HP Envy 7855 Review: High Quality All-In-One Photo Printer. HP envy photo
HP Envy 7855 Review: High Quality All-In-One Photo Printer
If you’re looking for a high quality all-in-one photo printer then the HP Envy 7855 is about the best you’ll find in this price range. If you’re looking for something that can crank out documents then you’ll probably be disappointed in both the speed and Rapid cartridge use.
The HP Envy 7855 is an all-in-one printer that can print, scan, copy and fax from your Mac and our choice for one of the best printers for Mac for high quality photo printing.
The HP Envy 7855 is at the top of the HP Envy line and replaced the now defunct Photosmart series in 2010.
The HP Envy 7855 can print, copy, fax and scan although note the latest versions of macOS do not support faxing from all-in-one printers and you’re much better off using fax software instead.
The Envy 7855 is aimed at those that want an all-in-one with very high photo print quality.
It allows you to instantly print photos from Macs and iOS devices via AirPrint and the print quality on photos is outstanding making it the best printer for photos for Mac.
If you’re intending to print a lot of photos and mobile printing is important to you, the HP Envy 7855 All-ln-One Photo Printer is a very good choice.
We think it’s the best printer in the HP Envy range and the best all-in-one home photo printer on the market in 2021 considering the price to quality ratio.
HP Envy 7855 Quick Facts
You May Also Like:
AirPrint Support Printing
The HP Envy 7855 supports AirPrint which means you can easily print from any Mac, iPhone or iPad connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
You simply click on the Share button and click the printer icon to send a print job from any device or Mac.
The HP Envy 7855 has an auto document feeder (ADF) that can take 35 pages at a time which is basically the only difference between it and the slightly cheaper HP Envy 7155.
The Envy 7855 supports duplex printing i.e. double sided printing so you can print on both sides of paper. It can’t however do duplex scanning i.e. scan both sides of a page.
The HP Envy 7855 also accepts SD cards and even USB sticks the latter of which isn’t common in all-in-one printers but a useful touch.
One other thing we like about the Envy 7855 is the ability to borderless photo printing. This means it prints all the way to the edges of the paper in 1200 dpi with 8″ x 10″ prints.
The HP Envy 7855 also features a touchscreen which allows you to print and even edit photos that you’ve sent from your Mac, iPhone or iPad.
The editing function on a touchscreen is unusual for an all-in-one but shows how focused the Envy 7855 is on photo printing.
You can also email documents to the Envy 7855 for printing thanks to HPs ePrint. This means that you can print remotely on the HP Envy 7855 wherever you are in the world.
Black Only Mode
One of the things we like about the HP Envy 7855 is the black only mode in the Envy series.
This is because the Envy series use a dual cartridge system which means the print head is built into the cartridge. Normally, all-in-one printers use 5 different cartridges and you have to all 5 inserted in order to print.
The Envy series allows you to have just a black cartridge inserted and print in black without having to purchase color cartridges.
Of course, if you’re going to be printing photos you’ll obviously need to color cartridges too but it gives you the flexibility of only having to buy color cartridges when you need them.
Note that it doesn’t work the other way round i.e. you can’t print in just color instead of black.
The downside of all this is that if you run out of one color such as blue in the Envy 7855, you have to replace the entire color cartridge which is only a problem if you print in one color consistently as most colors run down at about the same rate.
HP Envy 7855 Cartridges
HP doesn’t have a great track record with cartridge pricing but replacements have become much more competitive in recent years and the HP Envy 7855 uses the HP 64 ink cartridges which are some of the cheapest on the market.
One big downside of HP Envy cartridges though is that they run out very quickly. You’ll get a maximum of 200 pages from a standard cartridge and although they’re not expensive, you have to replace them a lot which soon adds up.
For those that hate running out of printer ink at just the wrong moment, the HP Envy 7855 will also automatically order new print cartridges delivered to your door you when it detects the ink is getting low.
However, you have to pay for HP Instant Ink for this which requires a monthly subscription but its worth it if you’re going to be printing a lot of photos.
As a way to get buyers to subscribe, HP do regular promotions on this and you can often find deals of up to 3 or 4 months free HP Instant Ink subscriptions with new purchases.
The HP Instant Ink replacement service can also work out up to 50% cheaper than buying cartridges in store so it may work out cheaper than replacing them anyway.
The HP Envy 7855 scanner is slightly low in resolution with a maximum of 1200 dpi but it’s enough for general use.
The fax feature isn’t much use to Mac users unfortunately.
Apple removed support for faxing from Macs in the most recent versions of macOS and nowadays you’re far better off using fax software instead to send and receive faxes from a Mac.
HP Envy 7855 Downsides
The HP Envy 7855 is also pretty slow to print. This is common with photo printers but even black and white printouts take longer than the average inkjet and it’s annoying if you have lots of documents to print.
The HP Envy 7855 is certainly faster than the HP Envy 7640 but it’s still slow by inkjet standards.
If you’re looking for an office printer or something that can print lots of pages quickly, you’re much better off going with the HP LaserJet Pro.
Alternatively, if you just want an inkjet printer for home use that’s quicker than the HP Envy 7855 then we recommend the Canon Pixma instead.
Summary: Is The HP Envy 7855 A Good Printer?
In summary, the photo printing quality of the HP Envy 7855 is excellent but you’ll need an HP refill subscription to get the most out of it.
For families that want to make lasting printed memories of their favorite photos, it’s an ideal all-in-one printer.
