Instant Ink - printer ink your computer orders itself

I saw something last night that took me out of my norm, and threw me right back into the chemistry lab of my schooldays. My daughter and I visited a local secondary school so she could start deciding where she’d like to go. Part of the tour involved the science department. I watched as my 10 year old fed a copper solution to a hungry bunsen burner, as her face lit up with ‘epicness’ when the flame turned green. She, like her mother 35 years ago, is going to love Chemistry, and I feel excited for her already. But one thing I already know will be different.

Homework has changed a lot, hasn’t it? I remember painstakingly copying out chemical symbols, in neat fountain pen, or shaking an aching wrist after a particularly wordy English Lit. assignment. It will not be like this for my children. Already, in primary school, they complete their homework on a computer (I had to buy a second laptop, such was the competition for access to my own)! Online research yields images, diagrams and quotations they claim are essential to their finished work, and my offspring produce immaclately presented documents and powerpoint presentations I had never even dreamed of in my youth.

I marvel as they carry seemingly empty bags into school on homework day, dismissing my concerns with the assurance that it’s all there on a memory stick, and I know that whatever my own incapacities with technology, I need not worry, they will pick it up without my help.

But the printer. Oh dear, the printer is where it all comes unstuck so often. A beautifully crafted word document, complete with neatly-designed illustrations, ready to go. They hit print, the machine starts to whirr, and then suddenly grinds to a halt. We replace paper, but to no avail. Then comes the popup message:

Out of ink…

A rummage through Daddy’s desk yields thirty or so old print cartridges waiting to be recycled, and a brand new one – yellow. We need magenta. It’s 8.30 the night before homework is due to be handed in (some things never change), and we have no hope of getting that house-point-worthy document printed. We resort to black and white. The tears start to flow – it’s not good enough, no longer work to be proud of. And all because we ran out of ink.

Luckily, this scenario is a thing of the past in our house now that we’ve discovered Instant Ink. This genius idea is the brainchild of HP, and is so smart it’s actually quite hard to get your head round to begin with, but it really does work. Our printer now notices when it’s running low on ink, and orders exactly what’s needed, online, without us having to get involved. Just before we run out, the needed HP ink cartridges arrive in the post ready to change as soon as they’re needed.

How instant ink works:

  • HP send you a prepaid credit card, which allows you to enrol in HP Instant Ink.
  • Once activated, you select your payment plan. For us it’s £1.99 per month, which gives us 50 pages.
  • Customers receive up to 70% savings on ink, and you’re charged not for the cartridges, but for the number of pages you print. There are different page plans, at various price points, to suit your needs.
  • If you don’t use all your pages, you can roll over to the next month, up to the maximum of the pages in your plan. If you need more you can purchase 25 pages for £1.
  • There’s no annual fee, no added delivery charges, and you’ll get a prepaid recycling envelope so you can stop that pile up of used cartridges sitting on your desk!

There are 5 HP printers currently set up for use with the Instant Ink plan, and you can find out if yours is one of them by heading over the the HP Instant Ink page. So, no more missed homework deadlines, or washed out holiday photos. And most importantly, no more waiting for Dad to get his act together and schedule a trip to the stationery shop!

Disclosure: we were given an HP ENVY 5530 printer, and a year’s £1.99 per month subscription to Instant Ink so we could try it for ourselves and write this review. We will definitely be continuing our contract once it ends.

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