Friday 6 May 2016

Save money on your printing with Instant Ink - HP Envy 5540

A few weeks ago we were sent the HP Envy 5540 All-in-one Wifi printer to try out their money saving Instant Ink Service. As well as using the machine for our everyday printing needs such as vouchers, homework and e-tickets for events, Mumsnet and HP set us a number of challenges to get the best out of the Envy 5540.

Week One - Setting Up The Envy 5540 

Although I use a variety of technology every day, I tend to leave the set up of these devices to my husband, however in the interest of giving you a thorough write up I decided to tackle this myself in the case of the HP Envy. The quick start guide that comes in the box was really simply to follow, giving step by step instructions that even the technophobes among us could easily understand.

In less than fifteen minutes I had the software set up on my laptop, the app on my phone and tablet and my Instant Ink account ready to go.

The HP Instant Ink replacement service allows you to choose from three plans that are designed to fit your home printing needs starting from just £1.99 a month. There is no annual fee, and you can change or cancel your plan online at anytime.

    I decided to go for the moderate printing plan to start off with, at just £3.49 per month for 100 pages with the option to roll over or add an extra 20 pages for just £1, I thought it sounded ideal for our family's printing needs and would save me up to £162 over a year of printing. I may decide to change over to the frequent plan to save even more money if I find that we are printing more that I realise. I really love the flexibility in the plans as I can see our printing needs changing at different times throughout the year. During the school holidays for example I tend to print out activity and worksheets to keep the children occupied, after holidays I like to print out photographs of our adventures.

    Setting up the instant Ink account was straight forward in the main, however one little snag I did come across was that the settings seemed to default to the United States. A tip to avoid this happening is to click on the flag icon at the top of the screen and select the UK from the drop down list. 

    Week Two - The Quality Challenge

    So once we were all set up the next challenge was to test out the quality of printing from the HP Envy 5540. I loaded up the printer with HP Inkject plain paper with ColorLok and tried out the three printing modes of Draft, Normal and Best. 

    Firstly, I used the draft mode to print out directions and a map for my mum who was driving my daughter to a party that weekend, as she doesn't have a Sat Nav and wasn't familiar with the area. Draft mode allows documents to print quickly and uses less ink and is ideal for documents such as a map or directions that will be used just once. 

    We were also sent some example documents to print in normal mode, firstly a single page recipe and then a larger eight page document. I found the print quality excellent on both of these and the larger document was consistent throughout which isn't always the case with printers I've used in the past.

    The final mode to test was 'photo' mode, for this I changed over to HP Advanced Photo Paper, which was straightforward to do and took just a moment.
    I printed out a recent photograph of my children and was incredibly impressed with both the speed and the print quality of the photograph, one I'll be happy to display on the wall!

    I also put the printed picture through it's paces by trying to smudge it, both with my fingertips and a damp cloth but to know avail, the image stayed perfect on the page. This strikes me as ideal for printing pictures for craft projects, for scrapbooking and of course for proudly displaying in frames.

    Week Three - Value and Design

    Week three's challenge, tasked me to look at two important elements of a home printer, design and cost savings.

    When I read design, my immediate thought was the aesthetics of the printer and I have to admit that although the sleek black colour and the modern shape do their best, it is a little bulky and takes up it's share of space on my desk. It is however, when you consider further the design aspect though that you forgive the Envy 5540 for it's size. 

    HP Ink supplies are not just a plastic casing, as well as protecting the ink these little cartridges communicate with your printer to ensure that you are not only getting the best performance but also to ensure that a little brown box with a fresh supply of ink will arrive at your door before you run out! Now that is smart design!
    There is also the design of the app and the software to consider, both of these are designed to making printing any document as quick and straigtforward as possible. Whether it's printing out an email from my smart phone, or remembering last minute to print and sign that consent form for the latest school trip, I know that I can do either of these in minutes with just a few taps of the screen.
    One of the most appealing aspects of the Instant Ink Service to me was the cost saving. We looked in week one at the different plans that were available and I chose the moderate printing plan, based on an average monthly printing of 100 pages this plan could save me up to £162 a year. Of course you do have to factor the price of the printer into that but at with an RRP of £69.99 the HP Envy 5540 is a very good value printer for the features it offers, even before you consider the savings of the instant ink service. Previously, I was paying up to £25 to replace ink cartridges on an ad hock basis, not really knowing how much my printing was costing me. This way I have a set cost budgeted across the year and not only do I know how much I'm spending, I also know how much I'm saving!

    Week Four - Convenience and Overall Thoughts

    So for the final week, Mumsnet asked us to consider how the HP Envy 5540 has impacted on our family's life from a convenience point of view.

    As someone who is always thinking about how to save the pennies, I tend to research and shop around for most things, however printer ink has always been one of those things that has caught me unawares, I tend to ignore the warning and all of a sudden realise I'm desperately low on ink just as I need to print out something really important! Meaning that rather than ordering online and getting the best price, I would have to rush to the local supermarket and pay whatever price they were asking. Until now that is, the HP Instant Ink service has made saving money on printing an easy and convenient thing to do.

    Having the little boxes of ink turn up on my doorstep without having to remember to order them or search around for the best price gives us one less thing to worry about in our busy family life and the ease of printing straight from my smartphone or tablet means that the idea of printing out a document to sign or an activity sheet for the children is no longer a chore that I have to fret about.

    I've thoroughly enjoyed using the HP Envy 5540 and would recommend both the printer and the Instant Ink service to any busy family to meet a variety of printing needs.

    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.

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