HP Envy 7855 Printer Review: Versatile Document and Photo Printing at Home

The $200 HP Envy 7855 is a well-rounded all-in-one inkjet printer that offers a decent assortment of features, solid performance and high print quality. With fax capability, a dedicated photo paper tray, a duplexer and an automatic document feeder (ADF), the Envy 7855 handles most home and office tasks handily, and is aided by a color touch screen with swipeable menus.

Design

The Envy 7855 is a bit on the bulky side, at nearly 19 inches wide and over 19 inches deep with its output tray extended. Its look is clean and uncluttered, mostly because the control panel has a smooth plastic face with just one button (the power button) and a touch screen.

The 2.7-inch color touch screen sits on a fixed control panel that's angled upward. There are no physical buttons for printer functions, so in stand-alone use, you have to use the touch screen. The screen allows you to swipe, which is convenient for getting through menus.

Atop the chassis is the 35-page ADF, which is most handy for making multipage copies. To make single copies, or to scan a photo, you lift the lid and ADF to reveal the scanner glass. However, the lid's hinges provide no resistance, so you must lift the lid the entire 90 degrees, or support it while placing your document.

The photo-paper tray sits above the main input tray; you slide it out of the way to load paper into the standard drawer. It can hold paper up to 5 x 7 inches. This drawer sits beneath an output tray, with a catch that springs outward during printing if you have pushed it into the tray. In tight quarters, this may matter, as its protrusion makes for roughly 19 inches of total depth from the back of the chassis.

The Envy 7855 uses two ink cartridges: a tricolor cartridge of dye-based inks, and a black cartridge filled with a new pigment-based ink meant to deliver deeper black shades.

In addition to offering dual-band Wi-Fi and USB connections, the front panel has an SD card slot and a direct print USB port for printing from memory cards and thumb drives, respectively.

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Print Speed

The Envy 7855 printed our five-page text document in 33 seconds, at 9.1 pages per minute (ppm). This bested the category average of 8.1 ppm. (The HP Envy 5540, for example, took 36.9 seconds to print the same document.) The Envy 7855 was quite slow, however, at printing our color PDF document of text and color graphics, taking 4 minutes and 15 seconds (or 1.4 ppm). The category average is 2.4 ppm, or 2 minutes and 31 seconds. The Epson XP-640, the fastest model tested to date, printed our PDF at 5.1 ppm (in just 1 minute and 11 seconds).

Using its automatic duplexer, the Envy 7855 makes two-sided prints and copies. It printed two-sided text documents at 3.7 ppm, which is faster than the 3.3-ppm average. As with making single-sided prints of our color PDF, the Envy 7855 was comparatively slow, printing at 1.2 ppm, versus the average of 1.7 ppm.

Photo-printing speed was middle of the road. The Envy 7855 printed our letter-size test photo onto glossy paper in 3 minutes and 1 second. By comparison, the Canon Pixma TS6020 printed the same photo in less than 2 minutes (1:54), while the pokey Brother MFC-J985DW took a whopping 6 minutes and 47 seconds.

Interestingly, print speeds were faster using an Android phone instead of a laptop running HP Smart software under Windows 10. Using the same documents, the HP Envy 7855 printed the six-page PDF in less than half the time, in 1 minute and 45 seconds (or 3.4 ppm, compared to 1.4 ppm). Similarly, the letter-size photo printed in 2 minutes and 9 seconds, shaving off 52 seconds.

Copy and Scan Speed

Copies of a one-page text document arrived at a roughly average speed of 15.7 seconds. Use of the ADF, however, set the Envy 7855 apart from other models. It made single-sided text copies at a rapid 7.2 ppm, compared with 4.4 ppm on the Brother MFC-J985DW and 3.4 ppm on the Epson WF-2760.

Adding the duplexer to the mix did not change the Envy 7855's substantially better performance. While both the HP OfficeJet 4650 and the Epson WF-2760 made the same two-sided copy of a five-page text document at 2.7 ppm, the Envy 7855 did so at a brisk 4.3 ppm.  

