Sunday 3 July 2016

HP Envy 5540 Printer - Easy as 1,2,3

For those of you short on time, here are the top 10 reasons why I love the HP Envy 5540 printer:

1.      There are all the functions I need in one printer - WI-FI printing from computers, phones and tablets, scanning, copying and even sending a fax
2.      It looks stylish on my desk, albeit a little big
3.      It was super easy to set up, taking under 10 minutes in total
4.      Fantastic initial price, you get a lot for just £69.99 and actually I see it is just £59.99 at PC World right now
5.      You get three months free trial of Instant Ink to start you off, so the purchase price is all you need to pay up front
6.      It is Instant Ink comparable, meaning I pay just £3.49 per month to print up to 100 full colour A4 pages each month
7.      As it is connected to the Internet, it communicates with the Instant Ink service to order my ink replacement cartridges in plenty of time before I need them
8.      You can load small photo paper (6x4) into a separate drawer making it really easy to print decent quality photos
9.      The touch screen on the printer is very responsive and intuitive to use
10.    Most importantly the print quality is superb, especially in colour

And in case you are not sure, yes I would highly recommend it!

Then for Those of you with more time here is a fuller write up -

About a month ago I received the HP Envy 5540 all-in-one printer and myself and the kids have been merrily putting it through its paces since. We've been users of its forerunner, the HP Envy 5530 and the associated Instant Ink service for around two years now and I've always been happy, I suppose the fact that I pay each month is testament to that.

I have to admit that whilst I've been generally very happy with the old Envy 5530 that we've been using, you'll see from my original review that I didn't have the easiest time setting up the Instant Ink service (I think it was down to the fact I was reviewing it and it wasn't set up quite right for me to do that) and also after about a year I lost the WI-FI connection between my laptop and the printer and had to move to using a connection cable. Neither of these things put me off though as the Instant Ink error was sorted very quickly and allowed me to see first-hand just how efficient the HP support was and the WI-FI problem, well it could be my laptop, as I could still print remotely via any of the tablets we have.

Setting it Up 
I have to admit I wasn't super excited to set up a new printer as my head just says 'faff' but how wrong I was. Unboxing the printer is very easy, there is blue tape in many places making sure the printer stays in the best condition during transit and it took just moments to pull it off and then plug it in ready for use.

Installing the ink cartridges was intuitive and I think easier in this model than in older HP printers I've used. There are even animations you can watch on the screen to show you how to install the cartridges and put the paper in too Again I felt the paper installation was very simple and intuitive. Once it was loaded up it printed an alignment sheet and prompted me to place it on the scanner glass. It guided me though what to do on the small screen and at no point was I wondering what came next.

Install and Connect 
The instructions for setting up the Envy 5540 and the Instant Ink service are labelled as 1,2,3 and it really is that easy. Step 1 is the preparation (or set-up) as I detail above. Step 2 is connect and you need to be online and visit from either a computer or mobile device. I really was astounded with how simple it was to get the drivers installed and to be fully ready to print. At this point I also connected the printer to my WI-FI network and again not a problem, it found it straight away and connected.

Activate the Instant Ink Service
Step 3 is then activate and with your new printer you receive a black and a colour cartridge so you can get printing straight away and you also have a 3 month free trial for the Instant Ink service. I already have a HP connected account as I mentioned I've been an Instant Ink user for a couple of years now but I needed to delete my old printer and add my new one to activate this new service. Again I found it all very simple and the only time I felt a little lost was when it asked me to input my IP address on the connected account but I soon realised you can easily find this on the printer screen by touching the wireless symbol.

Cost effective Printing
We've had a good play with the printer, printing off photos on specialist paper, making the girls birthday invitations, creating posters and printing traditional black and white documents. I can honestly say it is a far superior print quality to the Envy 5530 that I had before, it might just have been that printer was getting old but this new 5540 is seriously impressive, especially when you consider the low initial cost.

I don't think I had ever before realised what a difference paper makes too. Of course I knew you had to use specialist paper if you wanted photo quality prints but I thought all 70gsm regular white copier paper was the same. I was wrong. By coincidence I bought a ream of HP paper last time and it has been so much better and then with this printer I received a small ream of 120gsm colour copying paper and this one creates divine quality printed pages.

I think you know the mark of a good printer when your eight year old daughter asks to do some printing and has never been shown what to do and she manages to print it correctly the first time of trying. I just have to keep an eye on my HP connected account to view the amount of printing we have done in the month, as I don't really want to go over my 100 page plan. I could upgrade to the next plan if I wanted more and that would cost £7.99 per month for 300 pages, which of course is great if you are a high user but 100 should be more than enough for my family. There is also the small buffer that we can have an additional 20 pages for just £1 if need be and for the months when we have low useage my pages roll over to the next month too. Payment is taken from my credit card automatically each month and that keeps things simple.

Twelve months Instant Ink on the middle plan with 100 pages a month adds up to £41.88 in ink cost for the year and I know I paid out far more than this per year before we used Instant Ink.

In conclusion I am really happy with the HP Envy 5540 printer and I would definitely recommend it as a good home printer, especially when used with the cost efficient Instant Ink service.

Disclosure: I was sent this printer free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

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