Clearly aimed primarily at homerather than officeneeds, the HP Envy 5530 e-All-in-One offers better than par photo quality plus par quality for graphics and text. It also throws in some home-printer features like built-in templates for graph paper and lined notebook paper. As with virtually any letter-size printer, it can also serve for light-duty home office use. However, the best reason to consider it is that you need a printer either for home use only or for the dual roll of home and home-office printer, with an emphasis on home use.
The Envy 5530 has a lot in common with the directly competitive Canon Pixma MG4220 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-in-One. Both are multifunction printers (MFPs) with a focus on home use. Neither offers such office-centric features as a fax capability or an automatic document feeder (ADF). And both offer Wi-Fi, which makes them easy to share in the dual role of home and home office printer.
Basic MFP features for both are also similar. Both can print, scan, and copy, and both can print JPG files directly from memory cards, as well as scan to both JPG and image PDF format. In both cases too, you can preview the images from memory cards before printing, with the HP printer offering a 2.65-inch color display and easy-to-use touch-screen controls.
The Envy 5530 goes a little beyond the Canon MG4220 with mobile printing features. Both let you print through the cloud, but the Envy 5530 also supports HP's Web apps. A key limitation for both is that the only network connection option they offer is Wi-Fi, which means you can't use the Web-based features unless you have a Wi-Fi access point on your network.
An important extra for the Envy 5530 is that it also offers Wireless Direct (HP's equivalent to Wi-Fi direct). If you don't have a Wi-Fi access point, Wireless Direct lets you print from a phone or tabletor a computer for that matterusing a Wi-Fi connection directly to the printer.
One other limitation the two printers share is similarly meager paper handing. Both offer a 100-sheet input tray, which is part of what limits them to light-duty use even by home office standards. Very much on the plus side, however, both include duplexers (for two- sided printing), a highly welcome extra.
Setup, Speed, and Output Quality
Setup for the Envy 5530 was typical for the breed. For my tests, I connected the printer by USB cable to a computer running Windows Vista.
The speed for business applications was unimpressive. On our business applications suite I timed the printer (using QualityLogic's hardware and software for timing) at a sluggish 2.0 pages per minute (ppm). That's essentially a tie with the Pixma MG4220, at 2.1 ppm. As another point of reference, however, the less expensive Editors' Choice Brother MFC-J430w, came in at 4.3 ppm.
Photo speed was a lot better, with the printer averaging 1 minute 15 seconds for a 4 by 6. That makes the Envy 5530 a lot faster for photos than the Canon MG4220, at 2:07, or the MFC-J430w, at 1:59.
The printer did far better overall on output quality than speed, thanks primarily to its excellent photo quality. Text and graphics in my tests were both par quality for an inkjet, making both suitable for most business and personal needs. Photos were a solid step above par, with photos printed on photo paper at least as good as the best you can expect from drugstore prints. Very much on the plus side, even photos printed on plain paper in my tests could pass for true photo quality from a foot or two away if you mounted them in a frame behind glass.
The HP Envy 5530 e-All-in-One's balance of speed, output quality, price, and features makes it more than acceptable for light-duty home office use as well as home use, but its photo speed and quality are what make it stand out. If you're looking for fast speed for business applications, or generally care more about text and graphics than about photos, you'll want to look elsewhere. But if you want an all-purpose printer for home use or both home and light-duty home-office use, and also want high-quality photo output, the HP Envy 5530 e-All-in-One is one of your better choices.