After that, you can buy additional pages at a rate of 15 to 25 pages per dollar, depending on your plan.
You can check your print totals at any time throughout the month by using the HP Instant Ink account dashboard, and you can also receive notification when you’re close to reaching your print limits.
Free photos from your phone
Want even more printed pages per month?
Exclusive to HP Tango smart printer owners, the HP Instant Ink program won’t count photos sent from your phone or mobile device to the printer. So, if you’re signed up for the 50-pages-per-month plan, you can print as many photos from your phone as you want. It won’t count against your 50 pages limit.
Limitations apply, and the program works for prints on photo paper size 5 x 7 inches or smaller when printed through an Android™ or iOS® mobile device only.
You can monitor the number of free photos printed as well as your account balance for other pages printed with your HP Tango printer via the special page meter on your HP Instant Ink account dashboard.
Reaching new limits with the HP Tango printer
If you’ve already embraced the voice-enabled, connected home lifestyle, making the move to this savvy print solution is a no-brainer. You’re probably already asking Alexa, Google, and Cortana to do a variety of tasks for you in a hands-free manner each day, so why not add printing to the list?
Combining the best of today’s technology with a truly beautiful and minimalist aesthetic, the HP Tango is poised to offer a more effortless way of doing things we’ve always done. What big things can it help you do in your home?
About the Author: Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.