HP Smart Tank 5105: Honest Review
- 1.1 Design and features
- 1.2 Print Heads
- 1.3 Print quality and speed
- 1.4 Speed, Quality
- 1.5 Printing Quality
- 1.6 Should I buy it?
HP was late to ink tank printing, but the HP Smart Tank 5105 is a winner. This compact multi-function printer is great value, but its cumbersome scan interface and slow colour print speeds disappoint. It’s ideal for cheap home printing and scanning.
HP Smart Tank 5105 Specs
|Functions||print, copy, scan|
|Media||A4, B5, A6, DL, envelope, Legal|
|Connections||Bluetooth Low Energy|
|Print head nozzles||704 (black), 588 (tri-color)|
|Dimensions||434.66 x 361.53 x 157.26 mm|
|Print Speed||12ppm B&W, 5 ppm colour|
Design and features
- Fillable ink tanks
- Basic paper handling and controls
HP is new to refillable ink tank printing. Epson’s EcoTank printers have been available for nearly a decade, while Canon’s MegaTank line debuted five years ago. HP quietly released its first refillable printers at the end of 2019, and this is our first chance to review one. The HP 5105 is the bottom of HP’s expanding Smart Tank line. An exposed back paper feed and no paper handling features make it a simple MFP. Its scanner lacks an automatic document feeder, making it unsuitable for multi-page scans and copies.
Basic on-device controls are also available. A mono display, black and colour buttons, and ID copy buttons are present. Pressing them repeatedly makes more copies. The 5105 arrives empty with four big ink bottles. Discharge their contents into the printer’s front tanks first. The bottles won’t leak, but a slight jiggle may help the ink drain. This system lacks curved plastic to prevent you from providing a bottle to the wrong tank, so it’s crucial to double-check your colour selection. Epson and Canon systems do.
Print heads must be fitted next. The process is simple and one-time, like inserting cartridges into an HP printer. To insert cartridges, I had to nudge the head carrier a little. Otherwise, the plastic will block it. I was impressed that this ink tank printer delivered a calibration sheet in seconds when others took 5–10 minutes to prime. It then conducted some cleaning, but it didn’t stop the setup. Like other ink tank printers, the Smart Tank 5105 is expensive. Most printers with this specification cost £60–70, not £200. You must consider the whole cost of ownership.
You’d pay nearer £600 if you bought a £60 printer and printed 6,000 pages at 9p per colour page. This HP printer has 6,000 pages of ink, so printing that many wouldn’t cost more than the 5105. To save money, use up the ink and store it in ink for 0.7p per colour page. Home printers seldom print 6,000 pages in their lifetimes; therefore, it may take some time to attain these quantities. Thus, a refillable printer must survive long enough to save you enough ink to return your initial outlay. Fortunately, HP offers a three-year warranty on the Smart Tank 5105 with registration.
Print quality and speed
- Excellent plain paper print quality
- Normal speeds, especially for intricate colour jobs
- Reasonable scan performance
The HP Smart Tank 5105 joined my network easily and tested well, unlike recent HP printer setup troubles. It takes 35 seconds to print the first page and a minute on our five-page test.
When asked to make several copies of a page, printers are faster. On this test, the 5105 printed the first page in 16 seconds and reached 10.9 pages per minute. Though slow, that’s fine for a cheap home printer. Similar patterns were seen with colour graphic printing. This printer produced five copies of our mixed text and graphics page at 4.5 ppm. It struggled at 1.7 ppm in a longer test with more sophisticated graphics.
We check HP printer settings to tick the ‘Print at Max DPI’ box for the best photo printing quality. In the 28 minutes it took to print six borderless, postcard-sized images, I made and ate lunch.
Usually, the wait is worth it. Excellent plain paper print quality. Even at 5 pixels, the black text was sharp and dark. The colouring was excellent, with no banding or graining—two usual inkjet issues. This good run didn’t last for photo prints. They were adequate for occasional use, but skin tones were washed out, and our black-and-white test photo was greenish. Photocopies weren’t colour accurate, but they were nicely exposed and didn’t lose detail in darker regions.
Should I buy it?
At low to medium quality, the HP Smart Tank 5105 scans A4 documents well for office use. A preview or 150-dpi scan of an A4 document took 11 seconds, while a 300-dpi scan took 20 seconds. I don’t like HP’s TWAIN scan interface, which doesn’t use Preview/Scan like other software, but it’s easy to use once you get used to it. Higher-quality photo scans were fine, but like many HP scanners I’ve tested, they showed digital sharpening when zoomed in. Like my photo quality complaints, this wouldn’t matter in infrequent use, but I wouldn’t suggest this MFP for high-resolution scanning. It took 49 seconds to scan a 10x15cm photo at 600 dpi and almost 2.5 minutes at 1200 dpi.
Set Up process:
- Install printer drivers and software.
- Register your printer after creating an HP account.
- Connect your printer to the wireless network, load it with paper, and install the cartridges.
|Very Good Features||Printing Is Done Slowly|
|Affordable||Ink-bottle Insertation Is Not Perfect|
|Great Print Quality|
I’ve long criticized HP’s ink pricing for non-Instant Ink subscribers. The HP Smart Tank 5105 avoids that entirely. Just buy cheap HP ink when you need it—perfect. This MFP has low running costs, like other ink-tank printers, and is economical, which may indicate increased rivalry between the large brands. The HP Smart Tank 5105 is a terrific value all-purpose home MFP if you print more than a couple thousand pages in its lifetime. Explore our finest printer round-up if you don’t print much.