HP finally has a cheap refillable ink printer

HP Smart Tank 5105
Pictured: HP Smart Tank 5105
// HP hedges against its Instant Ink subscription
Fergus Halliday
Jul 20, 2023
bullet2 min read

Published on July 19, 2023

Bring-your-own-ink printers like HP's new Smart Tank 5105 are far from the most popular choice among Australians, but the company are betting that a more affordable model might have what it takes to change that.

At $399, the new Smart Tank 5105 isn't really an impulse purchase but it's a lot cheaper than the $539 price tag attached to the next model up. It might not be the first ink tank printer nor the first one made by HP, but it is the closest thing that the company has to an entry-level model. Essentially: if your curiosity about continuous ink tank printers typically expires the moment you see the price tag, this one might be for you.

While the Smart Tank 5105 doesn't include all the bells, whistles and support for double-sided printing that its more expensive counterparts do, it does have a fair few of them.

Out of the box, the Smart Tank 5105 has enough ink in the tank for around 6000 pages. Once you've set it up using the HP Smart app (available on iOS and Android), it's able to print, scan, copy and fax documents as needed. It's also able to self-heal its WiFi connection if it drops off the network during or between usage.

HP senior director for printing system ANZ Neil Westhof said that the new model was developed in response to growing demand from those families and individuals who sought a more intelligent and more eco-friendly way to meet their home printing needs.

“With the addition of the HP Smart Tank 5000 series, people who print a lot at home have access to a range of high quality, reliable  and sustainable printing solutions, tailored for their exact needs," he said.

While HP first moved into the ink tank space around seven years ago, its previous products have been firmly aimed at the higher end of the market that are willing to spend more up-front to extract the long-term value that continuous ink supply system printers like the Smart Tank 5105 present.

Rather than selling a traditional cheap printer that makes its money back on expensive cartridges or its Instant Ink subscription service, HP is looking to make more money upfront from customers who are willing to pay extra for the opportunity to save money by buying ink in bulk.

Despite that appeal to the cost-conscious, HP claims that ink tank printers represent a relatively small slice of the Australian market. Nevertheless, with an expanding roster of continuous ink supply system printers aimed at consumers, the company seems confident that the segment has room to grow.

Of course, HP is hardly the only brand playing in the BYO ink printer niche nowadays. In 2022, IDC data suggested that Epson was responsible for 65% of ink tank printer sales in the Australian market.

Asked why the discerning ink tank buyer would opt for this over the competition, Fermaner spoke about brand power.

 “90% of the customers still want that traditional printer, but it's growing and we want to make sure our customers can choose HP," HP ANZ print category manager Ben Fermaner said.

The bet here is that in addition to there being increased demand for the value that ink tank printers provide, there's also an audience for a version of that product that meets the level of quality and consistency that HP is known for.

The HP Smart Tank 5105 is available this week through Officeworks and will arrive in other retailer channels later down the line.

Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday
Fergus Halliday is a journalist and editor for Reviews.org. He’s written about technology, telecommunications, gaming and more for over a decade. He got his start writing in high school and began his full-time career as the Editor of PC World Australia. Fergus has made the MCV 30 Under 30 list, been a finalist for seven categories at the IT Journalism Awards and won Most Controversial Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards. He has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, GamesHub, Press Start, Screen Rant, Superjump, Nestegg and more.

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