Reality check of the printer
Come on, it’s time to get real. We cannot continue to use printers as we have before.
Something got seriously out of hand somewhere and it suddenly became cheaper to buy a new printer than to replace the cartridges.
Obviously, this type of printer isn’t a high quality printer, but if you just print the occasional greeting cards, a few recipes, and the kids’ homework, something cheap and bad can do it.
Until he runs out of ink.
Then it’s time for a moral dilemma, isn’t it? They know you shouldn’t throw away entire printers … especially when they work fine – but sometimes it’s literally cheaper to replace them all.
Maybe you can get rid of the old one on TradeMe?
There has to be a better way. HP thinks that anyway …
By now you have certainly become a subscription-based consumer of some sort, if not many. From our music and TV streaming services to grocery delivery to transportation, there doesn’t seem to be a lot that you actually need to own these days. You can just subscribe to it.
HP jumped on board with its Instant Ink service.
The subscription model here is simple; You create your Instant Ink account, add your compatible printer (or printers), and never have to worry about running out of ink again. As soon as one of your cartridges runs out, you will automatically receive a replacement. You don’t have to do anything … except, of course, pay the monthly fee.
This depends on your usage. Plans start at just $ 1.99 a month … but that assumes you’re only printing about fifteen pages that month. If that’s all you need, it will be a while before you get the next cartridge. At the other end of the scale, super heavy users or even small businesses might opt for the $ 49.99 700-page-per-month plan – but there are several in between – HP estimates that most households will likely get the 100-page option for $ 9.99.
Whichever plan you choose, you can easily monitor your progress through the HP Smart app – or simply log into your account using the browser. Get real-time updates on how many pages you’ve printed, whether your cartridges are low, and track both past and future cartridge shipments.
HP has gone to great lengths to make this as easy to use as possible. The first time you sign up, you’ll get a free trial that allows you to print up to 700 pages, regardless of which plan you choose. This gives you a chance to tweak things before you start billing. When you register, you will also receive an introductory package of cartridges. This is a relief if you’ve just set up a brand new HP printer like I had, as the cartridges that come with it are only a small fraction of the capacity of the cartridges you get with your Instant Ink subscription.
HP estimates that signing up will save you about 50%. They offer higher capacity cartridges in less packaging, and you can also return your used cartridges for recycling. No question about it, this is much better for the environment than throwing away an entire printer every few months.
One of my favorite features is monthly rollover – if you don’t use your page sharing within the month, the balance will move into the next month – up to three times your quota if you have a few lighter months in a row. Of course it works the other way too; Print more than what you’re subscribed to and you’ll be billed extra per page – so you’re definitely better off overestimating your usage – especially since you can change or cancel your subscription at any time.
The key to everything? With a compatible HP printer, of course. Given that there are currently around fifty different models to choose from, you will likely find one that suits your needs.
I gave the Envy Pro 6430 a blow.
This is an entry-level all-in-one that has many advantages (as the name suggests), but admittedly some disadvantages.
It’s incredibly easy to set up via the HP Smart app, but I have to say, after using printers with LCD screens for a few years, it was a bit strange to go back to one with just six LED icons to let you know what was happening . This is where the app comes in – it’s a lot easier to see what’s going on with the Envy Pro 6430 in the app, or to log into your HP Smart account online, than it is to look at the printer for yourself.
As I said, lighting it up, connecting to my Wi-Fi network, and installing the cartridges is a breeze. It’s certainly a compact device and pretty subtle in its attractive, cream-colored finish. It handles a few different sizes of paper, from A4 down, including photo paper – and double-sided printing works well. There’s a top-mounted document feeder, and I’ve found it to scan, print, and copy surprisingly quickly.
I get a little nervous dealing with this though – everything seems a bit flimsy – from the paper tray itself to the output tray extender that pops out and then unfolds but seems way too thin to hold. And when you open the Envy Pro 6430 to replace cartridges or clear a paper jam, there are lots of annoying clicks and lumps that make you feel like you’re pulling the whole thing apart.
Yeah, I said paper jams. Unfortunately, I’ve seen quite a few of these in the past few months, although luckily I’ve used the device every time it was easy enough to access the blockages and print again – I’m not sure if those misprints count among them Your monthly page quota in the Instant Ink plan, but I hope not.
It is also possible to use the HP Smart app to adjust settings such as paper size, autom instead PC or laptop. In addition, certain settings require you to enter a long PIN number that can only be found in the printer – on the housing through the toner cartridges.
Yes, I definitely miss that LCD screen. If that sounds frustrating to you too, I’d recommend spending an extra few dollars on a slightly more advanced model.
In terms of print quality, it’s about what I would expect from a machine in this price range – and I have to say, I’m really impressed with how fast it prints – even full pages in color.
But Instant Ink is the real star of the show here; There is an obvious cost saving and it makes no difference whether your pages are black and white or color. What’s more, who doesn’t like having their cartridges sent to them without asking for them? It’s definitely an inexpensive, sleek step in the right direction when it comes to printer ink frustration.
(Note: Toner plans are also available.)
For more information and pricing on HP Instant Ink, click here.
For more information and pricing on the HP Envy Pro 6430 All-In-One Printer, click here.