An In-Depth Review of the HP Envy 5540 Printer

I gave up on having a printer at home a few years ago. Every time I tried to print something, I either couldn’t get it to work at all, or to print anything properly, and I also had lots of problems with ink drying out or leaking. There were many times since then that I could have done with one, but the effort just didn’t seem worth the hassle. Last year though, I decided that I really could do with a printer at home again, so I researched and chose one. It should have been a good printer, but I had so many problems with it – it kept saying it was out of paper when it definitely wasn’t, and paper kept getting stuck. I ended up giving up with it again and resigning myself to the fact that me and printers didn’t get along!

For the past month though I have been trying out the HP Envy 5540 Printer. We have put it through rigorous testing, as well as used it normally in every day life.

hp envy 5540 printer review

HP Envy 5540 Printer

The HP Envy 5540 is a wireless all-in-one printer that is Instant Ink ready. HP Instant Ink is a replacement ink service that sends you new ink cartridges when your printer gets low on ink. You select a package based on how much printing you do each month, pay the monthly fee, and then you’ll receive new ink cartridges through the post when you need them.

I think it’s a brilliant idea – you can’t rely on your printer if it might run out of ink and you’ve forgotten to buy more. This makes it so simple. The packages start at £1.99 a month and delivery costs are included in the price – you printer uses the internet to say when you need more ink (based on the number of pages printed), and you can change the plan you’re on at any time. I love, love, love not having to remember to buy ink, and that I can just print as much as I want without worrying about it.

Setting Up the HP Envy 5540

The printer is very quick and easy to set up; it took me around twenty minutes to follow the instructions and get it all set up, connected to my laptop and the internet, and ready to print. The ink cartridges are very straightforward to use – they literally just slot in and you push them in until they click. The paper slots in easily and the HP Colour Laser paper that I have is such great quality and feels lovely!

The printer has a little touchscreen that is great to use and tells you if there is any problem like if you have ran out of paper.

The HP app works brilliantly and I love that I can print photos (and anything else) remotely from my phone wherever I am. It means that for the first time in years I am actually printing photos out again, which is brilliant. The app was really quick to setup with my printer, and is easy to use.

The HP Envy 5540 is Instant Ink ready, which means that it is ready to sign up to the Instant Ink program straight out of the box. It is simple and straightforward to register and sign up for Instant Ink and my printer came with a three months free trial, which is brilliant.

hp envy 5540

Quality Test

You can set the printer up to print in either ‘Normal’, ‘Draft’, or ‘Best’ mode (via the printer settings on your computer) based on what you are printing. I printed the same document out in both the normal and draft modes and I could barely see a difference. The quality was slightly lower on the draft mode piece, but it is totally fine for me to use that setting with most of the documents I print out. It prints out faster than the other modes too. As the Instant Ink service is based on the number of pages printed rather than how much ink is actually left, printing things out in draft mode to save on ink isn’t as important, but it’s good to know.

I saw no decrease in the quality of the printing when printing out a large document, and it’s great being able to trust that my printer will work reliably when I’ve never had that before.

For some photos I tried printing them out on the regular HP Colour Laser paper and then on HP Advanced Photo paper. With the normal printer paper, the photo quality isn’t amazing, but it prints out quickly and is definitely fine for sticking photos in books and that kind of thing.

The photo that I printed out on the photo paper was absolutely brilliant quality – as good (if not better) than you would get in a shop. It took a couple of minutes to print out as obviously an A4 photo is a large size, but it looks perfect and I’m so happy with them.

I have printed lots of normal sized photos (6×4) since having the HP Envy and the quality is perfect, they print quickly and easily, and is has made my life so much easier being able to print out my favourite photos at home. I really think it will save me money printing photos out at home as well.

Common Printer Issues – Smudging, Running and Fading

We were asked to test the printer and ink for some common issues, such as the smudging, running or fading of ink.

Firstly I did a dry smudge test on the normal mode using the HP paper. I smeared my finger over the page as soon as it came out – and it didn’t smudge at all!

Next I did a wet smudge test on the photo paper: I ran some dampened kitchen roll over the photo to see if it would smudge – it did seem to smudge slightly and the darker colours of ink came off a bit onto the kitchen roll, howvever once the picture had dried again I couldn’t see where I had wiped it, or notice any fading.

After that I literally poured water onto the photo as though an accident had happened, and then quickly mopped it up with kitchen roll. For a while a couple of darker areas looked to be faded but after about an hour it looked almost back to normal, except for a few smears or scratches where I had cleaned it up.

It’s great knowing that in a family home your photos will not necessarily be ruined if any spills happen, and I’m really happy with the quality of the HP paper and ink.

The HP Original Ink and the Advance Photo Paper actually delivers 60+ years of light-fade resistance under glass. It’s great to know that our precious family photos will still look good in years to come when we’re showing our grandchildren (eek!).

hp envy printer reviewhp envy prints

General Thoughts

I really love the look of the HP Envy 5540 printer; I really like the all black design – it looks very sleek and modern. It is quite large, but still easy to move around if you need to put it somewhere else. The HP Envy 5540 only costs £59.99 which I think is a brilliant price for such a great printer, and it looks and feels a lot more expensive to me. I would have expected it to cost a lot more.

It is so easy to use and so reliable, which I am just not used to with a printer. I can send something to print and IT ACTUALLY PRINTS. Shocking I know. It’s taking me a bit of time to get used to actually remembering that I can print something if I want to, and I especially love that I can just print a photo out that I love there and then. We’re all busy as parents (and people), and it’s so good not having to take your memory card somewhere to have them print your photos for you.

Something I really love about this printer (which probably sounds daft!), is that I can leave the A4 paper as well as the 6×4 photo paper in the machine all the time – I don’t have to keep swapping them over depending on what I’m printing, which I did have to do before.

I had so many problems with my last printer getting the paper to align correctly and then getting the stupid printer to actually notice it was there, so to just literally stick a pile of paper in there occasionally has made such a difference to the usability.

I really love that with the Instant Ink service I don’t have worry about my ink ever running out when I’m not expecting it. I don’t have to go out and buy the think now or even really pay attention to how much there is left – that is all done for me at what I think is a great price.

It is so convenient to have such a great, RELIABLE printer in my home. It prints so quickly and without any faff. It just works. I think my favourite feature is that I can print out my photos so easily and perfectly, and I’m loving having more recent photos around my home again. The Instant Ink service has been brilliant so far and I really love not having to worry about running out despite now printing out lots of stuff.

Disclosure: 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 an HP Envy 5540 Printer and supplies, plus £50 pre-paid Instant Ink card in return for writing this post.


  1. 9th May 2016 / 2:04 pm

    I’ve been thinking about a new printer recently and this one sounds great for the money. The ink replacement also really appeals… So tempting!

  2. 9th May 2016 / 2:06 pm

    It’s brilliant Mel – honestly I love it so much! x

  3. Carol
    15th September 2016 / 1:25 pm

    I bought the HP Envy 5540 a few months ago. It sprays far too much ink. Printed pages are very black. I’ve spent some time trying to find out how I can change this but it seems that it’s standard and nothing can be done. I bought two ink cartridges last week for £33, I’ve printed about 50 pages and they have run out. I’m very disappointed and I’ll be changing my printer. Don’t buy the HP Envy 5540, that’s my advice.

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