Multifunction Printer Reviews – Review 2020

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On the lower end of HP’s Envy
line of inkjets, the Envy 5055 All-in-One Printer ($129.99) is an entry-level all-in-one (AIO) built with families and home offices in mind.
Like our consumer multifunction Editors’ Choice, Epson’s Expression Premium XP-7100 Small-in-One,
the Envy 5055 prints well (especially photos), but unlike the somewhat pricier XP-7100, this HP AIO is a little short on features. Most notably, it lacks an automatic document feeder (ADF) for sending multipage documents to
the scanner. What the Envy does have over the XP-7100 and some other
competitors is an option for reducing running costs via HP’s
Instant Ink program. If you don’t do a lot of multipage copy or scan jobs, the Envy 5055, paired with Instant Ink, is a sensible pick for a home office with light needs.

Lean and Stylish

The Envy 5055 measures 5 by
17.5 by 14.5 inches (HWD) and weighs a hair under 12 pounds. Among its many competitors,
Canon’s like-priced and similarly featured Pixma TS6320 Wireless All-in-One is one of the closest in size and girth, primarily because neither machine comes with
an ADF. The tradeoff is, of course, that you give up the convenience of letting
your AIO feed itself multipage scan and copy jobs while you do something else
important, like catch up on the latest pandemic news, or perhaps something
more pleasant, like grab a snack.

HP Envy 5055 All-in-One Printer flatbed scanner

Typically, AIOs with ADFs, such
as the Epson XP-7100 or Brother’s MFC-J995DW INKvestment
Tank All-in-One
, are not only a little bigger, but also list for a little
more. Often, though, saving you and your family members from the time and tedium
of copying longer documents—placing pages on the scanner glass, scanning, removing, placing the next page, then
repeating the process—is a worthwhile investment. (By the way,
to get an ADF on an HP Envy AIO, you’ll have to step up to the Envy Photo 7855
or another Envy 7000-series model.)

Among the machines mentioned
here so far, all but the Pixma TS6320 come with touch-screen control panels (though relatively small ones). However, the Envy 5055’s 2.2-inch screen is
monochrome, compared to the full-color displays on the XP-7100 and MFC-J995DW. Color
displays allow you to, among other things, view previews of documents and
images prior to printing them directly from USB thumb drives or SD flash cards. But then, neither the Envy 5055 nor the Canon AIO support printing from
or scanning to flash memory devices. The Epson and Brother, on
the other hand, do support USB memory drives, and the Envy 7855 lets you use both
USB drives and SD cards.

As for connectivity, the Envy 5055’s standard
interfaces are Wi-Fi, connecting to a single PC via USB, and Wireless Direct,
HP’s version of the popular peer-to-peer network protocol Wi-Fi Direct, for accessing
the printer from your handheld smartphone or tablet without either belonging to a local area network (LAN).

HP Envy 5055 All-in-One Printer rear

Other mobile connectivity
options are Apple AirPrint, Mopria, HP ePrint (for printing emails and
attachments), and HP Smart App, a cross-platform driver with several workflow
automation and other value-added features. (A discussion of Smart App and the
other bundled software is coming up.)

As for paper capacity and volume
ratings, the Envy 5055’s paper tray holds up to 100 sheets of letter-size paper,
10 envelopes, or 20 sheets of premium photo paper. And HP rates the all-in-one’s maximum monthly duty cycle at 1,000 pages, with a recommended monthly
print volume of up to 400 prints. That’s 1,000 pages less than the XP-7100’s maximum duty
cycle, though its recommended volume is the same. The MFC-J995DW’s maximum is 4,000
prints higher than the Envy 5055’s, and its recommended peak volume is 1,100 pages
greater.

HP Envy 5055 All-in-One Printer paper drawer

I should note that, unlike
the photo-centric Epson, Canon, and HP AIOs discussed here, the Brother
MFC-J995DW is more of an entry-level business-oriented machine with less of a
focus on photograph printing and other family-oriented applications. Meanwhile,
Canon doesn’t publish volume ratings for the photo-centric Pixma TS6320.  

