Printer advice + is HP "Instant Ink" program any good?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jimthing, Oct 2, 2017.

  1. jimthing, Oct 2, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017

    jimthing macrumors 65816

    jimthing

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK (Europe, Earth, Space)
    #1
    ...I know, I know; this is everyone's favourite help-to-buy topic (not!), but anyway...

    Has anyone tried or know anything about this ink program?

    UK: https://instantink.hpconnected.com/uk/en
    US: https://instantink.hpconnected.com/us/en

    For £2, £3.50, £8 ($3, $5, $10) per month, compared to buying cartridges yourself (usually starting at £20/$20 each colour!), it seems like a great affordable deal, if you want an inkjet.

    Especially as most carts dry-up if not used regularly (or just because they feel like it!), and you end up having to constantly stick new carts in just to print the few pages you need at the time you need them!
    (And no, I don't want to bother with third-party replacements, before anyone mentions those as an idea for whatever reasons.)

    I don't own a printer at all currently, and have annoyingly relied on print-shops to get paper document prints when digital cannot be done (I don't print photos, BTW), which is just becoming too inconvenient for me now, so I really want to get a new one.

    The trouble is, as a low user, I'm completely stuck on what to go for, as they all sound utter crap to me (after previously owning HP's/Epsom's/Canon's/Samsung's) – none stand out as being something of any quality.

    Having previously used all inkjets, I looked at the cheaper colour laser's, but are they really any better... as complaints about all of them abound in reviews across websites – for print issues, wireless breaking and constantly needing resetting, and other things.

    I'd gladly pay around £200-300+ for something decent all-in-one(that can print & scan A4 & A3's; both wirelessly), but none of the brands offer anything that looks or sounds 'good' in any way; they're all cheap and nasty crap!

    So am really stuck on what to do... HELP! :-|
     
  2. Moakesy macrumors regular

    Moakesy

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    I signed up for instant ink a year ago and love it. You can just up your subscription if you need to, then knock it down again once your printing needs calm down again.

    I also email docs to the printer whilst on the move so they are ready for me when I get home. Easy to connect to from all my devices too.

    Cost me about £30 so far and had it just over a year. For that I’ve had a complete set of XL cartridges, sent to my home well before the original cartridges ran out. Works for me...
     
  3. jimthing thread starter macrumors 65816

    jimthing

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    #3
    Ok sounds something to perhaps try.

    What model do you have?
     
  4. ZapNZs, Oct 2, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017

    ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    Jan 23, 2017
    #4
    If Amazon ships these to your area, purchase a printer that has 3rd party cartridges available from a company called Arthur Imaging.

    Literally, the $30 Canon cartridges cost $1 for the Arthur Imaging equivalent. Unlike most 3rd party carts, no one can tell a difference between the factory Canon ink and their ink, even with high resolution photos. Same quality. Same capacity. 1/30th the price. My HP toner from them is only about 1/6th the price of factory - so not quite as much savings there. The toner is darker than the factory HP toner, and it lasts longer.

    I am using their black ink, color photo ink, black photo ink, and laser toner in 4 different printers from 3 different brands. Just about everything they make is flawless, and by flawless I mean equal-to-or-better-than OEM.

    The cost of the printer is such a small expense relative to the ink that modifying your decision (or even throwing an existing printer in the trash and buying another where these cartridges are available) is often an ingenious financial move, even if you don't print all that much (my Canon takes 6 ink cartridges - even with the occasional photo, that ink goes fast - and one full set of replacement OEM Canon cartridges actually costs more than the price of the printer.)

    You'll thank me. I told a customer about this and she baked me a pie.
     
  5. Muttznuttz macrumors member

    Muttznuttz

    Joined:
    May 21, 2014
    Location:
    London
    #5
    I've had this for over a year and have had a couple of full sets of cartridges posted to me. You get a free 3 months and then it's £2.00 pm after that. Bargain and great service. I have a 4250 (I think)
     
  6. artfossil macrumors 65816

    artfossil

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    Oct 5, 2015
    Location:
    Florida
    #6
    I have the HP 5530 all in one. I’ve had the mid-tier instant ink plan (4.99 in the US) for two years and love the convenience. Ordering ink online is a pain; shopping for it locally is a crapshoot—and I try to get everything online.

    Great ink, easy installation and flawless performance. Great small-footprint AirPrint printer as well, with the ability to scan or copy.
     
  7. elf69 macrumors 68020

    elf69

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2016
    Location:
    Cornwall UK
    #7
    I am a printer engineer.