How long the HP Envy 7855 will last is a hard question to answer but you should get several years out of it although with intensive use, it may break down much quicker than this.
HP Envy Inspire 7900e review: The remote work printer you needed last year
A few years ago, it would have been unimaginable to think that we would still be as reliant on the printed document as we are today. But the reality of remote work changed that.
HP’s new Envy Inspire series has the distinction of being the first printer that was designed by engineers living under quarantine for everyone who has to live, study, and work from home during the pandemic. Printers have experienced a newfound renaissance in our workflows, and the 249 HP Envy Inspire 7900e is a printer that feels like it was created with that reality in mind.
It comes with some helpful features to keep us productive as the world looks forward to transitioning to a hybrid work environment when things return to normal.
Unlike HP’s Tango series, which was designed to blend in with your home, the new Envy Inspire doesn’t hide the fact that it’s a printer with a scanner attached to it. The Envy Inspire comes in two models: The Envy Inspire 7200e is the more compact iteration with a flatbed scanner on top, while the more premium Envy Inspire 7900e, the model we received for review and the one that’s launching first, comes with an automatic document feeder (ADF) with duplexing capabilities. The range starts at 179, though if you have more robust copying or scanning needs, we’d recommend you spend an extra 70 to upgrade to the 249 Envy Inspire 7900e.
Each printer model is available in a number of colors, including a green-hued Everglades, purple-toned Thistle, cyan Surf Blue, and a neutral Portobello. Regardless of which you choose, the Envy Inspire is made to look like a printer– no doubt about it.
The hues are applied as accents to provide a pop of color to an otherwise boring off-white box, and on our 7900e, we found the Portobello highlights on the ADF and on the paper tray.
Best HP Envy Printer – Review Guide For 2022
Measuring 18.11 x 20.5 x 9.17 inches, the 7900e is a utilitarian home office workhorse, with an ADF on top and a front-loading paper tray. The more compact 7200e could pass for a modern and boxy version of HP’s Envy 6055, while the 7900e series draws from HP’s OfficeJet Pro series for its inspiration.
Like most modern printers, both new Envy Inspire models come with a built-in 2.7-inch color touchscreen to access printer settings and shortcuts.
Because the Envy Inspire is mostly geared toward home users — families and students — and small home office workers, the paper tray is a bit small for the capabilities of this printer. On the front and toward the bottom of the printer, you’ll find a 125-sheet paper tray. This is more than double the 50-sheet input tray on the Tango X, but the paper tray leaves a lot to be desired for small office environments. Most home office printers start at around 200 sheets for the paper input tray, and the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025e comes with a 500 sheet tray. This means that for every time you replace the paper in the input try on the Office Jet Pro, you’ll have to do that four times on the Envy Inspire. Given that the Envy Inspire isn’t a compact printer to start with, we’d have loved to see HP increase the device’s overall height slightly to accommodate a larger input tray.
The new Quiet Mode reduces noise by 40% while it’s printing.
A new innovation, and one that’s appreciated, is that the photo printer tray slots directly into the paper tray as a modular add-on above where you’ll load standard 8.5 x 11-inch sheets. The photo tray can accommodate borderless prints in standard 4 x 6-, square 5 x 5-, or panoramic 4 x 12-inch sizes.
Traditionally on most printers, the photo tray is located on top of the paper tray but on the exterior. Relocating the photo tray to the interior helps to prevent dust buildup, especially if you aren’t printing pictures regularly.
The biggest design change — and one that you can’t visually see — on the new Envy Inspire is a new printing mode. A new Quiet Mode reduces noise by 40% by using Smart algorithms to slow down the printing process for a more quiet experience. The mode was developed during quarantine by HP engineers who found themselves disturbed by loud printer noises while on conference calls — a drawback of having to share office space with children who needed to print homework assignments.
HP claims it has combined the best features from its Tango, OfficeJet, and Envy line to create the Envy Inspire.
“We built what we think is the best printer, for families to work, learn, and create — really to get things done, no matter what life has in store,” Jeff Walter, HP director of strategy and product marketing, told Digital Trends. “Whatever you need to create, we can help families do that.”
Walter added that the Envy Inspire is a product that combines HP’s best writing systems from the OfficeJet Pros, the best photo capabilities, and the best app features from its HP Smart app.
The Envy Inspire wasn’t built for speed. Unlike office printers, home users aren’t queuing up around the printer to retrieve their documents. Still, the Envy Inspire is a robust printer capable of delivering speeds up to 15 pages per minute (ppm) in color and black-and-white, with the first page ready in as fast as 18 seconds.
Print resolution is up to 1200 x 1200 dots per inch( dpi) for monochrome pages and 4800 x 1200 dpi for color prints and photos. Print speeds here were just shy of the 24ppm output on the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025e, which is one of the best printers on our list this year. Compared to the slightly older HP OfficeJet Pro 8025’s 10ppm color speed, the Envy Inspire’s speed was no slouch.
To put the speeds into perspective, the Envy Inspire’s boxier build houses internals that allow it to print at speeds much faster than cuter, more design-centric home printers. The HP Tango X, another highly ranked printer, tops out at around 10ppm monochrome and 8ppm for color jobs, roughly half the speed of the Envy Inspire.
Page per minute is only half of the print speed equation, with the second half being how fast the first page can be ready. In my experience, I found that the first page was ready in just over 15 seconds, and HP’s print speed claims were largely accurate, with speeds hovering between 12 ppm and 16 ppm. Printed text appeared crisp and was legible even in small fonts.
