HP Envy Photo 7830 review

HP’s Envy printers have been around for a few years now, but the latest additions to the range are now being called ‘Envy Photo’, putting more of an emphasis on printing family photos, holiday snaps and selfies from mobile devices. There are three models in the new range and we've tested the top-of-the-range Envy Photo 7830, which is a four-in-one wireless printer that also includes a scanner, copier and – somewhat oddly for a ‘family printer’ – a fax machine.

HP Envy Photo 7830: Price

You can buy an Envy Photo 7830 from HP's website for £125. There is a second model, called the Envy Photo 7130, which omits the fax machine and document feeder, but is only about £5 cheaper, so the 7830 model actually seems to be better value.

Alternatively, there’s the entry-level Envy Photo 6230, which has a smaller mono touchscreen, and lacks an SD slot for printing from memory cards, but brings the price right down to around £80.

And don't forget to look at our roundup of the best printers for other options.

HP Envy Photo 7830: Features & design

This is a neatly designed printer which manages to squeeze an impressive set of features into a compact chassis that measures just 193mm high, 430mm wide, and 410mm deep.

HP Envy Photo 7830 review

As well as the 1200dpi printer, scanner and fax, the Envy Photo 7830 also includes a 125-sheet paper tray and 25-sheet output tray, along with a second input tray that can hold 15 sheets of photo paper.

There’s also a 35-sheet document feeder for the fax machine and scanner, and the whole range of Envy Photo printers support two-sided printing so that they can handle a wide variety of documents, as well as just Instagram selfies.

There’s USB and Wi-Fi connectivity with support for Apple’s AirPrint for iOS devices, while Android users get HP’s ePrint app for their phones and tablets.

HP Envy Photo 7830: Performance

When printing on ordinary office paper, HP quotes speeds of 15 pages per minute for mono and 10ppm for colour graphics, while glossy postcard prints should take around 40 seconds each.

Our tests actually produced speeds of 13.5ppm for mono and 7ppm for colour on plain paper, which are perfectly fine for a low-volume home printer, and text and graphics quality were both very good, so the 7830 will certainly be able to handle a wide range of documents at home or in a small office.

However, photo output is something of a mixed bag. The 45-second print speed for our postcard prints was pretty good, but – despite HP’s emphasis on photo printing – the four standard cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks are used for printing. There are no extra 'photo' inks.

Our postcard prints did look good on glossy paper, although the contrast was a little heavy at times and couldn’t match more specialised photo printers that use five or even six inks to enhance flesh tones and other subtle graduated colours.

It’ll be fine for printing selfies and holiday snaps, but keen photographers who want to print really high quality portraits or landscape photography will probably want to look elsewhere.

Running Costs

This is where things get a bit complicated, as the 7830 goes out of its way to steer you towards HP’s Instant Ink subscription scheme, rather than simply buying replacement cartridges as and when you need them.

The standard-size cartridges included with the printer represent poor value for money. The black ink cartridges cost £16.00 and only last for about 200 pages – that’s a really painful 8p per page for simple mono printing.

Colour printing is just as bad, with the standard three-colour cartridges costing £20 and only managing 165 pages – or just over 12p per page.

It’s also annoying to see a photo printer that combines all three coloured inks – cyan, magenta and yellow – into a single ‘tri-colour’ cartridge, as that means you have to replace the entire cartridge even if just one ink runs out. Photo printers generally use separate cartridges for each ink in order to avoid waste.

Things are a bit better if you buy the larger XL cartridges, with the colour cartridge lasting for 415 pages and costing £36, which brings colour printing down to a more respectable 8.7p per page. However, mono printing is still very expensive – 5p per page, from the XL cartridge which costs £31 and lasts for 600 pages.

Instant Ink

It's almost as if HP has kept the cartridge prices high to pretty much force you to use its Instant Ink subscriptions. There are three options here, with each subscription charging you a flat monthly rate that allows you to print a specific number of pages each month, and then your printer simply sends an email to HP asking for new inks to be sent in the post when it needs them.

The cheapest subscription costs £1.99 per month and allows you to print 50 pages – which works out at a flat rate of 4p per page, regardless of whether you’re printing black and white or colour. The other subscriptions cost £3.49 per month for 100 pages (3.5p per page) and £7.99 per month for 300 pages (2.7p per page).

Those prices are good for colour and photo printing, but still relatively high for simple mono and text documents.

HP Envy Photo 7830: Specs

  • A4 colour inkjet printer with 1200x1200dpi resolution (1200x4800dpi enhanced)
  • 1200dpi scanner/copier
  • Paper tray 1 – 125 sheets
  • paper tray 2 – 15 sheets photo paper
  • 35-sheet automatic document feeder
  • Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi with Apple AirPrint
  • Dimensions: 193x430x410mm
  • Weight: 7.6kg
  • A4 colour inkjet printer with 1200x1200dpi resolution (1200x4800dpi enhanced)
  • 1200dpi scanner/copier
  • Paper tray 1 – 125 sheets
  • paper tray 2 – 15 sheets photo paper
  • 35-sheet automatic document feeder
  • Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi with Apple AirPrint
  • Dimensions: 193x430x410mm
  • Weight: 7.6kg

OUR VERDICT

If you like to print out lots of selfies and holiday snaps, or creative projects such as calendars and cards, then the Envy Photo 7830 with an Instant Ink subscription could genuinely save you a lot of money. However, it’s not a good option for home users who simply want a basic printer with modest running costs for occasional use.

HP’s Instant Ink subscriptions are good value when it comes to printing photos and other colour documents. However, simply buying ordinary replacement cartridges on an occasional basis works out very expensive, while mono printing is expensive regardless of how you buy the inks.