    I have a epson sx445w at home and a samsung laser.

    we always recommend a printer with 4 individual inks for inkjet.
    a) more ink per colour
    b) can use compatibles as no printhead on cartridge (companies patent the head so copies cannot be made).

    Inkjet printers should be left on 24/7 if possible.
    injet with every power cycle they do head clean which pumps ink through the head.
    If left on they only do this when needed, plus the head is kept warm so less likely to block with dried up ink.
    most printers go to sleep after X minutes anyway so do not use much power.

    My epson is old and never let me down, only had one time it blocked.
    I use compatible inks in it, but not mega cheap ones as they are rubbish.

    for day to day use or office type inkjet epson or brother are good and can use compatibles.
    inkjet for graphics/photos canon but do not use compatibles if you wish to display the images.

    compatibles are dye based ink and genuine is pigment based.
    That's why you pay more.

    Of course CISS with pigment ink is an option too.
     
  8. jimthing, Oct 3, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017

    jimthing thread starter macrumors 65816

    jimthing

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK (Europe, Earth, Space)
    #8
    Thanks to all for your responses.

    Thanks for the idea, but doesn't look like these are even available in the UK. So couldn't do, even if I wanted to use third-party replacements. So that's out.

    OK another recommendation. But isn't the HP 4250 a laser machine?:
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/HP-LaserJet-4250-capacity-parallel/dp/B00062PWFU

    My understanding is the "Instant Ink" program is for certain inkjet's only... or am I wrong?

    Aaagh! Still unsure of choosing a machine here?!?!
    --- Post Merged, Oct 3, 2017 ---
    Apparently, from reading, the HP Instant Ink carts they send you are actually much larger than even the XL's you can buy from stores.

    BUT(!) do they send you a spare set in advance, in case the set in the machine fail?

    I don't want to be in the position of having no spares to hand, if the one in the machine fails for whatever reason. Otherwise I'd be waiting (likely days!) for the new to arrive in the post, and not be able to print straight away.

    Anyone know?
     
  9. Moakesy macrumors regular

    Moakesy

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    I have the OfficeJet Pro 6970. Got it from John Lewis to get the extra free warranty.

    Ideally, you should leave the printer on all the time. It will then automatically send ink levels back to HP and once they are low enough, you'll receive new ones in the post. This happens well in advance (around 2 months in my case) but I guess you could be caught out if you normally print a few pages at a time, but suddenly need to run off hundreds of pages.

    If in doubt, start off with the cheapest subscription as you'll get notification email if you are starting to hit your monthly limit. If you need to change it upwards, just go online, make the change and it's instant. Then go back online and mark it down afterwards.

    This also shows how much you print, if there were peak days etc. Useful if you have an art-student daughter who is a PITA for printing stuff like there's no tomorrow!!

    Finally, the subscription is page based, not ink based. Therefore, there is no cost saving for printing black and white, full colour or even a photo. You'd pay the same £1.99 for either 50 pages of black text a month, or 50 full colour photos.
     
  10. jimthing, Oct 4, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017

    jimthing thread starter macrumors 65816

    jimthing

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK (Europe, Earth, Space)
    #10
    Thanks. Yeah I'm likely sold on the Instant Ink program, but still confusion reigns on the HP ranges available.

    They do "Envy", "OfficeJet", "OfficeJet Pro" as the main ranges, but strangely the pricing is often the same or similar (especially after cashback deals HP offer), regardless. So what are the differences, as the spec lists under each product are useless for comparisons...?

    For example, this apparent 'pro' machine "OfficeJet Pro 8720" (and several near identical others in the "87xx" range, depending on the store) after £50 cashback (AND a free 3-year warranty extension?) is just £117.

    Yet the smaller "Envy 7830" (an upper spec Envy, matching the Pro's features; am I right?) with no cashback or warranty extension, is slightly more at £125.

    How does that work? The bigger machines being cheaper and longer warranty than the smaller (slower?) ones...
    Are they basically communicating that the so-called Pro's are basically 'very loud and wireless breaks down continually on them' crap boxes, hence 'deals', or something??

    ...Lost...Confused... :confused:
     
  11. Moakesy macrumors regular

    Moakesy

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    I just went on HP's site and got lost and confused as well....

    I'm not sure how much difference there actually is, and how much is just marketing. Certainly I'd agree pricing seems somewhat random. Maybe a 'Pro' machine has better / more resilient internals, I'm not really sure. I can't imagine that each devices has a unique set of parts though.

    In the end, I went for the device that met my spec requirements.....mainly print speed, needed to be an 'all-in-one' device and have Apple Air-Print. Paid around £120 for it, but I see Curry's have it at £80 now, one year later.
     
