It took a while (it was released in 2014), but we finally got our hands on HP’s flagship Envy all-in-one (AIO), the $199.99-list Envy 7640 e-All-in-One Printer. One benefit of reviewing a printer after it’s been out for a year or so is that, by that time, the machine has settled into its place in the market, which usually means a price point somewhat lower than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. As we wrote this in mid-November 2015, Amazon.com was selling the Envy 7640 for $85.99, less than half the original MSRP.
Even though it’s at the top of the Envy product line, the Envy 7640 (whose AIO functions comprise printing, copying, scanning, and faxing) is nonetheless a low-volume, entry-level machine. It’s designed to print and/or copy about 300 to 400 pages each month. A primary difference between this Envy and its siblings, though, is that this one has an automatic document feeder (ADF) to help you scan multipage documents. As we’ll get into in the next section, this is a huge advantage for this particular Envy model.
Over the years, the Envy line has changed considerably. At one time, HP offered only one model at a time, such as the Envy 100, Envy 110, or Envy 120. Now, HP offers a bunch of concurrent ones. In addition, at one time HP’s Envy brand—be it printers, desktop PCs, or laptops—was given only to the company’s top-of-the-line, highest-quality machines. Now, the Envy-name criteria is much more relaxed and mainstream, with an emphasis in printers on mobile connectivity features, as well as a decent mix of productivity and convenience options.
Even though this Envy is the sturdiest branch on the Envy tree, it’s by no means a high-volume multifunction printer. As you’ll see in our Setup & Paper Handling section later on, its input and output paper trays are quite small. And, while the print quality isn’t bad overall, it’s by no means perfect. HP promotes the Envy line as photo printers, and most of the Envy models we’ve reviewed have printed respectable photos, or ones as good you’d expect, at least, from four-ink printers. This one was a step behind.
If a photo printer is what you’re after, you’ll generally get brighter, more accurately colored images from machines that deploy five or six inks—even HP’s own five-ink Photosmart 6520 e-All-in-One Printer or six-ink Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One Printer we covered back in 2012. Since then, we haven’t seen any five- or six-ink consumer-grade photo AIOs from HP.
As with other Envy models, as well as the latest round of Officejet models, if you stay within HP’s suggested page-volume guidelines and subscribe to the Instant Ink consumables delivery service to save on ink, the Envy 7640 will satisfy. It isn’t a bad little low-volume printer for homes or home-based offices, especially as cheap as it is now. But you can find much better photo printers, if that’s what you are after, for not much more money. (Even a couple of recent Envy models we’ve tested printed better images than this one.) If, however, all you need is an occasional-use printer with the ability to scan and make usable copies now and then, this Envy works for that.
Keep in mind, though, that this printer makes much more budgetary sense if you enroll in HP’s Instant Ink program, described in the Setup & Paper Handling section a bit later—especially if you’ll use it for mostly photo prints.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.