Time to Get a New Printer

The age of the paperless office has been declared many, many times. Don’t believe it—you still need a printer. Paper copies of those e-bills you need to file away, homework assignments, photos, there are many reasons the typical home still needs one. Sometimes you’re forced to get a new printer. That was my case when the print jets on my printer got so clogged there was no saving them (the photo below shows the tie dye look of the daylong effort to clean them).


Other times, you may need new capabilities (like scanning and copying), or you might want to take advantage of the latest technology. Wireless printing is a great example of this. Or, maybe your old printer uses a lot of ink and you’ve heard good things about HP’s Instant Ink program.

Whatever the reason, here’s a great option for a multipurpose, home printer: the HP Envy 7640.

hp-7640-unboxingUnboxing and Setting up the HP Envy 7640

I have to say, unboxing and setting up the HP Envy 7640 was far easier than my last printer. The box used minimal packing material, so it was snug but not super-sized. Removing the printer was pretty easy. The fact that weighs just 7.7 kg helped there. Removing all the tape the manufacturer uses to keep moving parts in place during shipping took just a few minutes.

hp-7640-displayFrom there, it was a matter of plugging in the power cable, then following the instructions on the printer’s colour LCD touchscreen. Pretty simple. HP even includes animated instructions onscreen for that most confusing of printer tasks, unpacking and installing the printer cartridges. There were no drivers needed for my Mac, although I did have to download the free HP mobile printing app for my iPhone for printing directly from my smartphone. If you want to print remotely over the internet, you can do so by signing up for an HP ePrint account.

Because I set it up on my Wi-Fi network, there were no other cables and I was able to place it down out of the way—nowhere near my computer. That’s one of the great advantages of wireless printers: you can literally put them wherever you have the space. This one does have the option of Ethernet or USB connectivity, but if you go that route, you’ll have to supply your own cable.

HP Envy 7640 Specs

  • Multifunction print, scan, copy, fax
  • HP thermal inkjet up to 1200 x 1200 dpi (print), 4800 x 1200 dpi (colour)
  • Optical scan resolution 1200 dpi
  • 3.5-inch colour touchscreen display
  • Maximum print speed 22 ppm (draft, print), 9 ppm colour
  • 125 sheet paper tray, 15 sheet photo tray
  • borderless printing up to 8.5×11-inches
  • Requires 1 black print cartridge, 1 colour (eligible for HP instant Ink)
  • 2 x USB 2.0 (cable not included), ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • HP ePrint and Apple AirPrint certified
  • Recommended monthly page volume 300 to 400 sheets
  • Windows XP SP3 and up, MaxOS X Lion and up
  • 49.7 x 24.7 x 49.1 cm, weighs 7.7 kg

For full specifications see the HP Envy 7640 product page.


HP Envy 7640 User Experience

I’m going to admit upfront that I didn’t send any faxes with the new printer. It’s been a few years since my last fax, so when I moved to my new office I didn’t even bother with a phone line.

I did try out the scanning and copying functions. I use these frequently because I have twins in school and one inevitably forgets a permission form or assignment sheet. Having what is essentially a photocopier on hand is extremely useful. And the HP Envy 7640 works just fine. You can copy in black and white, or colour. A copy of a sheet or two is no problem. Scanning is also acceptable for casual needs, but with 1200 dpi optical resolution it isn’t going to replace a dedicated scanner capturing archival quality files.

The Envy 7640 will fire off 14 ppm of crisp, high quality black text. It’s even faster in draft mode. The print quality is excellent and the pages came out smudge-free. Colour printing results were good, although considerably slower and using regular paper for full-coverage images could lead to saturated and slightly wrinkled pages. Put in specially treated inkjet photo paper, though, and the colour results were excellent.

Because it was on Wi-Fi, printing on demand from anywhere in the house and from pretty much any device—PC, smartphone or tablet—was easy. You still have to walk to the room with the printer to pick up your print job, though. No high-tech solution for that yet …




hp-7640-instant-inkHP Instant Ink

It’s worth noting that the HP Envy 7640 is eligible for HP’s Instant Ink Service. What is Instant Ink? In a nutshell, it saves you money by paying for your ink on a monthly basis, by the page (with multiple print volume plans available) instead of by the cartridge. The savings can be substantial—up to 50 percent. And because your printer does the ordering automatically when it gets low, and HP delivers replacement cartridges right to your door, it’s convenient too.

If you want to learn more about HP Instant Ink details, I wrote an overview of the service a while back on Plug-in.

Should You Consider the HP Envy 7640

High volume printers probably want to consider a laser printer and if your print a lot of colour, an inkjet with multiple colour tanks (so you don’t have to replace the entire cartridge when you run low on just one pigment) would be a better choice.


However, if your printing needs are both modest and varied, I think the HP Envy 7640 is a great choice. I bought one, so obviously I think it’s a pretty decent printer. It can easily fire off a 25 page report, print off the great photo you just snapped on your iPhone or scan and make copies of that short story your kid wrote. Heck, it can fax too, if anyone does that any more. Just one wire—the power cable—easy setup, the option to save big on supplies with HP Instant Ink and it’s very reasonably priced.

If you’re in the market for a printer, definitely check this one out.

Brad Moon
Editor Computing solutions
I’m a long-time electronics and gadget geek who’s been fortunate enough to enjoy a career that lets me indulge this interest. I have been writing about technology for several decades for a wide range of outlets including Wired, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, MSN, About.com, Kiplinger, and GeekDad. I’m in my 10th year as a senior contributor for Forbes with a focus on reviewing music-related tech, Apple gear, battery power stations and other consumer electronics. My day job is with the Malware Research Center at AI-native cybersecurity pioneer CrowdStrike.


  1. I have HP Envy 7640 which is showing “The printer couldn’t print” error whenever I try to print. I have checked and everything looks fine. Can you please help.
    Maybe there is an easy way. I don’t know.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Hi. Got mine couple years ago. This last two weeks it keeps jamming. Any idea could help save me not buying a new one? Please advise. I like this printer.

  3. Thank you for the info. A quick question. I want to get the hp envy 7640 but it says it comes with cd. I no longer have a computer,but I have 3 iPads and and an iPhone. Am I still able to set up the printer without a cd.? Thank you

    • Yes, there’s no limitation. I print from my laptop and phone, my kids and wife use their computers as well. Basically any device that can see it, can print to it.

    • Good point and I should have elaborated. I was able to do basic print functionality using AirPrint, but the HP app gives you more comprehensive functionality, plus remote printer controls, utilities and diagnostics.

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