Wednesday 16 July 2014

No fuss printing with HP Instant Ink

For the last couple of years it has been such a faff to try and print anything, we had an old printer and we could not get the drivers to download onto my new laptop, so I had to email things to a very old laptop and then plug the printer into the computer and say a prayer as I hoped the printing would actually arrive. Then quite often I'd find the ink was practically empty and no-one had told me. Fast forward about £50 for a couple of new cartridges and I might be able to print something. Boy did it all drive me crazy and things would sit in my email account for days waiting for me to muster the energy to sort the printer.

You don't know how happy I am to tell you that this has all changed in the last couple of weeks. HP asked me if I'd like to try out their new Instant Ink service. This is a pay monthly ink replacement service which means I never have to worry about going out and remembering to buy cartridges again as they get delivered direct to my door just about the time the existing one will run out. It is super clever and makes me super happy.

Take a peek at this very short video, it explains the service perfectly -

It is so easy, you buy a compatable HP printer, enrol online with HP Instant Ink and then just get on with your printing.

The prices are not too expensive either, they start from a very reasonable £1.99 per month to subscribe to the service. It does not matter if you print black and white or colour, your plan is for the pages printed rather than the ink used. Of course on one hand this is good but you need to be aware that if you print a sheet with just a couple of lines of black text, that is one of your 100 sheets gone for that month. This service is especially good for those people who like to print lots of photos and ink intensive pieces.

I also like the fact that you can roll over the unused pages from the last months usage and that the cost for going over your subscription is not too steep either (see above).

When you sign up for your plan it might be a guesstimate as to which service you need but the good news is that you are in charge and you can easily change it online. If you upgrade this will happen immediately or you can make it retrospect from the start of your last billing cycle and if you downgrade or cancel this will happen from the start of your next billing cycle.

My experience
When my HP Envy 5530 printer arrived I took a deep breath and was ready for it to be difficult to set up. Brilliant news, it was not at all. I plugged it in, turned it on and it guided me through the set up by the colour touch screen, I was very impressed.

I was not so impressed that when it printed off its test page it appeared to be missing the text that I assumed should be on there. I then tried to print something from Word and nothing appeared yet if I printed a colour photo that came out fine. It was quite strange and I googled and found a few other people with this problem too on a HP forum. The answer seemed to be to insert a different black ink cartridge but of course this is not what you want to have to do with a brand new printer. As I had been sent an Instant Ink starter kit I put the black Instant Ink cartridge in and then my printing from Word seemed to be fine.

Great, I thought, how easy is that? Until the next day when I went to print the invitations for my girls birthday party and the computer and printer kept advising me I was not enrolled in the HP Instant Ink service and thus could not use that cartridge. I enrolled online then and there and that in itself was not difficult but still that cartridge would not print for me.

I thus emailed HP support as my error message was advising me to do and waited, apparently the response should have come in 24 hours but for me it was nearer 48 hours. Of course this is not that long but when you are avidly waiting to print it feels like a lifetime. I can say that the HP customer representative I spoke to was excellent and he helped me to sort the problem. Basically that original ink cartridge was now miraculously working and we think the issue was that I had been sent an Instant Ink cartridge before I enrolled, this of course would never normally happen if you were not reviewing the service, so I was just unlucky.

Since my problem was rectified a week ago I have printed loads and been really happy with the printer, the quality of the printed documents (including photos) and the Instant Ink service. The HP customer representative arranged for another black ink cartridge to be sent to me so I do not have any further problems.

I also could not believe how easy it was to print remotely from my iPhone and my daughter also did from her android tablet. I think the HP Envy 5530 is a fabulous wireless printer for the cost of £89.95.

The HP Connected account is also good and I love the fact I can log in to my account and see how many pages I have printed and feel in control of my subscription, it also advises me what ink has been sent to me and when and with the Instant Ink pack I receive a pre-paid bag to send back my old cartridge for recycling.

Plus Points
  • Never run out of ink again as a new cartridge will arrive to your door before yours expires
  • Unused pages from the month previous will roll-over for you to use
  • You can change or cancel your subscription anytime
  • You don't get charged any more for being a heavy user of colour printing
  • Instant Ink cartridges have more ink in them and can print over 500 pages each
  • Handy recycling service to do your bit for the planet
  • You can buy your Instant Ink subscription from John Lewis, PC World or online with HP direct

I'm so happy I found out about this service and I'm pretty certain that once my year trial finishes I'll keep this going as one year on the  £3.49 per month plan (100 pages a month) only works out to £41.88 per year and this price isn't much different to buying one black and one colour cartridge in the year.

Disclosure: I received a printer and a years membership to the HP Instant Ink so that I could honestly write this review. I have not been instructed what to write.
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