The OfficeJet 5740 is designed for the small and home office and has adopted a very rounded styling. It's an all-in-one device, capable of printing, scanning, copying and faxing. It has Wi-Fi and NFC built in, making it suitable for wireless printing from mobile devices.
The control panel is very clean, since everything bar the power button is either part of the 68mm touchscreen or one of the dedicated touch buttons down either side. It’s set at a fixed angle, but reflections are minimal and it’s easy to read. You have to be quite positive about your touches, as the screen isn’t as sensitive as some we’ve used.
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The low-profile Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) can take up to 25 sheets, but unsurprisingly on a machine at this price, it can’t scan duplex. The paper tray, which is a low-profile affair with a meagre capacity of 125 sheets, has a separate 15-sheet photo tray sliding along its top, although this can only take 15 x 10cm photo blanks. The indent in the bottom of the paper tray, which you grab to pull it, is quite shallow and can be difficult to grip if you have sausage fingers.
The USB and SD card slots are hidden behind a pivoting circular cover, which is a neat style highlight, though the USB socket is not PictBridge compatible, so no direct connection of digital cameras is possible.
The HP OfficeJet 5740 is designed as much to print from mobile devices as it is from a PC or Mac. While there’s a USB socket at the back, using the wireless connections opens up a much wider range of possibilities.
You can print remotely, using HP’s ePrint, but of more immediate use is Wireless Direct, which enables direct print from iOS and Android devices. You can make a quick connection via NFC, if you have a recent Android smartphone such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 or an iPhone 6. Just tap your phone on the Officejet 5740’s control panel and the printer becomes available on your phone.
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HP rates the Officejet 5740 at speeds of 12ppm mono and 8ppm colour. In our tests, we didn’t see these speeds, mainly because we include processing in our timings, which for some reason the ISO doesn’t. We measured a mono speed of 7.5ppm on our five-page document, which rose to 9.8ppm on the 20-page, longer document.
This is not far off the rated speed and is fair in real terms for an inkjet in this category. The colour result isn't so good, though, with a measured 4.1ppm for our five-page text and colour graphics test. The mono duplex speed even beat it, at 5.5 sides per minute, although that was on a 20-side document.
The printer waits from 3 secs to 6 secs between sides to allow ink drying, something piezoelectric printers, such as those from Brother and Epson, don’t appear to have to do.
Print quality from the HP is good, with crisp, densely black text and bright, solid colour graphics. A colour copy lost a little colour definition, but was still better than many at the price. Photo prints offer realistic colours and plenty of detail, with just a little loss in the shadows.
There are only two cartridges in this machine – black and tri-colour – so maintenance is simple. You can either buy individual cartridges or subscribe to HP’s Instant Ink service, where the machine automatically informs the company when ink is low so that new cartridges can be despatched before you run out.
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This costs from £1.99 for 50 pages per month, up to £7.99 for 300 pages. On the highest usage plan, page costs work out at 3.4p, including 0.7p for paper, and irrespective of whether you’re printing mono or colour. Using the best prices we could find for individual XL cartridges, page costs are 4.1p for mono and 9.3p for colour, again including 0.7p for paper.
There’s quite a lot of competition in this sector, with printers such as Brother’s £126 MFC-J4420DW and the £90 Epson Expression Premium XP-615. While the Brother offers faster printing and occasional A3 pages, the plain paper print quality isn’t as good. The Epson's also a bit ragged when printing on plain paper, although its photo prints are just as good.
The HP OfficeJet 5740 is a fine all-in-one for the home office, with excellent support for mobile devices and good, if sometimes sluggish, printing. It could do with a bigger paper tray, but if you buy into Instant Ink, it can be very economical.
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