HP Smart Tank 5101 All-in-One Printer Review

The HP Smart Tank 5101 All-in-One Printer (INR 22,999) competes with the recently reviewed Canon Pixma G3270, both of which offer the same main draw: low operating costs. If you print enough pages with either printer, you can save enough money on ink to more than cover the high initial cost, compared to printers with similar features but more expensive ink. On the basis of pure ink economics, the Smart Tank 5101 is well worth considering for homes and home offices that go through sufficient paper usage to make that a compelling argument.

Two years of Ink

The Smart Tank 5101, like the G3270, is a three-function AIO (for printing, scanning, as well as copying). Physical setup for the 5101 is simple and detailed in the included setup guide. It only weighs 11.1 pounds and is small enough to fit on your desk, measuring 6.2 by 17.1 by 14.2 inches (HWD) with the trays closed.

Driver installation is also simple, but if you want to connect via USB cable, you must look beyond the setup guide (which only covers Wi-Fi connections) for instructions. They’re buried online in a downloadable user guide that HP fails to mention in the setup guide.

However, if you know how, USB setup is simple. Simply download the HP Smart app to your computer (as described in the setup guide, as it is also required for Wi-Fi-based setup and printing) and connect the cable. When you know how, mobile printing via Wi-Fi Direct is similarly simple to set up, with links to the instructions hidden in the user guide.

Manual Duplexing and low cost per page

It’s best to keep the printer in easy reach, no matter how you connect to it. If you print frequently enough to benefit from the low cost per page, you’ll have to reload the single 100-sheet input tray frequently. You’ll also have to change out the paper whenever you need to switch from one type or size to another. Support for up to legal-size paper as well as manual duplexing (two-sided printing) elevates the 5101’s paper handling above what we would expect from an entry-level AIO. With manual duplexing, the machine prints one side of each sheet of a document, waits for you to reinsert the stack, and then prints the other side of each sheet, automatically rearranging the pages. 

The driver also displays an illustration of how to flip the stack on your PC screen, but the arrows can be confusing. Try this feature with only two sheets at first to learn how to use it correctly.

Paper Handling

Paper handling is strictly entry-level, with only a letter-size flatbed available for scanning. That means you can’t scan a full legal-size page and must manually place each page on the scanner, which can be a time-consuming task if you need to scan a lot of multipage documents.

Although the 5101 lacks built-in faxing capabilities, the HP Smart app includes an online fax feature, so if you download the iOS or Android version, it can use your device’s camera to capture and fax documents without the use of a scanner. (You can also fax documents scanned with the Smart Tank 5101 with it.) Outgoing faxes are currently free, and no credit card or other payment information is required, though HP says it plans to charge for the service in the future.

As previously stated, low operating costs are high on the list of reasons to consider the Smart Tank 5101. The printer comes with enough ink for a two-year supply, according to HP, though how long it lasts is going to depend on how much you print. The rated yield for a full set of bottles with black, magenta, cyan, and yellow inks is 6,000 mono text pages and 8,000 standard colour pages, though with any tank printer, you should expect a slightly lower yield for the first set of bottles. When purchasing more, the cost per page is 0.3 cent per mono text page and 0.9 cent per standard colour page.


We compared the 5101’s performance to that of the Canon G3270, as well as two printers that cost the same or less but have higher operating costs: the HP OfficeJet Pro 8035e and the Brother MFC-J4335DW. On almost all of our individual tests, the 5101 and G3270 performed worse than either of the other models. The two were essentially tied for our entire business-application suite, but the 5101 was slightly faster for the 12-page Microsoft Word text file and slightly slower for the rest of the suite.

Output Quality

The 5101’s output quality was satisfactory for an entry-level inkjet. The text was a suitably dark black, which makes small fonts easier to read in particular. At 4 points, all but one of the fonts in our test suite which you’d likely use in a business document were readable, though a loupe revealed ragged edges. Even at 12 points, two heavily stylized fonts with thick strokes came close to filling in loops, but one was readable, if not well-formed, at 8 points. At 12 points, the other was readable.

Graphics printed on plain paper with the default settings produced reasonably saturated colour. I noticed some subtle banding in solid fills, but it was only a minor issue. On the plus side, thin lines—including one pixel wide against a black background were easily visible, crisp, and solid. Photos printed on the suggested HP Premium Plus Photo Paper at the default setting were of solid drugstore quality overall, with some colours slightly oversaturated. 


If the Smart Tank 5101 fits your budget, but you want more than entry-level print and scan capability and are willing to trade a higher running cost for it, consider the HP 8035e or Brother MFC-J4335DW instead. Both the 5101 and G3270 add faster printing, larger paper capacities, auto print duplexing, as well as an ADF for scanning multipage documents when compared to the 5101 and G3270. The 8035e has a larger tray, whereas the MFC-J4335DW has a lower cost per page, a faster print speed overall, and an additional one-page bypass tray.

GoWarranty provides extended warranty and repair services, so your appliances or devices keeps delivering the best performance and you can focus on what is important for you. We cover all electronic products and our protection plans are widely available across electronics stores and online marketplaces.

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