  12. Hater macrumors 6502a

    Hater

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2017
    Location:
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    #12
    I have an SX420 with £35 worth of brand new Cyan and Black ink in it that I can't even use to print black and white because apparently the Magenta and Yellow is out even though it's a page count, not an ink quantity count.

    I will never, ever buy an Epson ever again because of this crap.
     
  13. Nunyabinez macrumors 68000

    Nunyabinez

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Location:
    Provo, UT
    #13
    Just wanted to add some info here for you and anyone who comes along to this thread. There are a few things that you should know:

    1. Use the 3 free months to determine your average printing amount. This can be an exceptionally good deal if you hit close to the number of PAGES per month that you are signed up for. Going over by a significant amount will get expensive quite quickly, so for us, we will probably err on the side of paying for more than we use.

    2. I capitalized pages above, because that's what they count. So, a black and white page with one word is one page. A high density photo on photo paper counts as one page.

    3. HP controls the ability of the cartridge to work through software. So, if you were enrolled in instant ink and cancelled your subscription the day after you put in a new cartridge from HP, it will stop working. Even though it is full of ink. This makes sense, because you are paying a subscription, not for a product. It seems kind of weird since they are sending you cartridges, but you are paying for the service of being able to print, not for actual ink.

    4. In my research, I came to the conclusion that if you are a heavy printer, instant ink is not a good deal. As I said above, if you tend to be close to one of their tiers you should be fine, but the most vocal critics online are those who print a lot. Their complaints are cartridges don't come soon enough, the overage charges are high, etc.

    We are still new to it, but based on how much we spent last year on cartridges, I'm pretty confident that it will be a better deal. And you can always opt out.
     
  14. elf69 macrumors 68020

    elf69

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    Jun 2, 2016
    Location:
    Cornwall UK
    #14
    I use compatibles and it will use all of it, epson leave 20% ink behind when claim it empty.

    epson is fine dont use genuine unless doing photos
     
  15. jimthing thread starter macrumors 65816

    jimthing

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    London, UK (Europe, Earth, Space)
    #15
    Yeah, as said in my original post, I don't want to do compatibles EVER.
     
  16. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    Jan 23, 2017
    #16
    Sorry about that - I must have missed the note in your original post.
     
  17. elf69 macrumors 68020

    elf69

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    Location:
    Cornwall UK
    #17
    I understand some not wanting to use compatible inks but HP tell you they are empty with 40% ink remaining.

    If you buy HP compatibles (this is a black and tri-colour) they are remanufactured not compatible as HP hold patent on the printhead which is part of cartridge.
    BUT remans use do not always use pigment ink like the original as it is expensive compared to dye based.

    the other option is CISS with pigment ink, expensive start up but much cheaper per page in long run.
    only really cost effective if you print a lot.

    If I need print bulk I use my laser, and my inkjet for small runs or the odd photo.
     
  18. jimthing thread starter macrumors 65816

    jimthing

    Joined:
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    London, UK (Europe, Earth, Space)
    #18
    You seem knowledgeable on this. :)

    So can you perhaps help explain about the differences/merits between buying the larger "OfficeJet Pro" vs. a decent "Envy" model, from HP's printer ranges, as they seem the most likely?
    (and seeing as they're roughly the same price after discounts, plus I'd at least be trying the HP Instant Ink program anyway, so the monthly ink cost is the same regardless of which model I and up going for), per:

     
  19. elf69 macrumors 68020

    elf69

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    Location:
    Cornwall UK
    #19
    I do believe the difference is similar to laser printers.

    To do with "duty cycles" or how many pages per month the printer is designed to print in normal use.

    I believe Envy is aimed at home users and officejets obviously at work environments.

    So the officejets would have a larger duty cycle, thus designed to print more pages per month.

    Also office printers have larger spacing in the rollers so generally can take thicker media without jamming.

    I'll use epson as example:
    the base model will take e.g. 120gsm paper next model up adds 20-40gsm and so forth.

    HP are not quite as stingy as epson but hope you get my following....
     
  20. akidd macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Location:
    Tunbridge Wells, UK
    #20
    Why not get a laser printer, and get refills from (look up u refill toner, the Birmingham one). Or just keep buying new printers that you cannot refill: not expensive but not very sound.
     
  21. ignatius345, Oct 5, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017

    ignatius345 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2015
    #21
    Has anybody worked out the cost/page for this Instant Ink scheme? I've been using a very inexpensive Brother laser printer (HL-2270DW, which set me back about $100) and over the course of about 10,000 pages, I've spent somewhere around 2.5¢/page, including toner and wear on the drum. Add another 1¢/page for the cheapest decent paper I can get my hands on.

