Pros / This printer produced some of the best-quality documents in our testing.
Cons / An inconvenient three-in-one ink cartridge means you need to replace all of your color inks when only one runs out.
Verdict / The HP Envy 5540 All-in-One prints documents with category-leading quality, but missing connectivity features and expensive inks keep it from ranking higher.
The HP Envy 5540 All-in-One may not rank among the best inkjet printers we tested, but it does stand out in our review by printing the best-quality documents we saw. Its nearly flawless print quality is a strong selling point to be sure, but that’s not the only criteria to consider when buying a printer – you may want to mull over how important print quality is in the face of missing key features and inks that frequently require expensive refills.
The printer’s best feature, hands down, is its immaculate print quality, which consistently ranked the best in our testing. Both black-and-white and color documents printed with sharp text, clean ink distribution and a notable lack of errors like bands and smudges. It is a little slow, printing black-and-white documents at 9.5 pages per minute (ppm) and color documents at 7.5 ppm. Photo printing, on the other hand, was reasonably fast at 1.3 photos per minute, and the resulting photos had good color quality and detail.
Print quality isn’t the only consideration when choosing a printer, and the Envy 5540 has some of the highest printing costs per page in our review. Using standard-capacity cartridges, the Envy 5540 averages 21 cents per page, but in real-world use, it will likely be more expensive, since the printer uses a tri-color ink cartridge for cyan, magenta and yellow inks. When you run out of one color, you need to replace all three, which leads to more frequent refills of an ink cartridge that’s already more expensive than cartridges for the best inkjet all-in-one printers. You can reduce the cost by buying high-capacity ink cartridges, which takes the average cost per page down to 16 cents – though this is still above the category average. You can also save money with HP’s InstantInk subscription service that sends discounted ink by mail.
The printer’s 125-page paper tray holds a bit more than the standard 100-page trays used by other wireless all-in-one printers, but the photo paper capacity is actually smaller, holding just 15 sheets instead of the average 20. All in all, it’s fairly average.
It is, however, missing some of the key features you expect on a top-rated wireless printer. It has Wi-Fi network support but no wired networking, and despite the all-in-one billing, it’s missing built-in fax capability. There also isn’t an option for direct printing from cameras or storage without a PC, a glaring oversight in a wireless all-in-one printer meant for home use. With no ports for printing from a USB drive or media card, you’re stuck printing from your computer, phone or tablet. The printer supports Apple AirPlay for printing from iPhones and iPads, but the specs don’t include Google Cloud Print support. For printing from an Android device, you may be stuck using HP’s proprietary app.
The HP Envy 5540 All-in-One comes with a one-year warranty, which is standard for even top-rated wireless printers. Additionally, HP provides several ways to reach dedicated support staff, including by phone, email, social media and live chat through the HP website. There are also lots of support materials on the site, with a searchable online manual, product FAQs, troubleshooting tools and customer support forums.
- B/W Print Speed
- Color Print Speed
The HP Envy 5540 All-in-One prints documents with above-average quality, but it comes with a below-average set of features. The tri-color ink cartridge design forces you to frequently purchase expensive ink refills, while the lack of basic connectivity options and features, such as fax capability, doesn’t compare well against the printer’s more full-featured competitors. Even though the specifications don’t match the top all-in-one printers, the print quality surpasses the rest. If pristine documents are what you want, the HP Envy 5540 delivers.