The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 is a compact supertank printer. Thanks to its refillable ink tank design, you can get a high page yield with black and color ink before they need to be refilled. This printer also has an extremely low cost-per-print ratio for all ink. However, it takes a long time to print both black-text and color documents, which isn't ideal if you have a lot of pages that need processing. This printer also lacks a sheetfed scanner, which can make it fairly limited for work purposes. That being said, it has a low running cost and its simple features should be enough for casual use.
The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 is good as a family printer. This printer can help you save valuable family photos, whether you're printing them off to put in a frame or scanning to put online. However, the photo printing quality is okay and in some places, the photo may look a little grainy. Still, you can easily save film photos or other fragile items with their flatbed scanner, which is nice. The cost-per-print ratio of this printer is also exceptionally low for both black and color ink, making it an affordable choice for long-term use.
The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 is disappointing for home office use. This printer can print off a lot of pages with its black ink tank at an affordable rate. The color ink tanks also perform exceptionally, so you can print off a lot of color flyers or reports before needing to refill them. On the downside, printing black-text documents takes a long time to complete, especially if you have a lot of pages. The output tray also only holds 35 pages so if you're printing off multi-page documents, you need to remove them to continue printing. This printer also doesn't have a sheetfed scanner, and more ordinary tasks like processing double-sided forms can take longer to process. It also lacks an integrated fax feature.
The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 is very good for student use. It's very affordable to print off essays and assignments with this printer and it can yield a lot of pages before the tanks need to be refilled. However, it takes its time to print black-text documents, which isn't ideal if you're already late for class. Some students may also find the flatbed scanner limiting as the lid's hinges can't extend to support larger items like books.
The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 is okay for black and white printing. While it can print off a lot of black-text documents before its tank needs to be refilled, it's very slow to print off these documents. Still, its cost-per-print is exceptionally low, which is nice if you're always printing documents out.
The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 is decent for casual photos. When using photo paper, its photo printing quality is okay. Some parts of your image can look a bit grainy, and there's also banding and color present in gray areas. It's quite affordable to print photos, though, as it has a very low cost-per-print. If you're printing photos on plain white paper, it also has surprisingly great color accuracy.
The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 has a mediocre design. It has a sturdy plastic build with visible ink level windows, so you can see how much ink you have left as you print. This printer also has removable printheads that can be replaced if damaged or clogged, which can extend the lifespan of your printer. If you need to remove the printheads or you're dealing with a paper jam, the front display opens so you can easily reach them. However, when you open this display, there isn't a lot of room for your fingers around the printheads, which can be a pain if you need to replace them or remove paper jams. There's no rear access for paper jams, though, and you won't be able to scan larger items with its flatbed either, as its lid hinges can't extend to accommodate them.
The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 is a lightweight and compact supertank printer. It isn't very tall and shouldn't take up too much room on your office or dorm desk.
The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 has a bad display screen. It uses a very limited display, which can't show anything other than individual ink levels and an exclamation mark if something is wrong. The light on top of the screen will also blink red if there's a problem. There are also seven physical buttons located around the screen. Unfortunately, the screen can't tilt or swivel for better viewing angles. However, it's still easy to see whether you're seated or standing and even if you're looking at it from the side, you can still see the screen.
The Smart Tank Plus 551 has an excellent supertank system. It uses four ink tanks that you refill yourself and it yields an incredibly high amount of both black and color pages before any of the tanks need to be refilled again. It also has removable ink heads that can be replaced if damaged or clogged, which can extend the lifespan of your printer.
While it's technically possible to fill the supertank with any third-party ink, we didn't try it and don't recommend doing so as low-quality ink could damage the print heads and you may need to replace them. Using third-party ink could also void your warranty.
The HP Smart Tank Plus 551's scanning features are mediocre. It only has a flatbed scanner if you have a lot of pages to scan, each page needs to be done one by one. This printer also lacks a fax feature. If you need an Automatic Document Feeder to scan large projects, check out the Epson EcoTank ET-4700.
The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 has an exceptional cost-per-print ratio. Black, color, and photo printing are extremely cost-effective. However, each of the bottles can only be purchased separately as HP doesn't offer any combo packs at the moment.
The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 has a poor printing speed. It takes a while to print off the first page of a black-text document and subsequent pages aren't that much quicker. Color documents are incredibly slow, too, which can be a pain if you're trying to print out slides for class. This printer also takes over a minute to fully finish printing 4" x 6" photos.
Update 16/06/2020: With the 0.8.1 test bench update, this printer's color accuracy score has increased.
This printer has great color accuracy. While it should be more than enough for home use, it still may not be the best choice for those who need more accurate color reproduction from their printer.
The Smart Tank Plus 551's photo printing quality is okay. The colors are well-defined and greens especially have a nice tone to them. However, there's banding and color present on the grayscale and some areas of the photo are slightly grainy.
These results are based on the actual physical photo, not the scanned image provided for reference above, which may not be representative of the printer's photo print quality.
The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 can support most paper sizes and its rear input tray has a width slider.
The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 has alright connectivity features. You can wirelessly connect to it by using Wi-Fi via your router or by using Wi-Fi Direct. You can also print, copy, and scan things directly from your mobile phone if you have Apple AirPrint or Mopria Print Service. On the downside, there's no Bluetooth support, and you can't use an ethernet cable or print directly from an external storage device like a USB key.
The HP Smart app is decent. You can print, copy, and scan directly from the app and you can even scan documents using your phone's camera. There's also a mobile fax feature so that you can send documents or images from your phone.
The Epson EcoTank ET-4700 is a slightly better printer than the HP Smart Tank Plus 551. They both have excellent cost-per-prints and high yields for black and color documents like most supertanks. The Epson has a better display screen and the scanner has an Automatic Document Feeder.