Color prints were similarly sharp. Photos printed to Epson’s glossy photo paper appeared sharp, and the quality — sharpness, tones, and dynamic range — rendered by HP’s Envy Inspire rivaled prints created from online photo service Shutterfly. Shutterfly’s prints appeared slightly warmer compared to HP’s photo print rendering. And like Shutterfly, HP’s mobile app gives you access to a variety of different templates to create posters, greeting cards, invitations, and other printable content.
I cannot comment to how HP’s photo capabilities will be on HP photo printing paper, as none was supplied for this review. In general, most printer manufacturers recommend you pair their printer with their branded photo paper for the best results. HP stated that the new ink technology on the Envy Inspire delivers a 40% wider color gamut and new ink technologies to render true-to-life photographs.
HP claimed that when printing to 4 x 6, 5 x 5, or 4 x 12 paper, the printer will be Smart enough to choose the photo paper tray — rather than the standard letter-sized paper tray — for printing. I didn’t get to test this feature, as I didn’t have photo paper in these sizes to test.
Though it’s admirable that HP is promoting its Cloud-based approach to printing, the setup of the Envy Inspire could have been more simple. Out of the box, you’ll need to download the HP Smart app and follow the prompts to begin printer setup before you can print or make copies. The app will guide you in connecting to the printer’s ad-hoc Wi-Fi network so you can then connect to your home or office Wi-Fi network. After the printer connects, it will take a few minutes for the printer to update its firmware.
This means that unlike a traditional printer, not only is the overall process a bit involved, but you’ll actually have to use HP’s dictated process before you can do anything with your printer.
Unlike dedicated photo printers, the Envy Inspire doesn’t have separate cartridges for color ink. Instead, the printer is powered by two ink cartridges — a black one, and a combination cartridge with three ink colors for cyan, magenta, and yellow.
Both cartridges — and paper — need to be installed for you to begin setting up the printer, so we recommend you do this right after the printer is taken out of the box and all protective tape is removed — and there’s plenty of it!
The ADF on the top of the Envy Inspire 7900e can scan up to 50 pages at a time and handle up to 8.5 x 14-inch paper, while the flatbed can handle 8.5 x 11.7-inch sheets. Scanning resolution is set at 1200 x 1200 dpi, and scan speeds are at about 8 ppm. In addition to using the hardware for scans, you can also use your smartphone’s camera as a scanner with HP’s companion mobile app, which is available on both Android and iOS smartphones.
Duplex scanning, copying, and printing can be done on this printer, which will help you save paper if needed. If you’re worried about conserving ink, you can set the printer to print in draft mode. This mode will produce lighter prints, but you’ll use less ink and gain faster print speeds.
The nice thing about the Envy Inspire is that it comes with more advanced capabilities to simplify your document workflow, making it feel like a more capable office printer. You can set up custom shortcuts to simplify what you need the printer to do. For example, small businesses with more involved bookkeeping needs can program a shortcut to make a physical copy and upload a digital copy of a document to a Cloud service like Google Drive or QuickBooks whenever they scan a receipt or invoice. In addition to saving documents to the Cloud, you can also configure shortcuts to email you the scans.
Other useful features include the ability to create Printables, which are photo cards and invitations from templates. These are great for crafting or for sending a birthday card, for example, if you forgot to pick one up from the grocery store.
Another app feature is the ability to use the app to send a mobile fax. HP includes a trial of its mobile faxing service, and you can configure it to send a digital fax from the app. The Envy Inspire doesn’t include faxing capabilities natively, and this could be a useful feature for when you need to generate a fax.
I really appreciated HP’s new Quiet Mode, which reduces noise levels by about 40% by slowing down the print speed by approximately 50%.
“As we developed it, it was really interesting, … because we developed [Quiet Mode] during a time we also personally experienced,” Walter said. “So now if you’re working from home, and there’s multiple people in the house using the printer, you can, for example, schedule Quiet Mode from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., when you might be on Zoom calls, and have the printer print 40% Quieter during those times.”
Because I don’t need a printer to be a speed Champion at home, I generally have Quiet Mode always enabled, rather than scheduled for the working day, as there is a perceivable difference in the level of noise generated by the system.
“What we do is we essentially slow a lot of things down, and we try and optimize around this adjustment for how we could cut the noise roughly in half,” Walter explained. “And so we end up slowing it down by about 50%. There’s things like, you know, how fast is the paper turning? How fast is the cartridge going back and forth? And all those things create different decibel levels. And so some things are slowing down more than others, some are being adjusted more than others, and so we just tweaked everything.”
The Envy Inspire’s double-sided photo printing is a great addition.
The company explained that the print quality isn’t affected by Quiet Mode, which I found to be accurate.
For home users looking to print photos or work on scrapbooking projects while in lockdown, the Envy Inspire’s double-sided photo printing is a great addition. Not only does the Envy print gorgeous photographs, but it can extract the exchangeable image file format data from your smartphone’s camera to print the location from the geotag, the date, and the time on the back of the photo. This makes it easy to remember when the memory was created. You can also add your own personal note — like “Grandma’s 80th birthday” — as a caption.
For the time being, the duplex photo printing capability — with date, location, and timestamp — is limited to the mobile app, but the company is working on bringing it to its desktop software in the future. The reason for launching the feature on mobile first is that most of our photos are already on our smartphones, HP said.
The Envy Inspire is designed to work with PC and Macs, as well as Android and iOS devices. In addition, HP also worked with Google to make the Envy Inspire the first printer certified for Chromebooks.
