We were recently asked if we’d like to review the new HP Instant Ink service, which was great timing due to the fact that our current printer had all but given up a few weeks ago. We’re one of those families who seem to always need something printing out for one reason or another, and emailing them to Ghostwriterdaddy to do at the office has become quite old very quickly! Sometimes I want to run off a quick form for work, or some resources for the little ones etc, and it’s so annoying when I can’t do that! We were sent a wonderful brand spanking new HP ENVY 5540 printer, which comes ready with ink, along with a pre-paid card for the Instant Ink service, and plenty of paper so that we could get started straight away. This is what we thought.
What is Instant Ink?
Quite simply, Instant Ink means that you never need to run out of ink again. You know how it is. Your eldest has a homework project due in the next morning, you go to print it and… no ink. Or enough to just do half, badly. Argh! Instant Ink means that this problem is eradicated and I for one think it’s brilliant. I’ve already had chance to test it out too, so this is what happens. You sign up to the program and choose a package based on how much printing you do in an average month. You pay monthly for your package so that you’re always in credit, and you can do this on the pre-paid card we were sent. Then you print as normal, and when your ink is starting to run low your printer alerts your account and your ink is sent out to you. Clever huh? So you actually will never run out of ink again!
Testing the service
We were set some tasks to complete, to give you a better picture of the printer and the Instant Ink service.
First up, we were asked to document our thoughts on unpacking and setting up the printer. Now normally I get Ghostwriterdaddy to do this part, because, well, quite frankly I don’t have a lot of patience with the setting up of technology! But he was working and I am inpatient so off we went. I have to say it was all very self explanatory and easy to follow. So much so I was really rather amazed when I managed to successfully print out the tester page! It took me longer to register onto the Instant Ink program than it did to set up the printer. As long as you have your laptop/ macbook/ tablet close by the printer, it really does the work itself.
The first thing I did was to pounce on the A5 photo paper that the printer came with and print some photos- mainly because I wanted to see if the quality would really be as good as was promised. I wasn’t disappointed, but I was surprised to find that the next day an email came through to tell me new ink was on the way! So now I know- printing photos takes up a lot of ink, and the Instant Ink service really does work like it says it does!
We were asked next to look at printing quality. There are three different modes on the printer, which is really handy. You can use ‘draft’, ‘normal’ and ‘best’- for things such as printing maps that will be used once, documents such as colouring sheets and homework etc, and the latter for photos.
I love this feature and have to say that the differences between them when printing documents were not that noticeable. The draft will use less ink (but still be counted as a page when it comes to your Instant Ink usage) and the best will be of highest quality, which is why my photos have come out so well. Timing wise, the draft setting prints fastest, but to be honest the normal setting is very fast too. Best is slightly longer, as you would expect but still an A5 photo can be printed in 57 seconds which I thought was pretty impressive. An A4 photo takes 2 minutes 40 seconds to print. We also carried out smudge testing- dry, damp and wet! Even with water on the page, there was very little smudging which was really impressive too.
Next we were asked to think about product design and savings. I have to say that the HP Envy 5540 is a big printer. Its also quite bulky, but that doesn’t mean it’s heavy. It’s easy to move from room to room, and since my ‘office’ is really a corner in my living room that’s essential for us! As far as aesthetically pleasing, I’m not sure you could say it is, but it’s not an eyesore either. It actually tucks quite neatly under my daughter’s desk when we’re not using it, and when we are, we either take my macbook up to her room and print (especially if its just a quick document that needs printing), or we bring it downstairs. Wherever it is, all it really needs is a plug and it’s away. And that is an excellent advantage!
At the moment it’s hard for me to comment on how much money we’re saving using the Instant Ink service. Previously, we were spending around £15 per month on ink, and actually only printing half of what we wanted to print due to the cost. With Instant Ink, we’re spending a fraction of that (£3.49 per month) and we have the added bonus of never running out too. We can also roll over up to 100 unused pages on the scheme too, so if we print less we don’t lose out. As we’re only in our second month, I have to say that so far so good!
Lastly, we were asked to give our overall impressions of the HP Envy 5540 and the Instant Ink service. I’ve added them into bullet points below.
What we love
- Easy to set up
- Easy to use
- Touch screen controls, connects to WIFI
- Options to download and print colouring pages
- Photo quality is very high
- Instant Ink service means ink arrives promptly before you run out
- Easy to move room to room
- Potential to save ££
- Different printing options allows you to feel you aren’t ‘wasting ink’ when you print one off documents
- Fast and efficient
- Able to turn on and print immediately
- We now have photos printed!!
What we’re not so keen on
- Installing the photo paper was tricky at first
- Printing photos uses a lot of ink
- Can be difficult to predict how much printing you expect to do each month (need to do this to sign up to different packages)
- Printer is on the large side
I have to say that the HP Envy 5540 and the Instant Ink service has really made things a lot easier for us as a family. I’m now able to print off resources for the little ones without worrying about using up the last of the ink, and- most importantly- we are now printing off around 5 years worth of digital photos! We’re that family who never made it to Boots to print photos so having the printer has really been wonderful. And the quality is amazing- you wouldn’t think they’d been printed at home.
I think the Instant Ink service is a great idea and while some may not like to feel ‘tied in’ to a plan like this, I personally think it’s great. For busy families who print almost daily, and especially with older kids needing to run off pages for homework etc, it’s ideal. If you know you’ll use a fair amount of ink it really is a sensible option to take. I don’t think we’d look back now!
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 I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have received a HP Envy 5540 printer and supplies, plus £50 pre-paid instant Ink card in return for writing this post