HP ENVY Photo 7855 Printer Review

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?

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Fax Capability

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.

Dual Cartridges

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Click here to purchase the HP ENVY Photo 7855 on Amazon.

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As always, check out my other reviews and happy printing!

21 thoughts on “HP ENVY Photo 7855 Printer Review”

  1. Thank you for your honest review- greatly appreciated. As you know some salespeople are not the best source for us simple old folks who still have a rotary telephone & are -Excuse Us ! Not nerdlike & are often talked down to by the younger generations in language which sounds similar to English but is truly not.
    Boot up- Why not just Start or Turn On for we old fogies, Etcs. ?? Did I mention the lack of words & talk like your kpc548 can trans… to allow your glockenship to spiel 176 per megabytes, but I suggest you consider a non-toxic hemo K528 if you’re going to ….YADDA YADDA YADDA.

    Thanks for the clear explanations in your review our fellow/gal American.

  2. Thanks for the review. Everything sounds great but I think another super comment would be about the paper trays, and that you can load 4×6 and 5×7 photo papers in the printer and can print either size from your smartphone and other devices without being home to load from only one photo tray.

  3. After spending $$$ on an Epson 360 Workhorse a few years ago, thinking it was the last printer I’d ever need, I’m once again in the market for a new one. The paper feeders need to be replaced and I refuse to spend $200 for a kit to open that #%# ? thing.
    Even though at my advanced age I mostly understand nerd language, I appreciate your user-friendly words. Since I often have no need to print for weeks at a time, I’m interested in determining which printer best suits my needs and your website is especially beneficial. Thank

  4. I was looking for a new printer to replace my HP Photosmart 7525. I wanted a printer that was able to print plain paper documents, Borderless, edge to edge. No matter what I tried to do in the settings, I could not make this 7855 print Borderless. It is very disappointing. The old 7525 did it all so well. Now I have to return this new machine and probably change brands to get what I need.

    • Sorry you had trouble, Robert. The HP ENVY Photo 7855 should print borderless photos up to letter size. I would guess there must have been a software issue.

      • Thanks for your reply. I have been experimenting with different settings. I have concluded that there is only one way to tweek the printer into producing a close-to borderless, plain paper, document. You must set the preferences to A4 size paper, boirderless ON, using “Other Photo Paper”. The result isn’t pefect, but teh printed page stectches out to almost all the page. It’s really a shame and so sad that HP took away so many of the great capabilties programed into their older printers. I upgraded to a different HP printer, the OfficeJet Pro 9015. Again, the same basic programing is on this printer as well, and I am left having to tweek all my special jobs to get close to desired results.

  5. I have had an HP Envy 5540 for a little more than 2 years. Warranty ran out a few months ago. It has stopped printing ink on the paper. I have attempted to troubleshoot it a few times without success. Telephone calls to Best Buy and local computer repair store resulted in their suggesting I replace printer. This printer was barely used. I am concerned about investing in another HP printer. Have you had experience with this issue?

    • Did you try replacing the cartridges? If it was barely used, they may have dried up.

      Tip: If you call a store that sells printers about a printer problem, they will always try to sell you a new one.

  6. Thanks for a really helpful review. Wondering where you see the 7855 to be considerably better than the 7155? I keep seeing the 7155 rated better but notice you find the 7855 to be superior for photo printing. Would love some further info on where they differ.

    • The HP 7155 and 7HP 7855 are the same printer except the HP 7155 is missing the auto document paper loader which the HP 7855 has. HP 7855 is of course slightly taller as well having the auto document feeder.

  7. Went to Best Buy knowing only that I was going to buy an HP photo printer. Upon finding multiple choices, I googled reviews for another Series before stumbling onto this page. Thank goodness I did! Your review of both of my choices was easy to understand, easy to find answers to my questions and concerns and guiding me into buying this series. I’ve not set it up just yet but look forward to it. Thanks for the help!

  8. I would really like to know how well the scanner works – currently using SnapScan at work at Love it but I need and all around printer for Home. I would appreciate any suggestions.

  9. Just bought this printer at staples for 109.99
    Didn’t realize it had color option for photo lol
    Just that it had everything and great price
    I would like to do some photos
    Your mention that I can do black cartridge only seals the deal for me.
    I found your review to be simple and honest
    Add me to your mailing list


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