“We also thought about all the devices that are going to be in the home,” Walter said. “So as more and more kids are doing schoolwork or technology is becoming more and more important for students, what we did is we work with Google, who has a certification program for Chromebooks. And we made sure that HP Envy Inspire is HP’s first printer that’s going to be certified to work with Chromebooks.”
The HP Envy Inspire joins HP’s printing universe as a capable printer for all your home, crafting, and work projects. With the Envy Inspire, HP has not only delivered on its promise to bring together the best inkjet technologies into a single printer, but it also created a tool with features that may prove to be helpful as more people work from home during the pandemic, including a Quiet Mode and strong photo capabilities.
Is there a better alternative?
HP’s Envy Inspire utilizes inkjet printing technology, and the company claims that it combines the best features from the Tango, Envy, and OfficeJet Pro lines. Suitable inkjet alternatives include the HP Tango series. Be sure to view our recommendations for the top inkjet printers.
If you need a faster printer to handle documents, HP’s OfficeJet Pro 9025e is a terrific alternative. At 249, the Envy Inspire 7900e, as reviewed, is 100 cheaper than HP’s dedicated office offering. The hybrid work/home market that the Envy is designed for makes it a more versatile solution, as it’s designed to print documents and photos. Stepping down to the flatbed scanner version of the Envy Inspire — the Envy Inspire 7200e is due early next year — will make the price even more competitive, as this model is expected to cost 179 when it launches.
Budget-conscious shoppers who are worried about the price of ink, refillable tank printers, like Epson’s EcoTank ET3830 will reduce your long-term ownership cost with cheaper, refillable ink tanks.
How long will it last?
HP’s printer is backed by a one-year limited hardware warranty that can be extended to two years. The printer benefits from periodic software updates to help it stay secure and potentially even gain new features over time through the HP Smart printing app.
Printers aren’t designed for annual or biennial upgrades like smartphones, and the HP Envy Inspire should last for many years provided you continue to supply it with fresh ink and paper. The company offers a subscription ink service that makes replenishing ink simple, but it doesn’t offer the same for paper. Having a combination subscription for replenishing ink and photo paper would make this an excellent printer for the craft room, home historians, and budding photographers.
Should you buy it?
Yes. If you’re looking for a home printer that can print, scan, and copy, the HP Envy Inspire is an excellent choice. Unlike Envy printers before it, the Envy Inspire doesn’t reinvent the printer design. Instead, HP plays up the utilitarian aesthetics of this printer to deliver a solid, all-around workhorse that will fit nicely into your home or home office workflow.
HP Envy Inspire 7955e All-in-One Printer Review
For nearly a decade, Bill focused on printer and scanner technology and reviews for PCMag, and wrote about computer technology since well before the advent of the internet. He authored or co-authored 20 books—including titles in the popular Bible, Secrets, and For Dummies series—on digital design and desktop publishing software applications. His published expertise in those areas included Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Photoshop, and QuarkXPress, as well as prepress imaging technology. (Over his long career, though, he covered many aspects of IT.)
HP Envy Photo 7855 Setup, Unboxing, Wireless Setup, Install Ink, Load Paper & Review !!
The Bottom Line
If you sign up for HP Plus, the Envy Inspire 7955e gains six months of free ink, making it a reasonable value for a home or home-office multifunction printer.
PCMag editors select and review products independently. If you buy through affiliate links, we may earn commissions, which help support our testing.
- Low running costs if used with Instant Ink and HP Plus subscriptions
- Solid overall print quality
- Warranty doubles from one year to two with HP Plus offer
- Steep initial purchase price
- Cost per page exceptionally high without Instant Ink
- Sluggish print speed
- Wasteful two-cartridge ink design
- No flash memory device port
HP Envy Inspire 7955e All-in-One Printer Specs
HP says that its Envy Inspire 7955e All-in-One Printer, a 269.99 multifunction inkjet designed for family rooms or home offices, comes endowed with “first-of-its-kind. advanced photo features.” to the point, it comes with six free months of HP’s Instant Ink subscription or cartridge-delivery service if you sign up for the company’s HP Plus plan. (See our explainer about HP Plus and Instant Ink.) The subscription makes the Inspire 7955e’s operating cost low enough to make up for its purchase price, which is excessive when compared with several photo-centric competitors with higher capacities or longer feature lists. If you can make that tradeoff, there’s a lot to like about this AIO, despite its antiquated two- instead of four-cartridge design.
From Envy Photo to Envy Inspire
While they don’t look much alike, the Envy Inspire 7955e is a successor to the Envy Photo 7855 reviewed here back in 2017. The newer all-in-one is white and boxy-looking, while the older model was matte black, with curved and sloped chassis surfaces. It’s similar in size and girth, at 9.2 by 18.1 by 15.1 inches (HWD), measured with its trays closed, and weighing 17 pounds.
Since 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. See how we test. (Opens in a new window)
What a difference five years makes: HP’s Envy Inspire 7955e (right) looks very little like its Envy Photo 7855 predecessor.
The Inspire is somewhat larger than other consumer-grade, photo-optimized AIOs such as the Canon Pixma TS8320 Wireless Inkjet All-in-One and the bulk-ink Pixma G620 Wireless MegaTank Photo Printer and Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8500. However, several others, including the Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 Small-in-One and the Canon Pixma TR8620, are a few inches taller and heavier. (If you’re thinking this is a crowded market, you’re not wrong.)
