This post was most recently updated on January 12th, 2019
The HP ENVY Photo 7855 is an all-in-one multifunction photo printer sitting at the top of HP’s ENVY line of photo printers. This is the line that replaced the super-popular Photosmart series and has delivered very good machines for the past few years.
HP’s ENVY line has had a few missteps, however; low-price low-quality machines, monochrome photo printers, and overly expensive cartridges for certain models.
So, if you are looking for the best photo printer for home use, you can feel pretty safe with most of the HP ENVY printers. What we’re here to find out is, is the HP ENVY Photo 7855 one of the best home photo printers, or is it another dud from HP?
The HP ENVY Photo 7855 has a lot going for it, building from its predecessor, the HP ENVY 7640. The HP ENVY Photo 7855 is an all in one photo printer, meaning it not only has an auto document feeder, but it features a fax function as well. I know to many this may be a silly feature in 2018, but some users still fax frequently. For many of my customers, a fax function is essential, but they are looking for a very low use printer, and they don’t want to shell out for a laser. The HP ENVY Photo 7855 is the perfect solution to that problem.
A great feature of the ENVY series is black-only mode, which the HP ENVY Photo 7855 also features. The HP ENVY series uses a dual cartridge system with a print head built into the cartridge, as opposed to most photo printers using five or more cartridges and a dedicated print head. Because the print head is in the cartridge, there is no damage to the printer to not have a cartridge inserted. So, the HP ENVY Photo 7855 is capable of printing just black with no color cartridge inserted.
This is a big deal for a lot of my customers. Most people want the ability to print photos, but they don’t print them all the time. With Epson photo printers you must have all five cartridges, and I’ve seen Canons with up to seven (light color cartridges are a scam, by the way). Hell, even the HP Photosmart series used a five-cartridge system. The HP ENVY Photo 7855 is capable of printing just with black, so you don’t need to insert a color cartridge until you want to crank out some photos.
I’ve had some customers ask if it can work the other way around, and the answer is no. Black provides the shading to color, and color printing needs all elements of CMYK printing; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (Black). However, while you get a denser and darker black with CMYK, printing in just black works great for text documents and the like. And, it saves you a ton of money on ink.
The drawback to a dual cartridge system is with the color. Having all the colors in one cartridge means if you run out of one color, you are replacing the whole thing (I’ll offer a fix for this in a moment). This means when you run out of yellow, you are replacing cyan and magenta, even if they aren’t empty. Now, 99% of the time, this isn’t an issue. Most people print colors at a pretty consistent rate, and the color cartridge is almost as cheap as other brands single color cartridges. However, if you print a lot of one color, like a lot of blueprints, you are going to be swapping your color cartridge more than you’d like.
Borderless Photo Printing
Another big plus for the HP ENVY Photo 7855 is the photo printing quality. The HP ENVY Photo 7855 has a 1200 dpi print resolution and makes borderless prints. This means that for any photo prints up to 8”x10”, the HP ENVY Photo 7855 will print all the way to the edge of the paper. With Epson photo printers, if you want a photo print to the edge, you better get an X-ACTO knife and a straight edge. This, along with a second paper tray for 4”x6” or 5”x7” photo paper, are included features that are photo printing essentials.
On top of everything I’ve mentioned, the HP ENVY Photo 7855 prints black and white up to fifteen pages/minute, and thirteen of color. I know this doesn’t sound like much, but for a photo printer it’s actually pretty fast. The HP ENVY Photo 7855 can print from a SD card, which is pretty common for photo printers. What is less common, however, is the USB reader. This allows you to scan to and print from a USB flash drive. This is an awesome feature for students; you can scan something quick to a thumb drive and then run to class or the library.
This printer also works wirelessly with mobile devices and has dual-band wireless connectivity. This means if you have a dual-band router, you can connect the HP ENVY Photo 7855 to the 5ghz band and keep a more stable wireless connection. This should help to lessen those frustrating instances of sending a document to the printer and never getting a job received.
Instant Ink Eligible
Lastly, the biggest benefit to this printer, in my opinion, is that it qualifies for HP Instant Ink. If you’ve read my review on HP Instant Ink, you know I’m a big fan. This printer doesn’t have very efficient cartridges, and you could be paying up to thirteen cents per page just for printing documents. And photos can be ten times that! With HP Instant Ink, you can print up to 300 photos per month for less than four cents per print. And, if you know how to print two 5”x7” photos on 8”x10” photo paper, that price drops to less than two cents per print. Nobody, and I mean nobody, will ever match two cents per print for photos. I don’t care what your volume discount is, nobody is matching that and turning a profit.
That was a long list of pros, probably the longest I’ve ever written for a photo printer. However, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
The first con for the HP ENVY Photo 7855 was mentioned above; the ink cartridges aren’t efficient, like at all. The standard size cartridges print about 200 pages of black, and 175 of color. While the cartridges are low-priced, if you print any sort of volume, you are going to be replacing cartridges a lot.
Some of my customers like this, as they only print a couple of pages per week. The thing you have to remember is photos take a lot of ink. Even an infrequent printer will run out of ink quickly if they print a couple of photos each month.
Another con is the speed. I know I listed this as a pro, because comparatively, photo printers are always slow. But that isn’t really much consolation to someone who is late and needs their tickets to print right now.
So, is the HP ENVY Photo 7855 the best photo printer on the market right now? Well…
Yes and no. The HP ENVY Photo 7855 can be a fantastic printer, but only for the right customer.
When I look at negative reviews for this printer, most of them are for the wrong customers. I’ve read negative reviews because the printer crapped out after being used as the office printer for a small business. People have told me that the documents print too slowly. I’ve read that the photos don’t print well on office paper. These are not customers who need a photo printer. These customers need an office printer that can sometimes do photos. They’d be much happier with an HP OfficeJet series printer than an HP ENVY series printer.
For photo customers, this is a great printer. That is, for customers who are looking to primarily make photo prints; meaning on photo paper to be put in frames or albums or the like. It is a great photo printer. It’s loaded with features that make it user-friendly and give it the ability to print documents occasionally.
So the verdict is this; I highly recommend the HP ENVY Photo 7855 for photo customers, with one caveat: you must get HP Instant Ink. If you don’t, then this printer is going to cost you an arm and a leg. If you are unwilling to get a subscription for ink, I totally get it. But, I think you’d then be better off with a different printer.
That’s it for this one. I really like the HP ENVY Photo 7855 and its versatility. Leave a comment below or email me if there’s anything you’d like me to review.