I have been doing a printer comparison of the HP Envy and the Epson Ecotank to see which one I prefer. I have been looking at all aspects of functionality, cost and quality.
Essentially I just use a printer to print out pictures for the kids , their homework and photographs and occasionally to copy things. Not a great deal, but I do like the quality to be good and it is important to me it is cost effective.
It is a very long time since I set up a printer and I unboxed the HP Envy and the Epson Ecotank with some trepidation I have to admit.
Both look sleek and efficient but the Envy is more streamlined and doesn’t have a worrisome ink tank attached to the side.
The Hp Envy 5540 (£69) can print, copy and scan and is wireless and you pay for your ink in monthly instalments.
The Epson Ecotank (£199.95) can also print, copy and scan and comes with 2 years ink supply which you pour into ink containers in the side section, which feed the printer through tubes.
Unboxing & Set up
They were both fairly straightforward to unbox but the HP Envy did look more straightforward and was indeed far simpler to put together. This was aided by easy to install cartridges and a really clear instruction book.
You simply add a colour and ink cartridge just as you normally would and follow the instructions to get it online. You can see the difference in instruction books in the above picture.
In comparison to the HP Envy,the Epson Ecotank resulted in a right mess! I managed to get ink all over me filling the tanks, the instructions befuddled me and I got a bit stressed out.
Simply adding a new cartridge into the Envy is child’s play – clean easy and quick.
Testing, testing 123
On a day to day basis we have been using both printers abut I have also been dong some specific tests.
I printed off pages in both draft and normal quality and on both occasions the HP Envy had more clarity of colour and definition. The Epson printed pages looked faded and as if the ink was on the way out.
When I tried with a longer document full of pictures this difference was again marked. The HP is far superior.
With a dry smudge test I found neither printers pages smudged but when I wiped a wet tissue over the printed photos the HP Envy survived intact (top picture) whereas the Epson smeared a little (below). When I spilt water over them the effect was similar.
The Epson was slightly quicker than the HP at printing photographs.
I tried to test the fade of photos printed from each printer by leaving them on the window sill but to be honest sunshine has been very sadly lacking the past two weeks and there was no signs of fade on either picture, interesting to note though that the HP Original Ink and HP Advanced Photo Paper delivers 60+ years of light-fade resistance under glass – now that is impressive!
In terms of price the HP printer would cost £1.99 a month for 100 pages which is the maximum we would print. So it would cost roughly £140 including ink purchase costs over 2 years. The Epson retails at £199 including ink to last 2 years. The HP Envy is more cost effective for us.
Both printers were easy to transport and use. I like that I did not have to keep changing the paper in the Envy and that it was safely stored inside and I could just pick between the photo and plain paper drawers. With the Epson I had to manually change it which was annoying,
Although I could physically see the ink reduce on the Epson, with the HP I could simply pop online to see exactly how many pages I had used up on my instant ink HP account which was very clear.
I think the fact that the HP Envy prints don’t smudge and the colour is so much clearer I would say over all impressions are this is a better printer for me. I like my photos to look good and don’t want faded looking pictures. I like saving money too. It is very convenient knowing what my ongoing costs are and having my ink sent before I run out.
The HP Envy would gets my vote!
Disclaimer: I was provided with both printers for the purpose of this review.