One reason some AIOs are a little bulkier is the presence of an automatic document feeder (ADF) mechanism attached to the scanner, which lets you copy or scan multipage documents without having to place your pages on the glass one at a time. The Envy Inspire 7955e has a 35-sheet, manual-duplexing ADF, meaning it can’t scan double-sided multipage documents without user intervention.
Canon Maxify GX4020
HP Color LaserJet Enterprise all-in-one printer M480f
HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile All-in-One Printer
In contrast, the Canon TR8620 has a manual-duplexing ADF that holds 20 sheets, while the Epson XP-7100’s auto-duplexing feeder holds 30 sheets. In addition to printing, copying, and scanning from a computer or handheld device via HP Smart App, you can also perform walk-up copy and scan jobs from a 2.7-inch touch-screen control panel.
From here, you can not only manage copy and scan tasks but also configure security and other options; manage consumables; and generate print usage and other types of reports. The same features are available through the Envy’s built-in web portal, a common feature among today’s printers. The web interface is accessible via most browsers, including those on your smartphone or tablet. You’ll likely find that jobs such as setting up security options are easier and less cramped in the web portal than on the small control LCD.
It’s important to note that, like many of HP’s consumer-grade AIOs, the 7955e uses only two ink cartridges—one black and one tricolor—instead of deploying a separate cartridge for each of the four process colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, commonly abbreviated CMYK). We have for many years objected to this configuration as wasteful, since it makes you throw away the tricolor cartridge as soon as one color runs out, no matter how much of the other two ink colors are left.
We’ll look further at ink issues, including cost per page and output quality, in a minute. To finish with the printer’s physical features, the Inspire’s paper handling consists of a 125-sheet input tray with a 15-sheet photo paper insert inside. HP rates the Inspire’s maximum monthly duty cycle at 1,000 prints, with a suggested monthly volume of 300 to 400. That marks the 7955e as a low-volume solution, but it’s more data than Canon and Epson give you—those manufacturers haven’t published volume ratings for their consumer photo printers for several years. For the record, both the Pixma TS8320 and TR8620 have two 100-sheet paper trays, while the Canon G620 holds 100 sheets of plain paper or 20 sheets of photo paper. Epson’s XP-7100 and ET-8500 each hold 100 sheets of plain paper and 20 sheets of photo paper.
Connecting to and Using the Envy Inspire 7955e
The older HP Envy Photo 7855 had more-robust connectivity options than the Envy Inspire 7955e, with support for Ethernet as well as Wi-Fi and a USB cable. The 7955e has only the latter two plus mobile printing via HP Smart App, Apple AirPrint, Mopria, and Chrome OS. It can also use a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connection for printer setup from your phone or tablet. The 7855 could also print from a USB flash drive or SD memory card, which the Inspire can’t.
HP Smart App is more than just a printer driver and interface for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices. It allows you to create and modify workflow profiles or scripts for various tasks, such as scanning to or printing from your favorite Cloud sites, or scanning to email, PDF, or an optical character recognition (OCR) program. You can even use your smartphone’s camera as a scanner, sending snapshots of pages to Smart App for treatment as scanned documents.
Smart App (shown here in three phone screens across) links the printer and scanner to your phone or other mobile device.
Testing the Envy Inspire 7955e: Entry-Level Print Speeds
HP rates the Envy Inspire 7955e at up to 15 pages per minute (ppm) for monochrome and 10ppm for color pages. Like most of HP’s AIOs, the unit comes out of the box ready to print two-sided automatically. When a printer’s default setting is auto-duplexing, we report both single- and double-sided test results. I tested the Envy over a USB connection to our Intel Core i5-based Windows 10 Pro testbed.
First, I clocked the 7955e as it churned out our 12-page Microsoft Word text document. It printed the single-sided pages at 15.1ppm and the double-sided document at an average of 6.7 images per minute (or ipm, where each page side is an image). The other printers discussed here were within 2ppm or 3ppm of that, except for the Canon Pixma G620 at a slow 6ppm.
Next, I timed the HP as it printed our collection of complex business documents, which include Adobe Acrobat PDFs packed with colored typefaces at varying weights and sizes, as well as charts and graphs with intricate gradients and dark fills; Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and charts; and Microsoft PowerPoint handouts with full-page, colorful business graphics. Merging those results with that of the text file, I came up with an average overall score of 7.2ppm. That’s the second fastest among the AIOs mentioned in this review; the Epson EcoTank ET-8500 was quickest, at a bit over 10ppm, and the Canon G620 the slowest, at 3.4ppm.
Finally, I timed the Envy Inspire 7955e as it printed a couple of brightly colored and highly detailed 4-by-6-inch snapshots. It took about 45 seconds per print, which is right on the money for an entry-level consumer photo printer.
Excellent Print Quality, Nearly Excellent Photos
HP positions the Envy Inspire 7955e as sort of a Swiss Army knife all-in-one, with an emphasis on photos, for homes and home-based offices. Before talking about its photographic output, though, let’s look at how well it prints letters, flyers, handouts, and other business documents.
Text quality proved excellent, with well-shaped and highly legible characters. Our full-page graphs, PDFs, and PowerPoints include gradients and deep black and other dark fills that some inkjets have trouble reproducing. But that wasn’t the case here—the 7955e performed well, though its relatively low-yield ink cartridges weren’t made for turning out lots of high-ink-coverage pages. The graphics printed nicely, but I found myself swapping out ink cartridges often.
