The affordable HP Envy 5540 is a versatile inkjet printer that delivers good performance and high image quality on both plain paper and special media. A duplex machine can do double-sided printing, though not very fast, while a second fixed paper tray gives you storage space for photo paper.
To help minimize on-road ink costs, you can use high-performance ink cartridges or try to further reduce costs by subscribing to one of the HP ink designs available in three levels depending on print size. If the printer is connected to the Internet, HP can automatically detect low ink levels and send you supplies.
HP Envy 5540 Design
The front panel of the Envy 5540 has a 2.2-inch color touch screen. While this is a small area, you can drag the screen to browse menu icons instead of tapping an arrow on the screen.
The 125-sheet input tray is placed in a slider that protrudes from the front of the device. Pull it out to load and empty the paper. In addition, there is a 15-sheet photo tray that is fixed at 4.6 inches, so you can not load other sizes. Above the input tray, a 25-sheet output tray occupies a hole inside the body of the machine, with a spring extension that pops out automatically when printing begins.
If you have a small workspace, you may appreciate the quiet mode of this model, which reduces the average noise level. When it comes to noise, the Envy 5540 makes a lot of it. It seems that after each print job, the machine continues to spin and make sputtering noises, seeming to re-align and eject the ink to prevent the printer head from clogging. An alternative unit made similar sounds, though it did less. With this in mind, it is unlikely that this noise will bother anyone except more naughty users.
HP Envy 5540 Performance
Envy is capable of scanning 1200 dots per inch and printing 1200 dots per inch in monochrome, which increases to 4800 x 1200 dots per inch on HP special photo paper in full color. It prints at 10 pages per minute in black and 5 pages per minute in color, and prints up to 22 pages per minute in black and white and 21 pages per minute in color. ISO numbers are 12 pages per minute for black and 8 pages per minute for color.
The 5540’s CPU and RAM are fairly average – 525MHz and 128MB, respectively – and that could mean a relatively long wait for pages to appear. HP figures show that the front page can be “19 seconds fast” in black and “22 seconds fast” in color, while a 10×15 borderless image can be “34 seconds fast”.
the front page in black / draft mode was 17.2 seconds and the dot color lasted 22.7 seconds. Printing an A4 photo on plain paper with good quality setting took 3 minutes and 23 seconds. However, the quality is worth the wait: the colors are crisp, the photos are crisp, and the gradients are rendered without any unwanted streaks or noise. It is good on plain paper and very impressive on photo paper.
HP Envy 5540 Print speed
The Envy 5540 prints text at about average speed in our experiments, producing a five-page text document in 36.9 seconds, or 8.1 pages per minute (ppm). Using draft mode, the same document prints at 8.8 pages per minute (34 seconds). Turning on silent mode reduced print time to 58 seconds or 5.2 ppm.
The use of a duplex machine significantly reduced the printing speed. Printing our five-page text document on two sheets of paper took more than twice as much as a one-sided document in 1 minute and 24 seconds, or 3.6 sheets per minute. The slowdown is partly due to waiting before printing on the second side of the page, while the screen shows the message “Ink is drying, please wait”.
The Envy 5540 printed our composite text and six-page graphic document at 2:40 (2.3 pages per minute). It was significantly faster than its sibling at work, the HP OfficeJet 4650, which took about a minute to print the same document.
The Envy 5540 also prints full-screen color glosses quickly, displaying one with the best quality at 2:12. Lowering the quality setting to normal shortened the time to 1:40. In contrast, the Epson ET-2550 took approximately 6 minutes longer to print a photo with the best settings.
HP Envy 5540 Copy and scan speed
The Envy 5540 copied color documents in an average of approximately 36 seconds. Black and white copies appeared in 21.9 seconds, which was significantly longer than the Epson ET-2550.
Envy was much more impressive at scanning black-and-white documents to PDF, doing it in 9.7 seconds, compared to 38.3 seconds for the Epson ET-2550. This was partly because Epson did a preview scan and then the final scan in this mode, while Envy simply allowed me to click Done after scanning the preview.
HP Envy 5540 Print quality
The Envy 5540 delivers extremely high page-wide print quality, both on plain paper and on specialized media. The text was printed on plain paper in bold, but not as much as the blades produced by laser printers. Likewise, color graphics printed on plain paper were full of rich colors, smooth textures, and delicate details.
The Envy 5540 printed some smooth, deep colors with a bit of blur, and some really small. The precise details lacked the high resolution of the ET-2550 prints. They gave the Envy 5540 prints less “pop” than the Epson prints, but with a slight difference.
The Envy 5540, on the other hand, made more attractive copies on plain paper than the Epson ET-2550, producing colors and details more accurately. The text in the copy seemed heavy and crisp. Both models did excellent scans of the photos.
HP Envy 5540 Set up
Setting up the Envy 5540 was easy. I just removed some tape from the outside of the chassis and some cardboard from inside the cartridge. Then, I printed a scanner alignment sheet and scanned it.
Inserting the software disk in the Windows and Mac PC made me go to the company’s website to download the software. Meanwhile, a video ad promoting the company’s Instant Ink program is playing at the same time as downloading the software. Note for Mac users: This software requires OS X 10.8 or higher, although a print driver is available for earlier versions. (I was able to print on a Mac running 10.7.)
HP Envy 5540 Setup time
The Envy 5540 launched in about an average time, 11.9 seconds. But choosing a copy did not lead to immediate response. Instead of ejecting the copy in the usual 22 seconds, the printer continued to make noise, apparently re-aligning the printhead, wiping the ink nozzles, and taking another 38 seconds to copy. This was normal after opening and closing the paper tray, but it also happened by accident.
HP Envy 5540 Software
The included HP software is a basic collection for printing, scanning, and copying, with add-ons such as Photo Creations to create invitations, calendars, notifications, collages, brochures, and various photo gifts. The company also offers what it calls Printables, ranging from coloring pages and puzzles to forms for making calendars, sudoku puzzles, and other games, or simply printing graphic paper.
The HP Print Service app on my Android phone simply added the Envy 5540 to my list of printers automatically, without the need for any action on my part.
The Envy 5540 is a great all-rounder, prints graphics quickly, and delivers very high print quality on both plain paper and special media. Although copy speed is not fast, PDF scanning is done in an instant. Not eligible as a small office workhorse, but the overall versatility of the Envy 5540 makes it a solid versatile device.