What Is HP’s Instant Ink?

Many people still use inkjet printers for their daily work, and the technology is far from obsolete, despite some trying to push this notion for some time now. It’s true that laser printers have several advantages when it comes to speed and cost, but traditional inkjets still have their place in many offices and homes.

Companies like HP have not ignored this market. The company's Instant Ink printer service is a relatively new approach to this market and one that’s already showing some promise and positive responses.

So, what is HP Instant Ink, and how does it work?

HP Instant Ink Is Printing as a Service

The basic idea is to replace the traditional purchasing process and replace your printer ink cartridges with a subscription service. Each month, you’re given an allowance of a certain number of pages (depending on your plan), and you can print up to that amount without any extra charges.

What’s more, HP’s printers keep track of your ink levels and automatically notify the company when you’re running low. You’ll have your new cartridges delivered to you automatically, without having to place the order yourself. This can significantly simplify your life if you do a lot of printing.

Advantages and Disadvantages to HP Instant Ink

The cost is one of the biggest advantages to Instant Ink compared to the traditional model of purchasing cartridges. This model can actually save you a lot of money in the long run if you calculate things correctly, and it’s a great way to optimize your expenses if you do a lot of printing.

It’s particularly good when you consider that it’s priced by pages, not by ink consumed. This means that a full-color photo will cost you exactly the same as printing a few sentences. Of course, this can have its downsides (more on that below), but as long as you’re careful about your layouts and printing habits, you should be able to benefit from it quite nicely.

As we mentioned above, this is also a convenient feature that can save you a lot of time shopping for new cartridges. However, this can backfire if you don’t print often. If you use an inkjet printer infrequently, its heads can start to dry up. After a certain point, they will need to be cleaned and/or replaced. Your cartridges might become dry and unusable too.

And since the HP Instant Ink service doesn’t look for dried-out heads—it only monitors your ink level—you might run into a situation where you’re unable to print and didn’t have any ink delivered to you on time. But then again, the exact same scenario can play out with the traditional model as well.

Be Careful with Your Layouts and Tests

We touched on this above, and it’s something you should pay a lot of attention to. The fact that you’re priced per page can be a huge advantage if you play your cards right, but it can also add a lot to your costs if you’re not careful. For example, sometimes, you might mess up your layout and push a single word out to a new page.

Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue. You’ll correct the problem when you spot it and reprint. But with HP Instant Ink, that single word will cost you an entire page from your allowance. This means that you can’t be very liberal with test prints either. You must make sure to get the layout right from the get-go because otherwise, the project becomes more expensive.

The same goes for minor corrections and adjustments. Again, those would normally not be a huge issue with a regular printer, but when you’re paying per page, you’ll want to be much more careful.

Is HP Instant Ink Worth It?

So what’s the bottom line? Is HP Instant Ink worth it or not?

As with many instances of the “as a service” model, the answer varies depending on your situation. For some people, it makes sense to switch to this model. On the other hand, those who print regularly will see many benefits in the pricing plan and delivery scheme.

The model is also designed to be very user-friendly. For example, you get to carry over some of your unused pages each month (up to a limit), so you don’t have to worry about using up your full allowance. The standard prices are also good enough to attract most people’s attention.

Pricing varies a lot, with several plans aimed at users with different needs. For example, ink can cost as little as $0.99 per month with a plan that allows for up to 15 pages. On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve got the “Business” plan at $24.99/month, allowing for up to 700 pages.

Unfortunately, the service is not supported on all of HP’s printers.

Supported models are typically more expensive, which is an important consideration for those thinking of an upgrade. For example, an Instant Ink compatible HP OfficeJet Pro 6987 will set you back over $180, whereas a standard HP OfficeJet Pro 6230 costs roughly half.

If you don’t print regularly, on the other hand, it might not make that much sense for you. It’s also not an ideal option if you print unique things that don’t translate well to full pages of text or images. If you regularly use less than half of a page’s size, then you might be wasting money with this system.

Instant Ink Uses Genuine HP Cartridges Only

It’s also worth pointing out that this system is designed to work with genuine HP cartridges. If you shop from less reputable sources, you might run into issues with your printer.

Related: How LaserJet Toner Cartridges Work (And How to Buy a Good One)

Remember that the Instant Ink service constantly monitors your printing activities and cartridge levels, so the company will be much more prone to notice discrepancies on that front if you’re subscribed to their service.

As long as you stay on the right side of that fence, though, you don’t have much to worry about. If you see yourself fitting some of the descriptions above, you should definitely give it a try. Even if it doesn’t work out according to your expectations, you don’t have to invest too much to find that out.

And keep an eye out for promotions! HP regularly experiments with pricing ideas, so if you enjoy the service, you might be able to get a nice discount on it sooner or later. Don’t be afraid to submit your feedback to them either, as they are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve the platform, especially right now.

Author: Stefan Ionescu

Source: Stefan Ionescu.” What Is HP’s Instant Ink?”. Retrieved From https://www.makeuseof.com/what-is-hps-instant-ink/

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