That brings us to the Envy’s photo output. Over the years, HP’s two-cartridge Envy inkjets have become capable photo printers that churn out brilliantly colored images with little to no graininess and respectable detail; the 7955e will indeed do your family’s snapshots justice. That said, its black-plus-tricolor configuration cannot and does not match the wide color gamut or vivid range you’d get from a photo printer with five or six ink colors, such as the Pixma TS8320 or Expression Premium XP-7100.
As for the advanced photo features HP brags about, they include a couple of output options other than the usual borderless photos in sizes such as 3 by 5 inches, 4 by 6 inches, and 8.5 by 11 inches. The Envy can produce print panoramas and, for Instagram addicts, 5-by-5-inch square prints. It can also print captions or custom messages on the back of 4-by-6-inch photos.
Instant Ink and HP Plus to the Rescue
The ink math for this printer varies quite a bit depending on from where you source your ink. If you buy replacement ink cartridges at retail, the Envy Inspire’s operating costs would be roughly 7 cents per black-and-white page and 18.1 cents per color page, in both cases based on letter-size sheets with 5% to 25% content coverage.
If you’re willing, however, to sign up for HP Plus (creating an account with HP during setup), you get the first six months of an HP Instant Ink subscription gratis, with no obligation to continue beyond the initial free period. How much you pay for ink after that depends on the monthly subscription plan you choose—HP offers five options, ranging from 15 pages per month for 99 cents to 700 pages per month for 24.99.
The most appealing aspect of Instant Ink is that you pay a flat rate per page—a nickel if you subscribe to the 100-page plan for 4.99 a month, or just under 3.6 cents for the 700-page plan. It doesn’t matter how much ink an individual page contains—both a double-spaced page of black text and an 8.5-by-11-inch borderless color photo will cost you 3.6 cents under the thriftiest plan. If you print a lot of photos and other content-heavy pages, HP Instant Ink can be a first-class value.
As for the other printers discussed here, only the two bulk-ink machines—the Canon Pixma G620 MegaTank and the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8500, which hold their ink in reservoirs you refill from bottles—cost less to use than the Inspire with Instant Ink. Both are six-ink designs, which makes calculating exact per-page costs difficult, but Epson says that the ET-8500 churns out 4-by-6-inch snapshots for 4 cents each, while Canon claims the G620 produces the same prints for 2.5 cents apiece. Both have higher initial purchase than the HP (though the Canon not by much). Whether they’re worth the expense for you depends mostly on how much you plan to print.
All Good Except the Price
Like its predecessor, the HP Envy Inspire 7955e is a good fit for families and home offices with a wide range of print and copy needs. It supports many types and sizes of media, including square and panoramic photos, and signing up for HP Plus will get you not only six free months of Instant Ink but a second year of warranty coverage. As said above, 269.99 isn’t cheap for an entry-level inkjet, especially a two-cartridge model, but the subscription service improves the overall value considerably. If you are willing to commit to that recurring cost, the 7955e should make short work of your family’s homework, snapshots, church flyers, and coloring pages.
This versatile inkjet delivers great print quality at a high price
Tom’s Guide Verdict
The HP Envy Inspire 7955e offers high performance, high image quality, and plenty of features. Ink costs will be high without a subscription, however.
- Fast print and copy speeds
- High image quality
- Duplexer for two-sided prints
- 35-sheet document feeder
- Photo paper input tray (15 sheet capacity)
- – Ink costs are high without a subscription
- – Scanning speeds are a bit slow
- – Network and iOS setup was troublesome
- – Scanning requires a network connection
- – ADF lid hinges have no resistance
- – Starter cartridges run out quickly
Why you can trust Tom’s Guide?
Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what’s best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.
The HP Envy Inspire 7955e (270) is a versatile inkjet printer that offers plenty of features for a fair price. Outfitted with an automatic document feeder (ADF) and a duplexer for making two-sided prints, this full-featured all-in-one is well equipped for most office tasks, and offers a second input tray for photo paper. This model does not, however, offer fax capability.
The Envy Inspire is optimized for use on a network, and is best suited for an online setup. For example, to use the HP Smart software to make my first scan, I needed to set up an account with HP. This quickly prompted a query asking whether I was liking the HP Smart app, as well as a solicitation to sign up for an Instant Ink subscription. To control ink costs, you will most likely want to sign up for a subscription (more on that later).
The Envy Inspire uses two ink cartridges: a pigment-based black and a dye-based tri-color cartridge. The 7955e comes with six months of free ink refills via the HP Instant Ink subscription plan. You’ll want to sign up fast: The starter color ink cartridge ran out very quickly in my testing. The recommended monthly page volume is 300 to 400 pages.
HP Envy Inspire 7955e review: Design
There are two input trays: a 125-sheet cassette and a 15-sheet photo paper tray, which handles 5 x 5, 4 x 6 and 5 x 7-inch sizes. Custom sizes can’t be accommodated in the photo paper tray, though panoramic paper can be fed through the main input tray. The output tray can hold up to 60 sheets. The ADF holds up to 35 sheets.
The 2.7-inch color touch screen is handy for stand-alone operation. I found it responsive to my entries and swiping through menus. It’s a little on the small side, however. The comparably priced Canon Pixma TS8320 sports a 4.3-inch color touch screen. For operating the printer from a PC or mobile device, HP offers the previously mentioned HP Smart app. There are not any media card slots or USB direct port for connecting a thumb drive.