The Envy 7855 made a color copy 4 seconds faster than the category average of 28.1 seconds. By comparison, the HP OfficeJet 4650 was more than 10 seconds slower than the Envy 7855, at 34.4 seconds, while the Canon Pixma TS6020 was the fastest model in the category, at 19.2 seconds.

The scanning speed for text documents was slower than average. The Envy 7855 took 14.5 seconds to make a 300-dpi gray-scale PDF, compared with the average of 11.6 seconds. Scanning at 600 dpi in color to JPEG format took 1 minute and 10 seconds, which is roughly the average.

Print Quality

Text documents printed at high quality. Letterforms had sharp edges and were sufficiently dark.

Graphics on plain paper printed with rich colors; deep, dark shades; and smooth textures. Some dark areas, however — particularly flat areas in graphics — showed some banding.

Photo prints on glossy paper looked well saturated, colors appeared accurate and fine details were sharp.

The Envy 7855 made attractive copies of documents. Gray-scale copies of graphics, however, lost some of the subtleties in midtone transitions, while text retained most of the sharpness in the original.  

Scans of photos had very natural color and retained a good amount of detail in shadow areas. Text was less attractive, however. Edges of letterforms looked a little lumpy and not as sharp as in the original document.

MORE: Best Photo-Editing Software From Beginner to Pro

Ink Cost and Yield

Ink costs are just above the average, if you buy ink the traditional way. Printing text documents costs an estimated 9 cents versus the average of  8.1 cents per page. Using high-yield cartridges lowers the cost to 7 cents per page, versus the average of 6.1 cents.

Printing color pages costs an estimated 24 cents per page, compared with the average of 22.4 cents (or 18 cents versus 15.2 cents using high-yield cartridges).

However, HP is touting that you can print photos for less than 5 cents each. This is based on a best-case scenario when paying a monthly fee for an ink subscription, and does not include the cost of paper. The subscription allows for a certain number of pages per month, regardless of size. This sounds great, in theory — you could print all 8 x 10-inch photos for 5 cents each. But because you are locked into a monthly fee, the only way to actually keep the cost at 5 cents is to use up all or most of your monthly print allowance every single month. Unused pages increase your cost per print.

The convenience is that ink is delivered automatically when the printer is running low.

Setup and Startup Time

Setup is easy. You just remove a few pieces of tape, take out some cardboard in the ink tanks and you're about ready. After turning on the unit, you select a language and country on the touch screen, where you'll receive instructions to go to 123.hp.com to download the software.

The Envy 7855 is a little slow to get up and running, taking 44 seconds to start up. Once it's up and running, however, it quickly wakes from sleep when you touch the screen.

The Wi-Fi setup is easily performed from the touch screen. Using the setup wizard, you can use WPS mode and put the 7855 on your network by pressing the WPS button on your wireless router. To help maintain a Wi-Fi connection, the unit uses automatic switching of 2- and 5-GHz bands.

Software

HP offers its Smart software suite for printing and scanning. You can add the fax driver, if you choose. You can perform all these functions, including copying, from the touch screen as well. Features of the HP Connected platform include cloud storage, sharing and tracking your print history.

Using the HP Smart app for iOS or Android, you can print documents and photos from a smartphone or tablet. The app is simple to set up. Included in the main screen are options to print photos, scan to email, print documents and print Facebook photos.

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Bottom Line

The full-featured HP Envy 7855 offers high print quality, lots of features and enough speed to handle a variety of home and home office jobs. Offering fast text printing, speedy photo printing and a quick document feeder for making copies of multipage documents, this all-in-one printer does most tasks very well. Ink costs for this printer can be low  if you have a subscription, but are otherwise above average.

Compared to the Canon Pixma TS6020, the Envy 7855's versatile printing and convenient ADF really stand out, but the Canon is still our top pick. It offers faster printing overall, faster single-page copying, quicker scanning and a lower cost per page when you buy ink through standard outlets.

Credit: HP

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