    Colo(u)r sound nice, but I've yet to find an inkjet that's anywhere near as economical, fast and reliable as laser.
     
  22. elf69 macrumors 68020

    elf69

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    Location:
    Cornwall UK
    #22
    I bought 2nd hand samsung laser (C410W) awesome machine has usb/wifi and even NFC built into the top!

    Drums, refurb £40-50 or new £150-175.
    Toner refill kits cheap.

    only really use epson now to scan or do photos as the samsung not good enough for photos.
     
  23. Muttznuttz macrumors member

    Muttznuttz

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    London
    #23
  24. jimthing, Oct 9, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017

    jimthing thread starter macrumors 65816

    jimthing

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    #24
    Sure, however that model is a printer only, rather than all-in-one.

    But I suppose the Envy all-in-one's are more or less near identical. I can't actually tell much difference between the Envy all-in-one's at £60 vs. £80 vs. £120, except maybe a scanner auto-feeder.

    HP tend to simply change the model numbers at will to make old models look like completely new ones and/or different model numbered machines for groups of retailers!

    Amazon and HP may sell one model, Curry's and small shops get another (another example was a new Samsung oven I bought a while ago: Curry's had the grey model with some functions, while AO.com had the silver one with some minor function differences; smelling of price-fixing, given there was a whopping £5 difference between the two on several hundred £ machines!).
    – so many brands do this type of thing, to make shopping around virtually impossible.
     
  25. jimthing, Oct 10, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017

    jimthing thread starter macrumors 65816

    jimthing

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    London, UK (Europe, Earth, Space)
    #25
    So what did I go for...

    Well I gave up on the OfficeJet Pro's. The main reason being because from reading reviews, they said the wireless dropped-off AND the printer would simply not work for unknown reasons; both forcing the user to cycle the machine on/off continually during ownership.
    This tallied almost exactly with my previous experience with one of these OfficeJet Pro's from 5 YEARS AGO(!) which did exactly the same thing – along with me finding the paper tray roller failing to pick-up the paper all the time, as well!

    Given this, the apparent bargain of "£50 cashback" offers, and "3 year limited warranty extension" for many OJP models, sound more like mere proxies for 'this machine is rubbish and will cause you loads of problems'. Hence well avoided.
    ----

    So over to the Envy models, which are smaller and offer less "duty cycles". But given I'm not printing tens of pages daily, I hope an Envy can do the job for what I need, without the problems above. The Envy's also have only two carts (black/colour) compared to the OJP's that generally have four (black+3 separate colours), but as I'm gonna use the Instant Ink program, I doubt it's going to matter much, certainly for my low use needs.

    The two I narrowed it down to...
    The two specs comparison:
    http://store.hp.com/UKStore/Merch/Compare.aspx?sel=PRN&merchCmp=E4W47A#BHC|Y0G50B#BHC

    1) ENVY 7830 (£149)
    http://store.hp.com/UKStore/Merch/Product.aspx?id=Y0G50B&opt=BHC&sel=PRN&p=c-instantinkpickaplan

    2) ENVY 7640 (£90)
    http://store.hp.com/UKStore/Merch/Product.aspx?id=E4W47A&opt=BHC&sel=PRN

    While I prefer to order on Amazon generally (as returns are easy), I bought it directly from HP as they were either more expensive or strangely simply not available on Amazon.

    (Neither have any extra's [cashback/warranty warranty extension], but both have a 4 month Instant Ink trial.)

    After checking the specs, I went for the ENVY 7830 in the end. Mainly because the specs made it clear it's a newer machine, and hey, who doesn't like the new "shiny shiny"!!

    More importantly, the specs are marginally more up to date...

    Better CPU (1.2 GHz vs. 525 MHz), Bluetooth LE (not just WiFi/AirPrint/Ethernet/USB/NFC), double the memory (256 vs. 128 MB DDR3), RAW scanning support, the newer TWAIN 2.1 (vs. 1.9 – may be better, lol?!). Oh, and HP actually bother to list the near-latest "Sierra" as actually supported (yes, I know, largely bollocks, as they fail to update these things don't they!).

    (random arrows showing the bleeding obvious; a m a z i n g! ;-)
    Image 10-10-2017 at 21.49.jpg
    (man touches the screen AND paper at the very same time; m a g i c a l! ;-)
    Image 10-10-2017 at 21.44.jpg

    TBH, on top of HP being completely crap at selling their products, all these printers are virtually indistinguishable from one another across brands. If it wasn't for the ink program, I'd have likely tried someone else, but doubt it'd make much difference.
     

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25 October 2, 2017