You’ll need some space to accommodate this network-centric printer’s footprint. Measuring 18.1 x 20.5 x 19.2 inches, the Envy Inspire 7955e is larger than many inkjets, including some models outfitted with ink tanks (which tend to be bigger than those that use ink cartridges). Having a duplexer for making two-sided prints also tends to add volume to the chassis. But by comparison, the Canon G6020 (which uses ink tanks and has a duplexer) is still significantly smaller than the Inspire 7955e, measuring only 15.9 x 14.6 x 7.7 inches.
You will want to give this HP some vertical clearance, as well. The scanner lid’s hinges don’t offer resistance for holding up the lid and ADF, so you’ll need to prop it up at 90 degrees if you want to use both hands while placing a document on the scanner glass. Despite its size, this HP Envy weighs a modest 17.9 pounds.
Paper sensors free you from telling the printer what kind of photo paper you have loaded in the second paper tray. At first, this can be confusing. The LCD menu shows both the main tray paper setting as well as the photo paper tray setting, although the photo paper setting is grayed out. This lets you know that you do not need to select the paper type; it has been recognized. You will still need to confirm plain paper sizes in the main tray when you refill it.
The printer offers a quiet mode, which is 40 percent quieter than regular operation, according to the company.
HP Envy Inspire 7955e review: Print Speed
The HP Envy printed our five-page text document in 32.2 seconds, or 9.3 ppm. This was faster than the average of 9.1 ppm. Graphics printing also was faster than the average. The HP Envy printed our six-page PDF of color graphics and text in 1 minute and 41 seconds, or 3.6 ppm. This was significantly faster than the average of 2.7 ppm.
Using its duplexer, the HP Envy made two-sided prints quickly as well. It printed a 10-page text document on five sheets in 2 minutes and 49 seconds, or 3.6 ppm. After printing the first side of a two-sided sheet, the LCD displays a message that the page is drying, which lasted for roughly six seconds. By comparison, the Canon TR8620 (180) made the same print more slowly, at 3.1 ppm.
Making two-sided prints of our color PDF was also quick. The HP Envy printed the six pages on three sheets in 2 minutes and 52 seconds, or 2.1 ppm. On this document the wait time in between the two sides was roughly 11 seconds. By comparison, the comparably priced Canon Pixma G6020 (which uses ink tanks) made the same print more slowly, at 1.8 ppm.
Similarly, The Envy Inspire 7955e printed photos quickly. It printed our landscape photo on letter-size paper in 2 minutes and 49 seconds. This was much faster than the average of 4 minutes and 20 seconds.
HP Envy Inspire 7955e review: Copy and Scan Speed
Copy speeds were as impressive as print speeds. Copying a color page took just 21 seconds, among the fastest times we’ve recorded, and significantly faster than the average of 34.2 seconds.
The Inspire 7955e made a black-and-white copy in 15.4 seconds, beating the average of 19 seconds.
Using its ADF, copies were made quickly. A single-sided copy of a five-page text document finished in 41.9 seconds, or 7.2 ppm. By comparison, the Brother MFC-J805DW made the same copy at 6.8 ppm, while the Canon TR8620 did so at 6.7 ppm.
Scanning speeds were slower than the average. The Envy Inspire 7955e scanned an 8×10 color photograph to JPEG format at 600 dpi in 1 minute and 24 seconds. By comparison, the Canon TR8620 made the same scan in 59 seconds. The average is 1 minute and 10 seconds.
Scanning in black-and-white to PDF format also was slower than the average. Scanning at 300 dpi, the Inspire 7955e produced a PDF in 19.8 seconds, compared to the average of 11.9 seconds. The Canon TR8620, by contrast, captured the scan in just 8.8 seconds.
Using the ADF to scan multipage documents, the Inspire 7955e captured a page of text to PDF format in 28.1 seconds, including a few seconds to confirm the file save. Turning off the edge detect feature shaved a few seconds off the scanning process, but this will require manual cropping for non-standard sizes.
HP Envy Inspire 7955e review: Print Quality
The Envy Inspire 7955e made high-quality prints across the board. Text prints looked attractive; letterforms were dark and the edges looked fairly sharp up close. Lumpiness at the edges was only noticeable at close range.
Graphics printed with attractive, natural-looking colors that were faithfully reproduced in most cases. Fine details looked sharp, though pixels were noticeable in some textures that could have looked a little smoother, when viewed up close.
When using the duplexer, two-sided prints of our color PDF looked slightly less sharp than when printed single-sided. The graphics were not quite as sharp in the fine details, and text edges were softer than on one-sided prints.
Glossy photo prints looked attractive overall, with high-quality reproduction of details, textures and colors. The prints had a tendency to exaggerate reds and yellows slightly, producing a warm or slightly oversaturated look—but not always. One photo I printed multiple times on 4×6 matte paper looked less saturated the first time, but the second print was noticeably more red and closer to the on-screen original.
Photos with dark shadows tended to lose some fine details in the shadow areas of the print, flattening the overall look. On matte paper in particular, this had a tendency to flatten the image slightly.
Scan quality was high. Text and graphics were reproduced faithfully on a par with all-in-ones in its class. In a scan of a photograph, subtle details in dark shadows were reproduced, rather than becoming a blocked-up patch of black. Fine details in scans of photographs were reproduced well, and prints made at full size looked good overall. When viewed at roughly the original 8×10-inch size, the HP Inspire created details that looked sharper on a PC screen compared to the same photo scan from the Canon TS8320. Enlarging the images to actual scan file size, however, revealed artifacts in the HP’s scans that produced an unnatural look and distorted edges, presumably from sharpening. As with our glossy prints, the scans leaned warm, emphasizing reds and yellows. This looked pleasing on lighter skin tones, though on other subjects the effect was arguably a little unnatural-looking.
