Never run out of ink again – The HP Envy 5540 Wireless printer with instant ink is ideal and cost effective for family and small home office use
The paperless office was a dream at one point, but one that seems to have fallen away; there are some things for which paper is irreplaceable. It never runs out of batteries, for one thing. I also find that editing writing is much easier using paper and pen than on-screen; there’s just something tangible and tactile about having a sheet in front of you that makes it more immediate and easier to read something critically. Also, as a keen cook, it’s far more workable to print off a recipe and pin it at eye level in the kitchen rather than try to read it from a computer that’s going to sleep every few minutes because I’ve forgotten to change the settings and has to be woken up without touching it because my hands are covered in flour.
The downside of printing is, of course, ink. I’m sure everybody had done the toner-cartridge-cocktail-shake to eke out those last few dregs when there aren’t any spare cartridges left in the cupboard, or suffered from the “HOW much!” shock when buying them for home use, or the “angle the page to the light and squint a bit” because it’s come out in shades of grey.
Never running out of ink does sound a little like a perpetual motion machine, but it’s a service, called Instant Ink offered by HP with their new range of printers. There are three different schemes, depending on how much printing you do: £1.99 a month for 50 pages, £3.49 for 100 pages and £7.99 for 300 pages. The really neat bit is that rather than just receiving new inkjet cartridges on a preset, regular basis, the internet-enabled printer orders the ink itself when running low. (Which, admittedly, does sound all a bit 1st stage to Terminator, the computers are taking over the world and Skynet is on the way, but like all these things in a big-data world, it is awfully handy). To learn more click the infographic above to enlarge it.
With the average home user printing just 43 pages a month the prices do sound very competitive, with the added bonus that you never have to worry about running out, or think about buying ink again. There is no contract so you are free to change and cancel at any time, and very ink delivery comes with a pre paid envelope so your empty cartridges can be recycled.
We also thought that the quality of printing was very excellent. Even faced with an onslaught of molasses, oil and flour when making the our favourite Easy Ginger Cake the colours didn’t run and the page remained easy to read. This is definitely an advantage for when Ed in the kitchen, as he’s far the messier of the two of us.
Quality is first class when printing photos, excellent when using paper designed for colour printing, and pretty good on standard, budget priced paper.
Although we did find that buying an extra-long cable for our existing printer was a revelation, freeing us up to tuck it away in a corner, it’s not as quick and simple to use as a wireless printer. The HP Envy 5540 is WiFi enabled printer/scanner, so it can sit quietly in the corner or on the desk until needed. And as a WiFi printer, it has another few tricks up its sleeve, such as printing from our tablets or phones, and the Printables service.
Printables is a range of content that can bet set up to print automatically on a regular basis. It’s a sort of printed version of a podcast. So, for example, a daily crossword, or Sudoku, or picture for colouring in, or a daily recipe from an app or one of the Printables sources. We found it straightforward to set up and use, delivering a daily recipe from a number of sources on the Printables page on the HP website.
There are other interesting pages available too: adult colouring pages (and my favourite mazes) for some relaxing mindfulness time, or activities for children; including colouring sheets, origami, and Disney activity sheets. It would be handy to have a daily activity sheet ready and waiting in the printer for when the children come down in the morning, leaving parents with a priceless extra ten minutes in bed.
Like most modern households, we can’t seem to get away without a printer, so it’s worth having one that works well, and the HP Envy 5540 is exactly that. It can fulfil any home printing/scanning need we can think of, and we really like the way that running out of ink is a thing of the past.
The HP Envy 5540 currently on sale at around £60. Instant Ink subscriptions start at £1.99 per month for 50 pages.
Detailed review & photography commissioned by HP, who also sent a printer. All opinions our own.