Reviews You Can Rely On

HP Tango Review

This model's competitive price and print capabilities are blemished by the below average print outcomes
HP Tango
Credit: Jason Peters
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Price:   $150 List
Pros:  Decent resolution, easy set-up, several print dimensions/ papers
Cons:  Inconsistent colors, poor dynamic range, expensive cost per print
Manufacturer:   hp
By Nick Miley, Jason Peters and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Apr 6, 2020
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50
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 13
  • Color - 35% 5
  • Black and White - 35% 5
  • Print Capabilities - 15% 6
  • Operating Cost - 10% 2
  • Set-Up - 5% 7

Our Verdict

The HP Tango had mixed results in the course of our evaluation. The machine boasts more format options (print sizes) than most mid-size printers, and it has a reasonable price point. However, the color and grayscale test images showed inconsistent results that were less than favorable. Additionally, the cost per print is quite high for the review class.

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Star Rating
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Pros Decent resolution, easy set-up, several print dimensions/ papersConsistent color, easy set-up, broad format optionsEasy to use, decent resolution, prints common sizesUser-friendly, sharp images, affordable, playfulConvenient, simple, inexpensive, bluetooth connectivity
Cons Inconsistent colors, poor dynamic range, expensive cost per printMicrobanding in grayscale, relatively low definition in dark areasMicrobanding in larger formats, off skin tones, over saturationLimited print sizes, limited tray capacityRelatively low resolution, single print dimension
Bottom Line This model's competitive price and print capabilities are blemished by the below average print outcomesThis low-cost, full-sized machine delivers high-end resultsAn easy to use mid-size printer at a good priceThis portable printer kicks out quality 4" x 6" prints anytime, anywhereThis portable printer captures the fun of the old Polaroid cameras but with a fresh twist
Rating Categories HP Tango Expression Photo HD... Canon PIXMA TR4520 Canon SELPHY CP1300 Canon IVY
Color (35%)
5.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
4.0
Black And White (35%)
5.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
4.0
Print Capabilities (15%)
6.0
8.0
5.0
4.0
3.0
Operating Cost (10%)
2.0
7.0
5.0
7.0
6.0
Set Up (5%)
7.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
9.0
Specs HP Tango Expression Photo HD... Canon PIXMA TR4520 Canon SELPHY CP1300 Canon IVY
Resolutioin (dots per inch) 4800 x 1200 (color)
1200 x 1200 (b&w)
5760 x 1440 4800 x 1200 300 x 300 314 x 400
Max photo deminsions (inches) 5" x 7" 13" x 44" 8" x 10" 4" x 6" 2" x 3"
Cost per print (4" x 6" or mini print) $0.94 $0.45 $0.58 $0.43 $0.50
Machine deminsions (HxWxD inches) 3.58" x 14.84" x 8.11" 6.3" x 18.7" x 14.5" 7.5" x 17.2" x 11.7" 2.5" x 7.1" x 5.4" 0.7" x 3.2" x 4.7"
Printing technology Inkjet Inkjet (Piezo DOD) Inkjet (Theromal DOD) Inkjet (Dye- sublimation) In paper, thermal-activated dye
Print time per 4" x 6" (or mini print) 46 seconds 34 seconds 128 seconds 51 seconds 40 seconds
Color palette (ink cartridges) Black, Tri-color Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Gray, Red Black plus color cartridge N/A N/A
LCD screen No Yes No Yes No
Touch Screen No No No No No
Battery No No No Yes (sold separately) Yes
Memory cards supported N/A N/A N/A SD, SDHC, SDXC, miniSD, miniSDHC, microSD microSDHC and microSDXC N/A
Ink type Pigment-based (black); dye-based (color) Dye-based Pigment (black) and dye-based (color) Dye-based N/A
Roller paper No No No No No
Connectivity Wi-Fi iPad, iPhone and Android tablets, Alexa and smartphones; Ethernet networking, andard Connectivity:
Hi-Speed USB, USB Host, Wireless 802.11 b/g/n5, Wi-Fi Direct 5, Ethernet 10/100
Hi-Speed USB
Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n wireless networking, 2.4 GHz)
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN, 2.4 GHz, IEEE 802.11b/g)
Memory Card Slot
PictBridge (USB) & Wireless PictBridge (Wireless LAN)
Hi-Speed USB (Cable not included)
USB Flash Memory
Blutooth
Operating system requirements macOS 10.11 or later
Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, macOS 10.11 or later
Windows 10 8/8.1/Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit)
Windows Vista (32-bit , 64-bit)
Mac OS X 10.6.8 — macOS 10.12.x6
Windows:20 Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 SP1, Mac:21
Mac OS X v10.10.5 - macOS v10.13 (High Sierra)
Mobile Operating Systems:22 iOS, Android, Windows 10 Mobile, and Fire OS (Amazon Fire) devices
Windows:12 Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows 7 SP1
Mac:13 Mac OS X v10.10.x - macOS v10.12 (Sierra)
Mobile Operating Systems:14 iOS, Androidâ„¢, Windows 10 Mobile, Amazon Fire devices15
Android, iOS
Scanner Yes (feed) No Yes (bed and feed) No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The HP Tango is a compact and aesthetic machine. It's a bit bigger than a loaf of bread, making it easy to store if desktop space is at a premium. The low price and variety of paper it can print on makes it attractive as well. However, our test revealed a machine that has a high long-term operating cost. More concerning, this printer had inconsistent results in the larger formats, and across the board in black and white.

Performance Comparison


Credit: Laura Casner

Likes


We always like to get more bang out of each buck spent, so we definitely like the affordability of this machine. We also like options. This machine prints in formats ranging from 3" x 5" to 8" x 14". Additionally, it will accommodate paper types from plain printer paper to glossy to matte and more.

Credit: Laura Casner

Another aspect of the Tango's design that we enjoyed was the ease of set-up. Some printers are a real pain to get up and running but not so with this model. Using the app was simple and quick. We were printing in no time.

Dislikes


Photo printers are all about printing photos. So, we were left scratching our heads when this machine pumped out wildly inconsistent results, particularly in resolution and toning. The cast of the black and white images varied from sepia to hints of magenta. Additionally, the colors were often over-saturated, particularly in blue.


Another concern is the long term cost of running this machine. We broke our estimates down to a price per 4" x 6" print, and the Tango came in quite high at 94 cents per photo. That'll add up pretty quick.

Value


While the up-front cost of the HP Tango is quite appealing, the machine does not follow through with prints of a consistent quality or long-term savings. As such, we can not say that this machine is a good value.

Conclusion


The HP Tango has a nice look, a competitive price point, and lots of printing options. However, we were frustrated with its wildly inconsistent outcomes. From over-saturated color prints to shifting color casts in grayscale, the machine was unpredictable. For the money, there are more reliable machines on the market.

Nick Miley, Jason Peters and Austin Palmer