HP Envy Inspire 7955e review: Ink Cost and Yield
The Inspire 7955e comes with six months of ink. If you continue with the ink subscription, you will need to decide on a plan, depending on how much you expect to print. If you choose to go the old-fashioned route and buy ink cartridges without a subscription, you will pay higher than average prices.
Using standard cartridges, ink costs are high. Costs per page are 9.5 cents (text) and 24.6 cents (color), which are far above the averages of 5.5 cents and 15.7 cents, respectively. Using high-yield cartridges results in lower ink costs, but they are still above what many other models offer: 7 cents (text) and 18.1 cents (color), versus the averages of 4.3 cents and 11.2 cents.
For a full run-down of HP’s Instant Ink subscription service, see “What is HP Instant Ink?” https://www.tomsguide.com/news/HP-instant-ink. In short, the company offers five plans to choose from, based on how many pages you print. It seems most likely you will save money with the ink subscription plan – compared to the high costs per page without one.
The basic plan allows for 10 pages per month, costs 99 cents, and thus costs 10 cents per page. The 3.99 occasional plan lowers cost per page to 8 cents, allowing 50 pages per month. The 100-page moderate plan costs 5.99, or 6 cents per page.
All these cost per page calculations assume you use up all your plan’s pages. You are allowed to rollover pages, however, though there are some limitations. Important to note is that all pages cost the same in these calculations. The more you print in color, the more money, in theory, you could be saving.
However, given the Envy Inspire’s large size, it’s worth considering whether an ink tank model might make more sense. For example, the comparably priced Canon G6020 offers extremely low ink costs of just 0.2 cents (text) and 0.8 cents (color), without an ink subscription. (HP also makes ink tank printers, though we have not tested one under 300).
If you don’t plan to sign up for an ink subscription, be forewarned that the starter ink cartridges (which hold less ink than standard cartridges) ran out very quickly in our testing. After just 22 text pages, 26 color pages, and four 8 x 10 glossy photo prints, the color cartridge needed to be replaced.
HP Envy Inspire 7955e review: Setup and Software
Getting the HP Envy Inspire set up was not as smooth as I’d hoped. For all the promised convenience of a wireless network and internet connectivity, I found myself wishing for the convenience of a plug-and-play USB cable setup. The printer does have a USB port and I did set it up as such for some testing, but you can’t use all of HP Smart’s features without an online account, which I found frustrating. For example, you can’t set up shortcuts for scanning at specific settings or to email, etc.
Using the QR code on the quick setup guide, I downloaded the HP Smart app to my iPhone. But after briefly connecting with it, the connection dropped and the next three attempts failed. The Envy Inspire’s blue light was blinking, indicating that wireless was enabled, but my iPhone could not see it.
Trying another route, I consulted the printer’s touchscreen. The menus allowed for entering the printer’s IP address. But neither the on-screen menu or the printed quick start guide offered help where this would be found. The touchscreen would not leave the product tour slide presentation, so I was stuck. When I did locate the IP address and tried entering it in the iOS HP Smart app, it would not accept the hyphens. So, I was still unable to connect.
When this got ironed out, I used the iOS HP Smart app to set up a Wi-Fi connection, and pressed the WPS button on my wireless router, when prompted. After connecting, the app instructed me to turn on location and Bluetooth on my phone, though both of them were already on. When selecting the printer in my iPhone’s Wi-Fi settings, I was prompted for a password, but I was not sure if it was asking for my iPhone password or my HP Smart password. So, I ended up having HP send me codes that expired in just a few minutes, and I had to repeat the step.
On my Windows 10 PC, I was prompted in the HP Scan software to set up an online account. Right after the first scan, I was asked whether I was enjoying the HP Smart. Given what followed, this question was premature.
You can print text documents, emails and photos from their native applications. But PDF files will not print from Acrobat Reader. To print PDF files on the Envy Inspire 7955e, you must use the HP Smart software.
As for scanning, HP Scan works fine for basic tasks, but it can be finicky and more trouble than it’s worth. Although it has presets for scanning and automatically cropping 4×6 and 5×7 photos, it does not have an 8×10 setting and so you will have to crop these scans yourself. There is an auto crop feature, but it’s not reliable. When scanning an 8×10 photo collage, the auto crop feature homed in on the frame around the team photo, completely ignoring the remaining 40 percent of the image, including a background and an individual portrait.
After scanning, the software’s on-screen “OK” button could not be engaged by pressing enter on my PC’s keyboard. To save the scan, I had to mouse over to the on-screen button and click it with my mouse each time.
HP Envy Inspire 7955e review: Bottom Line
The HP Envy Inspire 7955e offers a lot of features and praise-worthy performance for a fair price. The photo paper tray, ADF and duplexer make this all-in-one a versatile tool for home and office tasks. With fast printing and quick copying, plus high image quality across the board, you don’t sacrifice quality for speed. The outsized chassis, however, may not fit in cramped quarters.
Keeping ink costs reasonable requires an ink subscription plan. Some features only work within the HP ecosystem (such as printing PDFs) or require an online account. If this online-dependend and network-centric approach sounds more like a convenience than a limitation, the Inspire 7955e will likely meet your expectations.