I was so pleased to be chosen to be part of the Mumsnet HP Instant Ink ink replacement service along with a HP ENVY 5540 printer. We were asked to try the printer at home and we would be sent specific tasks to complete on all aspects of the printer including, set up, print quality, speed etc.
Task 1 was to unpack, set up and install the new printer. This was an easy task. I found that the printer was packaged very well with polystyrene to keep it safe in the box and all parts that come open were sealed with tape. This took a few minutes to find all of the bits of tape, luckily the Start Up Guide that is included in the box shows exactly where all of the tape is. I then installed the cartridges and loaded the paper.
Setting up the printer was just as easy using the Start Up Guide as a reference and within 15 minutes including registering the printer and HP Instant Ink online, the printer was fully functional and ready for use.
Task 2 was Print Quality. With HP Inkjet plain paper with ColorLok loaded into the printer I tested the print quality of the printer in Draft, Normal and Best quality.
First I had to print off a one page recipe in the default print mode.
Now I am not sure why but the printer would not print the full page, this may have been an error with the actual document.
Here it is;
My thoughts on this was the print quality was okay. The larger font at the top of the page was a little fuzzy though. But I could read it perfectly and it would not be a problem for the family for every day printing.
Next we had to print an 8 page document. I thought the quality was actually a bit better than the first and it printed quite quickly. The photos actually looked really good on these and the writing was very clear. I think for larger sized documents that require more than one page this is great and perfect for coursework or work documents.
The third test on quality was to print a photo using the same plain paper, using Best mode.
The photo I chose was one of my daughter and I think it came out great quality for being printed on plain paper and not photo paper. It was a little grainy but I think you get this whenever printing photos on to normal paper.
The next test was the Speed Test. For this experiment I needed a stopwatch or in my case my mobile phone and a scrap piece of paper to log down the timings.
With this test I needed to use the HP Advanced Photo Paper and to make sure the printer was in the correct printing mode for photo paper in the settings and then selecting Best or Highest Quality.
I used a document that was provided to me and printed the image in Best mode on the photo paper. Once this was set up I pressed print and started the stopwatch.
The A4 sized picture was very impressive, it looked like a real photo and it took just 1 minute and 44 seconds to print.
Ok so it is a bit slower than using plain paper on the highest quality but the results definitely out weight the speed when it comes to quality photo prints. I actually cannot wait until my baby is born now so I can print off loads of photos of him on his own and with his sisters. It will save a lot of time and cost with this printer.
It was time for the DRY SMUDGE TEST using the print mode of plain paper in normal quality mode. I was to print off a document provided and as soon as the paper comes out smear my finger over the page to see if the ink smudges.
I am pleased to say that it did not smudge at all, it was completely dry as a bone.
The WET SMUDGE TEST was next, using photo paper printing in high quality, I was to print off a specific image and once it had come out swipe over it with a damp piece of tissue paper.
Did the ink smudge? Yes it did, there was a small amount of red on the tissue paper after swiping it on the photo and you can definitely tell by the printed photo where the damp tissue paper was swiped.
The WATER TEST was similar to the Wet Smudge Test again printing on photo paper and on the highest quality.
This test was to test the water resistance of the ink and all we had to do was spill some water onto the page, like what happens when kids accidentally knock a drink over next to your photos. Then we had to dry it up with a paper towel. I used the same image that I used for the Wet Smudge Test.
Did the ink run or smudge? The ink did not run although it did smudge and the photo does show signs of water damage now.
I also tried this using plain paper and here are the results of that.
A lot worse, wrinkled soggy paper and lots of colour run and smudging, it did not look good at all.
THE FADE TEST was the longest of the tests. HP Original Ink and HP Advanced Photo Paper delivers 60+ years of light-fade resistance under glass so for this I printed off a specific image, again in highest quality, cover half the image with a piece of paper and leave the other side exposed to direct sunlight on the window sill and just leave it for a few weeks.
The results of that have not been completed as yet as we have not had much sunlight and it was recommended to leave it longer if no sun.
These were fun challenges and gave a great insight into HP, their ink and their paper.
But now you have seen the results of the tasks I will tell you what I think about everything.
The first thing I like is that the printer can be connected to your phone, which is fantastic as I do take a lot of photos on my phone of lots of different things. Now all I need to do is go to the photo I want printed on my phone and press print and it’s done. Very quick and easy and I have not known a printer to do that before.
I like the colour and style of the printer, it looks stylish and sleek in my dining room and matches the décor. The small screen on the printer is a touch screen too which makes things a lot easier as less buttons to press.
I really do like the Instant Ink function that works as soon as you put your first ink cartridges into the printer and so orders you new ink cartridges instantly when you are about to run out so you will never run out at that important moment which usually happens to me when I need to print an important document.
There are three tiers on the HP Instant Ink plan, the Occasional Printing which I think suits our family needs at the moment. It costs £1.99 per month and is for up to 50 pages per month, but you can also roll over up to 50 unused pages a month too. If you go over the 50 pages then you can get another additional 15 pages for just £1 extra.
This works out at £24 a year where as the average cost of selected OEM ink is £102 a year so you save £78 per year.
I was spending around £80 per year on ink cartridges before getting this printer and am now saving over £55 a year. In this day and age where the majority people are looking to save money rather than spending more this is great. I can put that money into something much needed for the home or family.
The Moderate Printing plan costs £3.49 per month and is for 100 pages a month and you can also roll over up to 100 pages. If you print more you can upgrade to an additional 20 pages for just £1. This costs £42 per year and the average cost of selected OEM ink is £204 so a great saving of £162 a year.
The third plan is Frequent Printing and costs £7.99 per month for up to 300 pages, you can roll over up to 300 unused pages and if you go over your 300 pages you can get an additional 25 pages for just £1. This plan costs £96 a year and the average cost of selected OEM ink works out at £612 a year so you would be saving approximately £516 a year on this plan.
You can easily check the ink levels by clicking the HP ENVY 5540 series HP Printer Assistant and clicking on Estimated Ink Levels. You can also use the printer assistant to update your printer, scan and diagnose any problems that may be happening and shopping for HP products.
You can even use just one ink cartridge if the other colour is empty or you remove one, the printer is smart, it understands and prints with just the ink cartridge that is installed.
I love HP products anyway but have not had a HP printer or realised how cheap the ink was for it up until now. It has definitely swayed my thinking and I with the Instant Ink being automatically ordered when I run low it saves me time and fuel going to a shop to purchase more ink and I will never run out half way through printing something again.
I would recommend HP as a brand and definitely the HP Instant Ink and HP Envy printer to anyone who asked me my opinions. I am so pleased with them.
Disclaimer: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.