A Smart Software Bundle

The Envy comes with the HP
Smart App driver and HP Photo Creations, which doesn’t sound like much. Smart App
is more than just a driver, so let’s talk about Photo Creations first. While it’s
automated to walk you through much of its functionality, it’s basically a
lightweight photo editor similar to Canon’s Easy-PhotoPrint Editor, plus a collection
of templates, including photo-book layouts, calendars, and greeting cards.

The HP Smart App printer driver
runs on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Depending on the HP printer you use,
its functionality goes well beyond simply communicating between computing
devices and printers, though. For instance, it lets you use your handheld
device’s camera to scan documents to the printer or the cloud. Smart
App’s Smart Tasks is a collection of customizable workflow presets that
automate repetitive tasks, such as scanning to your favorite cloud site, scanning to
email or local folders on a networked PC or server, and printing remotely.

Smart App also performs the
optical character recognition (OCR) function of converting scanned pages to editable
text, a feature that often requires a separate bundled program.

No Speed Demon

A drawback to entry-level home-based
office printers is that most, like the Envy 5055, are slow. HP rates this Envy
at 10 monochrome pages per minute (ppm) and 7ppm for color pages. Six seconds
per page (or just under 10 seconds for a color print) may not sound slow, but
trust me, when you’re waiting for a dozen-page print job to finish, it is.

To assess its speed (or lack thereof), I tested the Envy 5055 over USB from our standard Intel Core i5 testbed running Windows 10 Pro. (See how we test printers.) It printed our 12-page Microsoft Word text
document at an average speed of 10.9ppm, slightly faster than its 10ppm rating.

Among the other AIOs mentioned
here, that score outpaced only Brother’s MFC-J995DW, by a negligible
0.4ppm. The Envy 7855 and Canon TS6320 beat the Envy 5055 by almost 2ppm, and the
Epson XP-7100 was quicker by 4.1ppm.

Next, I printed several
full-color Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint business documents
containing charts, graphs, and other business graphics and embedded photos.
Then, to calculate a comprehensive score for printing our full suite of test
documents, I combined these results with those from printing the 12-page Word document.

Here, the Envy 5055 managed a fairly dismal 3.3ppm. Most of the other machines talked about here beat that by
at least 2ppm, with the highest speed, 4.3ppm faster than the Envy 5055,
reached by the Brother. To be fair, though, the Envys and other photo-optimized
AIOs are not really designed for printing the big, complex business documents that
make up this portion of our tests.

Most of them are, however, designed
to print photos. The Envy 5055 churned out our colorful
and highly detailed 4-by-6-inch snapshots at an average time of 42 seconds apiece. That placed it behind all the other models here, with the
MFC-J995DW coming next to last at 32 seconds. The Canon Pixma finished first, taking just 20 seconds per snapshot, or more
than twice as fast.

Output Quality: Nothing to
Complain About

Like the Envy 7855 and other members of the family we’ve reviewed, the Envy 5055 prints good-looking text and respectable
graphics and photos—about what you’d expect from an entry-level inkjet AIO. The
text I printed came out crisp and highly legible at most point sizes, down to
about 8 points or so. This AIO’s text output should be acceptable for most
types of business, family, and student output.

Excel charts and graphs, PowerPoint
handouts, and Acrobat documents also looked good, except that dark gradients
and fills weren’t quite pristine. I saw mild streaking, but overall graphics
output was good.

As for photos, while HP has
done an excellent job at tweaking its four-ink (cyan, magenta, yellow, and
black) machines to churn out good-looking photos (they come out even better if
you use HP’s premium photo papers),
the competition in the consumer-grade printer market is stiff. Several
entry-level, photo-optimized AIOs, including Epson’s XP-7100 and Canon’s TS6320,
deploy five (sometimes six) inks. These additional colors provide a wider color
gamut (range) and greater detail, thereby producing more vibrant and accurately
colored images.

This is not to say that the
Envy 5055’s photos aren’t better than acceptable, but they’re not the best available
in this class. A nice touch, though, is that this AIO prints borderless
documents and photos up to 8.5 by 11 inches. Bordered photos, or images with a quarter-inch or so of white margin around them, seldom look as professionally finished as borderless
prints.

