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HP Envy 5530 Review - Performance and Verdict Review

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HP quotes speeds of 8.8ppm for mono print and 5.2ppm for colour, both to ISO standards. In our tests we saw a maximum speed of 6.5ppm for mono and 2.6ppm for colour, mainly because we include processing time. These results are fair for a printer in this class.

A colour copy took 38s and 15 x 10cm photos came through consistently at around one and a quarter minutes.
HP Envy 5530 - Tray

The print quality is generally very good, with crisp black text and a very good draft mode, good enough for most uses and very fast at 9.1ppm. Unusually, there was some micro-banding visible in parts of the photos we printed. Other HP printers using the same heads and cartridges haven’t shown any banding, so we suspect this is a problem confined to this one sample.

The Envy 5530 is one of the first HP printers to offer Instant Ink. This isn’t a new technology, but a way of buying ink. You pay HP a monthly subscription based on the number of pages you print and the printer reports directly to HP when ink is getting low. New cartridges are then despatched and should reach you before the old ones run out.

This is fine, but how is it costed and are you better off shopping around for the lowest ink price online? HP offers three subscription levels: 50 pages (Occasional) for £1.99/month, 100 pages (Moderate) for £3.49/month and 300 pages (Frequent) for £7.99/month. You can switch between subscriptions from month to month and they include delivery charges.

HP Envy 5530 - Cartridges

These subscriptions are based on the number of pages printed, not ink used, so you get better value if you print photos than business letters. It’s a simple calculation to get a page cost for Instant Ink: 4p for Occasional, 3.5p for Moderate and 2.7p for Frequent, irrespective of whether you print mono or colour.

Working the same cost out using best online prices for black and colour cartridges gives 4.4p for black and 9.5p for colour, so you gain with Instant Ink, even if you only print 50 black pages a month. If you print 300 colour pages, you potentially save (300 x 9.5p) – £7.99 = £20.51. There’s a monthly rollover with Instant Ink of the same number of pages as your subscription, so if you have a low-print month, you don’t lose out too much.

The HP Envy 5530 is a very serviceable, neat all-in-one for SOHO customers. It’s ability print from most PCs and portable devices and its ease of use make it an ideal home or student all-in-one. HP’s Instant Ink service offers the potential to save on running costs, though it remains to be seen if it takes good enough account of irregular print use.

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