HP Envy 5540 with Instant Ink - Review

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We've been without a printer for a little while now so the opportunity to review the HP Envy 5540 couldn't have come at a better time, both for the day to day printing we need to do around the house and the requirements of Bud's weekly homework. The HP Envy 5540 works with HP's Instant Ink service which offers the ability to get ink delivered to your door on a monthly basis - removing the 'oh no, we've run out of ink' cries from your home.

We've been set a few challenges for our use of the printer and the first week was to set it up. This is a simple process that most printer owners will be familiar with and the helpful Envy display talks you through each stage from fresh out of the box to functioning printer. You'll need your computer or a smart device to complete set up and to register for the Instant Ink service too. I'd say the whole process took around fifteen minutes from start to finish and that included downloading drivers and signing up for Instant Ink.

HP Envy 5540 with Instant Ink - Review

The Instant Ink service was new to me and I was really keen to try it. We always run out of ink and end up on a mad dash to the shop to replace it in order to print that important document.The idea of having a supply sent straight to my door was very appealing! There are three levels of the scheme available and we went for the middle one. You can top up on this should you have a big printing month and you can have a free trial for the first three months. There are no annual fees and you can cancel at any time. Should you find yourself printing more or less than your scheme offers it is a simple process to switch to one of the others.

HP Envy 5540 with Instant Ink - Review

Something I was really surprised by on the HP Envy 5540 print menus was the option for printables. This is a really clever little facility which allows you to access HP's range of pro forma and printables. Bud loves paper planes so I was quick to print off the most recent of those, should I wish to I can schedule prints of each update as it arrives. We're looking forward to fully investigating the wide range available.

In the second week we were asked to look at quality. We had started to print by then and the printer was in daily use. Our printer was supplied with a pack of HP ColourLok paper (the recommended A4 plain paper for our printer) and, once the tray was loaded we were ready to go. There are three modes of print available - Draft, Normal and Best. Draft is great for those quick prints like when you need some instructions that you'll recycle quickly. We've been using Normal and Best the most but Draft worked very well when I needed some directions to an event and didn't want to waste my phone batteries by using the sat nav on there!

We had various example documents sent across to us and these were a great way to see the printer in action. The first thing I printed out was the documentation for our holiday in The Netherlands later this month. I was really pleased with the clarity of printing. Printing out the accommodation voucher, with very little colour on it, took only a few seconds. The holiday site brochure took a little longer but this was a high colour, more detailed document. I was able to print this on two sides to save on paper and it was interesting to see the ink drying stage before the sheet of A4 was fed back in to be printed on the other side. This was slower than single sided but is a great way to save paper.

HP Envy 5540 with Instant Ink - Review

The next stage was to print out some photos. I take hundreds of photos and never print any. I've been meaning to print some photos for a spare frame we have so I was looking forward to using the HP Envy for this. Photos were bright and sharp when printed on the HP Advanced Photo Paper. These are easily of a high enough standard to send to friends or to fill frames. I have a print facility on my phone which allows me to print direct to any HP printer on my network. I was so surprised at how effective this was! I had photos in just a minute with no laptop required.

HP Envy 5540 with Instant Ink - Review

HP asked us to test a print by smudging it using fingers or a few drops of water. I'm very happy to say that the prints passed with flying colours and both my finger tips and the cloth I used with the water saw no ink transfer. The fade test has been more difficult to carry out under the gloomy skies we had that week but I put one print out in the glorious sunshine we had today and the colours are vibrant and clear.

The next week's challenge was product design and cost savings. This printer is a very stylish creation and more importantly, it's really easy to use. The touch screen menus are intuitive and simple to navigate and you can get where you need to in just a few seconds. Need to see how much ink you have left? Just two presses will get you to a clear display.

HP Envy 5540 with Instant Ink - Review Ink Display

Having the pre-installed app and ability to print from my phone is amazing. I was rushing out of the door on the school run and remembered I needed to print off a contact details form. I quickly printed the PDF from my phone while I was rushing the children into coats and shoes and it was ready for me to grab as we ran out of the door

The Instant Ink service means that we're always going to have a direct supply of ink to our door. It's the correct ink for our printer which means that we're always going to get the best results possible. The scheme offers a significant saving on buying ink on an ad hoc basis and if you have little ones who like to print you're not watching the pennies as you might be with other systems. Knowing that you are paying £3:49 per month for ink is much better than the shock of running to the shops to buy a replacement cartridge.

The final week asked us to look at convenience and our overall thoughts. I've owned a lot of printers over the past twenty or so years and I can honestly say that the HP Envy 5540 is the best. I'm delighted with the quality of the prints and the Instant Ink scheme. For a busy family like ours, where printer ink might not make it to the shopping list as often as it should, hearing that brown box drop on to the mat each month is going to be fantastic. No more 'no, Bud, you can't print that' and having to nip up to the in laws to print off those important documents for us. I'm really satisfied with everthing about the printer and it's clear that a great deal of thought has gone into the whole process. I've never been able to print from my phone before and I think that the novelty of that will take some time to wear off!

HP Envy 5540 with Instant Ink - Review

The HP Envy 5540 has an RRP of £69:99 and I think that is excellent value for money. So often we buy a printer at a bargain price and then the running costs are prohibitively expensive. Knowing that I'm only going to pay £48 a year for ink and budgeting this at a really negligible amount per month is fantastic. We would wholeheartedly recommend the printer to any family with similar printing needs to ours.

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers 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. -