HP Envy 5540 Review

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Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com
Think Twice

The HP Envy 5540 is pretty slow at printing documents, but photos print quickly and the output quality is respectable. Reviewers say it guzzles ink, however, and there are better choices that cost less.

Pros: The HP Envy 5540 (starting at $72; available on Amazon) is a solid all-in-one printer with some nice features and a wide range of connectivity options. An expert from PCMag likes that the Envy 5540 has automatic duplexing and a 125-sheet input tray, which is larger than just about any other model in this price range, plus another 15-sheet photo tray. Photos print fast with the Envy 5540 compared with similar printers. The PCMag reviewer reports that the machine produced a 4 x 6 photo in only 53 seconds. The output quality was judged about average or a little better across the board. Top Ten Reviews says photos have good color and detail, and business documents are top-notch, with super-sharp text and excellent color.

Cons: In terms of its performance and output speeds, the HP Envy 5540 wavers between fast and slow depending on the task. In contrast to its speed with photos, the printer produces business documents rather slowly, PCMag says, at only about 2.1 pages per minute. Many users agree with this assessment, according to reviews on Amazon. We found many complaints about the Envy 5540 taking way too long to print documents, and even longer to copy and scan. Add to this several complaints about general "touchiness" with the machine, a frequent need to reset paper selections or reboot entirely, and more than a few reports of faulty units. Perhaps the biggest gripe, however, is that the Envy 5540 appears to be an ink guzzler. Top Ten Reviews notes that the ink for this printer can be expensive, and it uses a single tri-color ink cartridge, instead of separate tanks for each color. A consumer who posted a review on Amazon is among more than a few users who are put off by what they consider HP's "hard sell" tactics, such as pop-ups warning of low ink levels and pushing for enrollment in the company's Instant Ink refill program.

Features: The HP Envy 5540 has a maximum black-and-white resolution of 1200 x 1200 dots per inch and maximum color resolution of 4800 x 1200 dots per inch. HP says the printer's top speed is 12 pages per minute for black-and-white documents and 8 pages per minute for color. It supports automatic duplexing but does not include an automatic document feeder. It can work with an array of media types, including card stock, iron-on transfers, and transparencies. The scanner has an optical resolution of 1200 dots per inch, and 24-bit color depth.

Users can connect to the Envy 5540 via USB, Wi-Fi, or Wi-Fi Direct. This printer supports Apple's AirPrint but does not list support for Google Cloud Print in its specifications. It's compatible with Windows operating systems from Windows XP and Mac OS X Mountain onward. The 2.2-inch display is touch-enabled.

Takeaway: The HP Envy 5540 has some strong points, such as fast photo printing and good output quality, but it's slower than most MFPs when it comes to printing business documents. The single tri-color ink tank is also off-putting, because it wastes ink and can run up costs. The HP Envy 5540 is a decent printer but may not be worth the price.

Michael Sweet

Michael Sweet writes about consumer electronics. If something runs on electricity or ones and zeroes, he's interested in it. Sweet has written about PC technology and consumer electronics for 14 years.

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