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HP Instant Ink service announced, an end to ink cartridge blues

Andrew Williams


HP Instant Ink
HP Instant Ink

HP has unveiled its new Instant Ink service, which lets you pay a subscription fee to get hold of printer ink instead of having to buy super-expensive ink cartridges.

HP Instant Ink is a pay monthly service that lets you forget about having to buy ink cartridges, which cost £17-25 for a set online.

Instant Ink starts at £1.99 a month, which gets you 50 printed pages per month. You pay for the paper, but the £1.99 pays for the ink, which is delivered to you whenever you run low.

For those who need more, the £3.49 package gets you 100 pages a month and the £7.99 one 300 pages.

You can roll over your pages too, and HP offers top-ups should you need more pages.

You get 15, 20 or 25 additional pages for a pound depending on which deal you’re signed up to. The more expensive plans get you more additional pages for a pound.

HP says Instant Ink is designed for small and medium businesses as well as normal folk, if you’re wondering why someone might want to print 300-plus pages a month.

The best part about Instant Ink is that it doesn’t discriminate between printing a brief page of text or a full page photo. For people wanting to print out photos regularly, it could end up being a bargain.

All the printers compatible with the Instant Ink service are Wi-Fi-connected, and once your ink cartridge reaches a certain level, you’ll automatically be sent a new cartridge.

Supported printers at launch include the HP Envy 4500, HP Envy 5530, HP Envy 4630 HP and the Officejet Pro 8610 and 8620.

How doed HP Instant Ink work?

To avoid too many deliveries, HP Instant Ink uses huge cartridges with much greater ink reserves than standard ones. HP couldn’t tell us the exact capacity, but it calls them “XXL” cartridges.

Another benefit is that there’s no 12-month contract – you can leave Instant Ink whenever you like. However, the cartridges are clever enough to know whether you’re signed up or not and you won’t be able to print using an Instant Ink cartridge once your membership term has expired.

Once used up, you can send off the Instant Ink cartridges for recycling using a pre-paid envelope that comes as part of the delivery, and HP says it has recycled more than 700,000 tonnes of cartridges to date.

HP Instant Ink will be available from high street locations including PC World, but you can also sign up through the Instant Ink website.

Next, read our best printers round-up

Cartridge Express

June 16, 2014, 11:40 am

No matter what HP do their ink is still expensive, the 7.99 package works out about 2.6 pence per page, why would you want to use this package at 2.6 per page when you can buy a genuine HP 950xl black ink cartridge and get it for 0.9 per page. Also re manufactured or compatible cartridges cost less than a 1/2 a penny a page. Genuine HP cartridges are still a big rip off.


July 25, 2014, 5:44 pm

First off, I don't have any connection with HP or any other printer related company.

For somebody printing a whole heap of monochrome text pages I would agree, but I would also wonder why they would not just use a laser printer with compatibles (possibly because they do want the occasional colour doc)? However, Instant Ink makes a whole heap of sense to me when I print lots of photos in best quality on photo paper. The economics make a lot more sense when printing A4 border-less photos but even 6 x 4s work out well. Printing these for 4p per page (ink only) is very good value in my book. You also get genuine inks designed for the printer and in my experience I have had very mixed results with compatible inkjet cartridges. CISS solutions may work for some and personally I have no experience but the reviews I have read have been very mixed. Compared with instant ink I don't think cost is enough of a factor.

I also have a cheap but very capable and cost effective Brother laser for my bulk printing needs so I get the best of both worlds.

If I had one gripe of the service it is the lower quality printers that are compatible - I think all the models are black + 3 colours only which is a little bit limiting for photo printing (colours on my Envy 5532 are not quite as vibrant as I would like - photos are good, but not great). Maybe if this is a deal breaker CISS may still be the best solution still or just send them off to a lab?

Historically I think many printer manufacturers have given consumers a bit of a rough deal, HP included, however, I am not going to bash them over this service. Until this service was launched I sent all photos of to a lab, now I print at home which is more convenient and cheaper for me, especially as I got a 2 month old refurb printer for £30 on a well known auction site. I am happy as Larry with the service and will give it a big thumbs up but if you print mainly text docs maybe you should look elsewhere?

Brian Monk

June 9, 2015, 2:54 am

I got this package and when my color ink ran out, nothing. Contacted HP and they sent me, black! I cancelled as it was worthless (couldn't print color). They are still billing me so I'll be fighting the charges through my Credit Card. I do not recommend.

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