HP’s Envy 5660 e-All-in-One Printer

Entry-level small- and home-based office multifunction printer

HP Envy 5660 e-All-in-One Printer

Some of the more difficult printers for me to review are entry-level (say, under $150) models designed for small-and home-based offices. For these low-cost models to return a profit for the manufacturer, said manufacturer must charge a premium, calculated on a per-page basis, for ink. What this means, in the long run, is that the printer itself makes sense only if you’re print load is very light, say as low as 50 to 100 pages per month.

Entry-level all-in-ones, like the topic of this review, HP’s $149.99 MSRP Envy 5660 e-All-in-One Printer (while it doesn’t say so anywhere on the box), are inherently low-volume machines, what I like to call “occasional use” printers. As long as you understand that this Envy is not designed to crank out page after page, day in and day out, but instead just now and then, you should get good value from this Envy.

Design and Features

Frankly, nearly everything about this Envy, from its 125-sheet input tray to its 25-sheet output tray, and everything in between, suggests low-volume—starting with the lack of an automatic document feeder atop of the scanner. Instead, you have a manual, single-sheet scanner that makes scanning longer documents (say, anything over two or three pages) tedious and time-consuming to copy or scan. And things get worse—much worse—if the original document being scanned is also (in addition to being multipage) double-sided.

Like Epson’s Small-in-One AIOs, such as the Expression Home XP-420 Small-in-One, the Envy 5660’s appeal comes from its petite, somewhat fashionable design. At one time, HP’s “Envy” placard was reserved for somewhat elegant products, computers and printers, such as the Envy 110, which looks more like an entertainment center component, than a multifunction printer.

At about 18 inches wide and 16.1 inches from front to back, this Envy has a relatively small footprint, meaning that it should fit nicely on your desktop, and at a mere 6.3 inches high, it should fit neatly under (or in) low-hanging shelves. In any case, it supports Wi-Fi, which should make finding a place for it simpler, in addition to USB, and you can print PC-Free, from in front of the printer, from an SD card. You can perform these and other walk-up options from the front of the device from its 2.7-inch touchable color LCD.

As are most HP printers, this one is loaded with cloud options, including HP’s own printer apps feature, which allows you to print from and scan to literally hundreds of participating sites, such as CNN, Disney, and numerous business form repositories and legal document sites. In addition, this Envy supports several mobile device connectivity options, such printing via Google Cloud Print, Apple AirPrint, Wi-Fi Direct, and several others. If you are unfamiliar with today’s various mobile printing options, check out our Printing from Your Mobile Device” article.

Performance, Paper Handling, Output Quality

Frankly, the Envy 5660 is, compared to several competing models, slow—as in slower than most. Nearly every inkjet printer I’ve seen test results for is faster than this one. But since this is an occasional-use machine, if you use it as such, all that really shouldn’t matter. Since (if you take my advice), you’ll be printing less than 100 pages per month on it, as you’ll see in the “Cost Per Page” section next, that just doesn’t cost that much.

As for paper handling, as mentioned, the Envy 5660 has a 125-sheet input tray near the bottom of the front of the chassis; inside of that, you’ll find a photo paper insert that holds up to 15 4x6-inch premium photo sheets.

Output quality? It was fine. I’ve seen much better and much worse. Output should hold up fine to most average family needs, and the photos I printed looked pretty good, but I don’t suggest you buy this printer if photos is one of your primary motivations. Several photo-optimized models, such as Canon’s Pixma MG7520 AIO, and even a few HP models, print better photos.

Cost Per Page

Depending on how and how much you use your printer, with HP’s relatively new Instant Ink program, as long as you don’t print much, ink can be cheap. For instance, you get enough ink, according to HP, to print 50 pages—for $2.99 per month. That comes out to about 6-cents per page, black-and-white or color. Yes, that’s a lousy price for monochrome pages, but it’s quite low for color pages, more than averaging out the CPP (unless you print only black-and-white pages, that is).

Using the other more conventional method of buying ink—you know, buying ink tanks when you need them—when you buy the so-called “XL” higher-yield cartridges, monochrome pages should run you about 5.8 cent and color pages about 15.2 cents. Compared to several comparably priced entry-level models, such as the Canon and Epson models listed above, these cost per page numbers just aren’t that high.

But I’ll say it again; this is not high-volume printer, for many good reasons. To learn why choosing this or any of its direct competitors as a high-volume printer is a bad idea, check out our “When a $150 Printer can Cost You Thousands” article.

The End

There’s not a lot to say here. If you don’t plan on printing too much with it, say no more than 50 to 100 pages, with HP’s Instant Ink program, the HP Envy 5660 e-All-in-One Printer is a reasonable alternative to buying expensive-to-use low-yield in tanks that print color pages for 2 or 3 times as much. As I wrote this in late April 2015, though, the Envy 5660 was on sale for $99.99 at HP.com and several other places, which makes it an even better value.