Color Pages and Photos at
Monochrome Costs

Historically, a downside to entry-level, photo-centric inkjet AIOs is that they cost a lot to use on a per-page basis. Nowadays,
though, with HP’s Envy line and several other consumer-grade printers,
you have options. If you choose the conventional method of purchasing ink
cartridges as needed when they empty (or get close to it), printing monochrome pages
on the Envy 5055 will cost you a whopping 10.3 cents each and color pages and even steeper 22.3
cents.

That’s significantly higher
than every printer mentioned here so far. The Canon TS6320 (and some other
TS-series Pixmas) and the Epson XP-7100 (and some other Expression models) use
five inks (some, such as the Pixma TS8320 and Expression Photo XP-8600, use six). Since there’s no way to figure out when the additional inks deploy, or
how much ink they dispense when they do, it’s difficult to come up with an
exact cost per page (CPP). Based on the ink usage information Canon provides
and my experience making these calculations, while these five- and six-ink AIOs’ costs per page are somewhat high, they’re still a few cents lower than those of the Envy 5055—when
you pay full-tilt for the cartridges, that is.

Brother’s MFC-J995DW, one of
that company’s INKvestment bulk-ink models, delivers CPP figures of 1 cent each for
monochrome pages and just under 5 cents for color ones. You can get even lower
running costs from Epson’s five-ink Expression Premium ET-7700 EcoTank
All-in-One Supertank Printer
. While it costs significantly more than the Envy 5055,
it and other consumer-grade EcoTank models (models that you refill from bottles instead of replacing cartridges) deliver CPP figures of just under a penny a page for both monochrome
and color pages.

This brings us to HP’s Instant
Ink subscription program, where, in this case, the Envy 5055 itself keeps track
of how many pages you print and, when it’s time to buy new ones, orders cartridges
from HP. Designed for low-volume users who print around 50 to 300 pages monthly, the program
offers three service levels, with the 300-page plan (at $9.99 monthly) working out to a cost of 3.5 cents per page. The huge advantage here, though, is that the cost works out to 3.5
cents per page for any page you print, be it a monochrome page with very little ink coverage or an
8.5-by-11-inch photo with 100 percent ink coverage.

Best for Photos

Let’s face it, with print
speeds of 10ppm or less, no ADF, and a meager 1,000-page maximum monthly volume
rating, the Envy 5055 is not ideal for most business applications. But with Instant
Ink, you can print hundreds of photos of all sizes up to 8.5 by 11 inches for $10 a month.
This little AIO’s scanner is an afterthought and
not really meant to process more than the occasional one- or two-page copy or scan job. From that perspective (and considering that, as I wrote this, I found the Envy 5055 in HP’s online store and all over
the web for $80), the Envy 5055 is a sensible solution
for family and light home-office use if you go the Instant Ink route

HP Envy 5055 All-in-One Printer

Pros

  • Reasonable initial purchase price

  • Low running costs with Instant Ink

  • Solid overall print quality

Cons

  • Wasteful two-cartridge design holds all four inks

  • Cost per page without Instant Ink exceptionally high

  • No ADF

  • No flash drive or SD card support

  • Sluggish output

View More

The Bottom Line

The HP Envy 5055 prints well and, if you sign up for HP’s Instant Ink subscription program, inexpensively, making it a good value for families and light-printing home offices.

HP Envy 5055 All-in-One Printer Specs

Product Category All-in-One Printers, Ink Jet
Type All-in-one
Color or Monochrome Color
Connection Type USB, Wireless
Maximum Standard Paper Size Legal
Number of Ink Colors 4
Number of ink cartridges/tanks 2
Direct Printing from Cameras No
Direct printing from media cards No
Direct printing from USB thumb drives No
Rated Speed at Default Settings (Color) 7 ppm
Rated Speed at Default Settings (Mono) 10 ppm
Monthly Duty Cycle (Recommended) 400
Monthly Duty Cycle (Maximum) 1000 pages per month
LCD Preview Screen No
Printer input capacity 100
Cost per page (monochrome) 10.3 (3.5 with Instant Ink)
Cost Per Page (Color) 22.3 (3.5 with Instant Ink)
Print Duplexing Yes
Automatic Document Feeder No
Scanner Type Flatbed
Maximum Scan Area 8.2″ x 11.7″
Scanner Optical Resolution 1200×1200 pixels per inch
Standalone Copier and Fax Copier

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