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HP Smart Tank 7602 review: fast, economical printing

Printing is fast and economical with the HP Smart Tank 7602.
HP Smart Tank 7602
MSRP $449.95
“HP's Smart Tank 7602 is a fast and reliable all-in-one printer with large ink tanks that rarely need to be refilled.”
Pros
  • Good photo quality even on plain paper
  • Quite fast for an inkjet tank
  • Wi-Fi performance is quick
  • Bold design with a clever hidden touchscreen
  • Cheerful chimes provide audio cues
Cons
  • Slow scan speeds
  • No duplex scanning

HP’s Smart Tank 7602 is a multi-function printer that can scan, copy, and fax. It’s also an inkjet tank, so you can refill it with bottles of ink and keep printing for a long time. That sounds nice for a home office or family printer that you want to keep running without hassle. The best all-in-one printers are cost-effective, fast, and reliable, so we dug deep to find out how well this HP printer performs.

One of the few drawbacks to tank printers is print speed, which tends to be slower than an office printer. However, HP says the Smart Tank 7602 is speedy enough for productivity. We put that to the test, along with checking ease of installation, print quality, and ink cost to assess long-term value.

Design

HP gave the Smart Tank 7602 an interesting tri-color design with an off-white body, charcoal lid and base, and dusky blue highlights on the paper tray and document feeder. I like it, but you might take a moment to consider if it works with your decor and if color schemes impact your printer choices.

The bold design choices don’t end there. The HP Smart Tank 7602’s display is unusual but works well. It’s a three-inch monochrome touchscreen about an inch tall placed under the translucent plastic on top of the printer. Visibility is good, and it responds reliably to my finger swipes and taps. Buttons light up on both sides when needed.

I didn’t expect to like the touchscreen, but it works well, and most actions and notifications are accompanied by pleasant chimes. It makes using the printer seem friendly and fun. I’d like to see more manufacturers use audio cues beyond the usual rolling, buzzing, and clunking that print mechanisms make.

HP gave the Smart Tank 7602 and unusual but nice touchscreen.
HP gave the Smart Tank 7602 an unusual but clever touchscreen. Photo by Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

The single paper tray holds up to 250 sheets of paper, and the output bin has room for 100 pages. There’s no media tray, so it’s best to remove all paper when switching sizes or types.

A USB port on the front at the lower left corner allows walk-up use for scanning and printing with a thumb drive. Just above, a translucent tank shows how the level of black ink remains, while the three color tanks are on the opposite side, each with a convenient color stripe indicating the ink within.

This compact all-in-one printer is 17 inches wide by 14 inches deep and stands 9.5 inches tall despite having an automatic document feeder (ADF) on top. The weight is 16.8 pounds, making it easy to unpack and move around.

Printing performance

The HP Smart Tank 7602 has surprising speed for an inkjet tank, boasting 15 pages per minute (ppm) for black-and-white documents and nine ppm for color. Sending print jobs is noticeably quicker than with other printers.

I’ve come to expect slow transfers taking several seconds, but the Smart Tank 7602 has speedy, dual-band Wi-Fi hardware that accepts a single page or photo in a fraction of the usual time. You can also connect via USB and Ethernet.

Plain paper photo quality is good and colors are true.
The quality of photos on plain paper is good, and colors are true. Photo by Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

Text print quality is good, and color documents look crisp with consistent color. Photos have accurate tones, and contrast is usually good. On occasion, blacks are a bit light, appearing dark gray. Overall, the photo quality is nice on photo paper and surprisingly good on plain paper.

For the best pictures on glossy paper, the more expensive Epson EcoTank ET-8500 wins with photographic-quality pictures. That’s not surprising when comparing a standard four-color process to the more photo-friendly six-color ink system Epson uses for the EcoTank ET-8500.

If you have a bigger budget, HP’s Color LaserJet Pro 4301fdw is faster for printing pictures on plain paper, but color toner costs more.

Special features

An all-in-one printer like the HP Smart Tank 7602 comes with the convenience of scanning, copying, and faxing without needing another machine on your desk. Lift the lid to access the flatbed scanner or flip open the panel on the top to slide up to 35 pages into the ADF tray.

Scan quality is good overall, but resolution is limited to 300 dots per inch (dpi) when using the mobile app. There’s a much wider range of scanning resolutions if you install the HP Smart app on your computer, ranging from 75 to 1200 dpi. That’s as good as some dedicated scanners.

Scans and copies from ADF don’t support duplex, but you can scan single-sided pages and print double-sided. While that could be a deal-breaker for a busy office with demanding copying and scanning needs looking for a sturdy and flexible small business printer, you might not need duplex scanning in a home office.

The HP Smart Tank 7602 can scan to a thumb drive, email, or cloud.
The HP Smart Tank 7602 can scan to a thumb drive, email, or cloud. Photo by Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

The HP Smart Tank 7602 is also quite slow at scanning, managing only eight ppm even when scanning at 200 dpi. You can scan to a USB thumb drive, email, or the cloud.

I don’t have a fax line to test that capability, but the requirements for faxing are minimal, so any printer with a phone jack should be able to handle facsimiles with ease.

Software and compatibility

Ink flows quickly with the HP Smart Tank 7602.
Ink flows quickly with the HP Smart Tank 7602. Photo by Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

Installation was simple with the HP Smart app on my iPhone. HP’s ink bottles are designed to drain quickly with no mess, and the HP Smart Tank 7602 doesn’t require the time-consuming ink charging process of tank printers from other manufacturers. That speeds up installation time considerably.

Many HP all-in-one printers feature automatic head alignment, another time-saver. When you first set up the Smart Tank 7602, the touchscreen prompts for paper, then an alignment sheet prints, and you place this in the scanner to complete alignment. I’m surprised this hasn’t become an industry standard.

Everything works well and is easy to use except for envelopes. If you rely on your phone for printing, it’s worth noting that I couldn’t print an envelope correctly from an iPhone or Android. You can select the envelope size from a Windows PC or a Mac with no problem, but that paper size is missing in the HP Smart app and AirPrint.

Price

HP’s Smart Tank 7602 retails for $450 but is easy to find for $350. That’s not a bad price for a fast, economical, and reliable tank printer.

HP estimates the ink bottles included in the box will last up to 2 years. The Smart Tank 7602 comes with full bottles that provide approximately 8,000 color pages and 6,000 monochrome pages. Tank printers are great if you frequently print in color.

HP includes full ink bottles with the Smart Tank 7602.
HP includes full ink bottles with the Smart Tank 7602. Alan Truly / Digital Trends

A full bottle of black ink costs $18, while each color is $17. In the unlikely event you need a complete set, you can save $2 more by ordering HP’s 4-pack. That brings the ink cost per page down to six-tenths of a cent for a color document and three-tenths of a cent for black-and-white.

Since ink costs all but disappear, only paper and the life of the printer remain when considering long-term costs. It’s too soon to assess the Smart Tank 7602’s durability, but HP is known for reliability, and this feels like a solid printer design.

Is this the printer for you?

The HP Smart Tank 7602 costs more than most inkjet printers, but it’s a fast printer that handles most tasks well. The money you save with two years of included ink and ongoing savings from refilling with bottles justifies the initial investment.

You can find fast, robust color laser printers that are better suited to meet the needs of busy offices, and you can find photo printers designed specifically for pictures. If you need an all-around great home office printer, the HP Smart Tank 7602 is hard to beat.

Editors' Recommendations

Alan Truly
Computing Writer
Alan is a Computing Writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. A tech-enthusiast since his youth, Alan stays current on what is…
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