Review: HP Envy 5540 Printer & HP Instant Ink Ink Replacement Service

I like to think I'm fairly organised, but with horrifying regularity, usually when I have something vital to print, that annoying light comes on on the printer.  It refuses to do what I need until I have located an ink supply shop, spent a fortune and then decided for the temperamental thing to accept the new cartridge.  And always, always, always when we're in a hurry.  Grrr.  But what if ink could be not only cheaper, but there, all the time, before you need it?  Yippee!

This is the premise of the new HP Instant Ink, an ink replacement service that is perfect for family printing, and promises to deliver ink before you need it.  Sounds pricey right?  In fact, the ink cartridges and delivery costs are included in your monthly plan price for as little as £1.99 per month!  The amount you pay is based on how many sheets you will print each month, but unused pages can be rolled over to the next month.  The monthly fee ranges from £1.99 to £7.99 per month, and there is no tie-in.

We have been sent a new HP Envy 5540 and an Instant Ink pack and asked to put it through various tests and tasks.  First of all, how easy was it to set up?  This is Steve's department and he found it really straightforward, done in a matter of minutes after charging the printer up.

We used it first to print out a couple of contracts I needed, and the automatic two-sided printing was a revelation - no more trying to figure out which way to put the paper back in for that second side of printing!

The HP Envy has three print modes: draft, normal and best.  Draft is perfect for quick printing of paperwork you don't need for long, maybe to print out a map, colouring pages for the girls, or yet another to do list!  The normal print mode is high quality, clear and the print quality doesn't deteriorate on larger documents, unlike with our old printer.  The ink is dry enough not to smudge so the sheets of paper can be put on top of each other without any ink transfer or smudging.  And you can print as much as you need all without fear of running out of ink.

We were most impressed with the photo printing 'best' print option, which worked efficiently and produced decent quality photos with fairly true colours.  The ink was surprisingly dry and HP Advanced Photo Paper is such high quality that it delivers over 60 years of light-fade resistance under glass.  Impressive.  Try as we might, leaving one of our photos on the kitchen window sill has seen no fading at all.  Look how scientists got on replicating 50 years:

Our only issue with the printer is that it's a bit chunky and takes up more space than our old one.  But with its little printer brain ensuring high performance, even when one colour runs low, and its awareness of anything going wrong, like the ink cartridge being incorrectly installed, or ink running low.  Plus it will save us around 50-60% in ink costs each year!

So, would we swap our old printer for the HP Envy 5540 and the Instant Ink replacement service?  With a cost price for the printer of £59.99 and a monthly cost from just £1.99, definitely!  Our old printer was bought a couple of years ago and had a higher up-front cost, plus the ink cartridges have to be ordered direct, or bought in store, for a lot more than that.  Yes, it's another monthly expense, but I'd happily pay a few pounds a month to never run out of ink and have that mad dash again!  One less thing to think about is a big winner with this busy mama.

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.

And don't forget to enter our competitions!