This smart printer works with Alexa—but do you need it?
"Alexa, print a coloring page for my kid."
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Scanning apps and smart styluses have replaced many of the features of multifunction printers, but even the fanciest app can't produce a picture to hang on the wall or a contract you can sign with ink. Even in this digital age, there are plenty of uses for printers, and they’re now more technologically advanced than ever.
HP’s Tango X, for example, can print wirelessly, order its own ink, and even print documents you request via a voice command. It has a lot of fancy features, but are they really useful? We spent some time with the Tango X to find out.
The first thing that struck us about this printer is that it’s extremely good looking. It sits on a fabric-covered mat, and when the printer is not in use, the mat folds up to cover the entire front and top, so that it does not at all resemble office equipment. In fact, it just looks like a thick book. You could set a small clock or other decoration on top of the Tango X and it would look like part of the décor. Even when it’s not tucked away in its cover, its clean and minimal design beg to be looked at.
It’s (very) smart
The Tango X connects via WiFi to any device on the network, so we had no trouble printing from phones, tablets, and laptops. Even more impressive is the Tango X’s ability to accept commands from Google Assistant as well as Alexa, Amazon’s ubiquitous smart assistant. Once you get used to the awkward command, “Alexa, ask my printer to print my calendar,” it’s easy to get a quick printout of your agenda. You can also request word puzzles, coloring pages, recipes, to-dos, shopping lists, and more. It’s also compatible with HP Instant Ink, which means an optional subscription fee allows your printer to automatically order new ink when it’s getting low.
Loading paper, adjusting for different paper sizes, swapping out ink cartridges, and actually printing are all simple and quick on the Tango X. In fact, several times we had to move quickly to pin down a freshly printed page as it shot out of the printer and across the desk. Full-color photo pages didn’t print exceptionally fast, but on text and small graphics? It moves paper.
It does exactly one thing
This is not a multifunction device. It cannot scan or fax or copy or even auto-print two-sided pages (which bummed us out). The Tango X prints one-sided pages easily and quickly. The accompanying app can scan documents to make scanning and copying possible, and it does a decent job. But it’s definitely not as easy as it would be if it were a multifunction machine.
Who is the Tango X for?
The Tango X can be an asset to small businesses, students, and people who aren’t printing out manuscripts but still want to see words and photos on paper they can hold in their hands. So, most of us. If you want a printer that’s as beautiful as it is functional (and you don’t need duplex printing options), you’ll be pleased with the Tango X. A few of us will be geeky enough to use it with voice assistants, but that feature is really just icing on an already pretty awesome cake.