Ten years ago, a former work colleague who was ridiculously tech savvy said to me that he didn’t own a home printer. Why? Because he simply didn’t need to print anymore. It was a functionality that his digital day-to-day no longer required.
That’s stuck with me over the years. And I’ve thought about it many times as I’ve watched much of the world around me go paperless.
I’ve tried to drink the Kool-Aid.
Believe me, I have.
And I’ve made some progress.
But essentially, I’m still at home with paper.
There, I’ve said it.
I’m suddenly feeling freakishly analog.
Is everyone staring at me?
Looking for Less to Find More
Perhaps, I should be kinder to myself. If Barrett wants a little printer in his home office to feed his paper habit, what’s the problem?
Well, they don’t make “little printers” anymore.
No, they make multifunction/all-in-one monstrosities.
(I exaggerate only slightly.)
Most printers can do it all… copy/print/scan/fax. Some specialize in certain areas like printing out higher-quality photos. But most share one quality… they’re big.
I want small.
If you’re like me, you don’t have a lot of extra space in your home office. So, the goal is always to find compact tech solutions, especially as working from home has taken on a more permanent status of late.
So, when my old one-trick-pony Canon Pixma printer started misbehaving, my search for an equally small replacement was on!
The Tango is my New Dance
There’s not really a lot of choice out there for a simple printer in a tight space. It so often feels like a complex dance to find your ‘perfect’ tech solution. That said, I think I found my partner with the HP Tango.
The HP Tango costs $149.99, which is not the cheapest printer out there, but it’s got the small footprint I wanted and also has a few innovative tricks up its sleeve that I like.
- You can print directly from your smartphone using the HP Smart app.
(Printing from your computer is also a snap.)
- You can save money on ink using HP’s Instant Ink Program.
- Though not a scanner, you can scan docs via your smartphone.
- Printing photos via your smartphone is free!
(You still pay for the photo paper.)
Easy Set Up
Bringing my new HP Tango into the Lester ecosystem took about ten minutes.
- I downloaded the HP Smart app from the App Store on my iPhone.
- Then, my iPhone did the work to get my wireless Tango up and running.
- I created my HP account.
- I signed up for HP’s Instant Ink program with two free months (more on this in a moment).
The HP Tango is definitely not designed to look like your old, clunky printer. It sports cool undercarriage LED lighting that’s reminiscent of a Cylon’s head from “Battlestar Galactica.” Fortunately, it’s a friendlier effect here.
Overall, the Tango strives to give you that elegant Apple-like experience. I think it says a lot that the Apple Store sells the Tango X (a more expensive model).
HP Instant Ink Program
HP has reinvented how you buy printer ink with its Instant Ink program.
Here’s the deal: You no longer buy ink cartridges when you run out of ink. Instead, you pay HP for each page you print. Since the Tango is Wi-Fi connected, HP knows every time the Tango prints a page or photo.
The Instant Ink program offers you:
- 50 pages/month for $2.99/month
- 100 pages/month for $4.99/month
- 300 pages/month for $9.99/month
When your Tango needs more ink, HP automatically mails you more cartridges.
I signed up for the $4.99/month plan. No, I don’t think I’ll really be printing out 100 pages monthly, but I also don’t want to feel like I’m rationing paper in the fear that I’ll go over my limit.
Plus, there’s always that amount of inevitable paper waste where an extra page or two gets printed out with a couple periods or dashes. Yes, those are pages that HP counts too. I imagine you might feel that HP is nickel and diming you when they charge for a page with a dot on it. But a page is a page. That’s the deal.
A Tango’s replacement HPXL 64 ink cartridge costs more than forty bucks. If you replace both the color and black cartridges only once a year, that’s going to set you back $88.
My plan costs less than $60/year. So this program looks like a good deal to me.
Tango is Music to my Ears
I went looking for a boring solution to maintain my legacy connection to paper. Instead, I found a small and smart printer that actually upgraded my home-office experience and spits out photos from my iPhone for free!
I’m happy to report that I’m entirely enjoying my dance with my HP Tango.