Portability is quickly becoming the name of the game for everything we own. From phones, music players, tablets, to laptops, we’re constantly reaching towards the goal of a premium yet portable version of everything. HP took that aim and extended it to the HP Tango, their new wireless printer which is designed to assimilate effortlessly into your house, and not look out of place.
The Tango unit we received was the Tango X which costs a little more than the base Tango model due to the extra linen cover that comes with the Tango X. The cover is made to fold over and conceal the printer when it is not in use and is able to act as a paper catch tray as the Tango does not come with one.
What is a little disappointing about the cover is that it is not attached to the printer in any way, instead it is held down by the weight of the Tango, a reasonable 3.4kg. Hence when carrying it there is the small possibility that the Tango might slip out of the linen case. We know because it almost happened to us a number of times when carrying it around.
The HP Tango is designed to work well with our smartphone, and does not come with a control panel or touchscreen, and does not even come with a USB port for connecting directly into your computer. Instead, it relies purely on dual-band wifi to connect to all of your devices.
To connect it to your desktop or laptop, you just have to download the HP Smart App and then set up the printer to the app. Those hoping for the HP Tango to carry a scanner to let you scan your documents, will be disappointed as the compact printer does not come with that function.
However, it is still possible for you to scan your documents using your mobile phone or tablet and then print it using the Tango. Though that means that the quality of your scan is entirely contingent on the quality of your phone’s camera. We got a reasonably clear scanned document using the iPhone 8’s 12MP camera, so just make sure you have a reasonably good camera and all is good.
Besides, adding a scanner to the printer will definitely ruin the compact aesthetic HP was going for with the Tango, which measures at just 389mm x 246mm x 91mm. So technically it could still fit into a large backpack and be easily carried around to wherever you will need to use a printer.
When used in the Geek Culture office, the Tango did a good job at printing simple text documents, producing documents with smooth and sharp text. Though we did experience a little bit of ink smudging when we tried to print a double-paged document, which requires you to manually load up the printed sheet into the printer to be printed on the other side. So perhaps you will want to wait a second or two for the ink to dry before proceeding to touch the printed document. The printer requires two different cartridges, a tri-colour and black ink cartridge, which can be ordered from HP via the Smart App.
Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of using the HP Tango is the lack of a control panel, everything is controlled via the phone but if the phone is unable to connect then you will be left stranded, unable to print anything. It can be an exercise in patience trying to get more than one document printed as the printer kept disconnecting from the app and you will have to make sure the printer is connected again before it can continue printing. Another limitation of the printer is how the Tango is only able to hold around 50 sheets of paper at a time, which is not a lot.
Overall the HP Tango is suitable for users who are used to working with cloud-based services and are looking for only a printer, not so much a scanner. It takes a while to set the printer up but once you have it up and running, the Tango X runs fairly well. You just have to get used to the lack of control panel and a scanner.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
The perfect printer for light users who are looking for a printer that prints more than it scans. If you value aesthetics then we also highly recommend you get the Tango X as the linen cover helps to elevate the Tango into a more premium looking printer with just a cover.
Aesthetics - 8/10
Build Quality - 7/10
Performance - 6.5/10
Value - 6/10
Geek Satisfaction - 6.5/10
Germaine is a fun-sized introvert who loves nothing better than sleeping in on rainy days. She can be found reading fanfiction and manga while still waiting for her Hogwarts acceptance letter. It’ll come eventually.