HP DeskJet 5550: The Star Of The New Season

Estimated Costs Per Page

This is the exception to the rule: all the tests were done with both cartridge sets, except the lifetime test. We measured this on the cartridge delivered with the printer, with black plus three colors.

As we said at the beginning, there is finally some good news for consumers on both sides of the Atlantic: HP has (at long last) lowered the price of its consumables. Below are the mid-August prices for HP printer cartridges:

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Header Cell - Column 0 deskjet 940deskjet 5550Difference
Color (USD)$34.99$34.990%
Black (USD)$29.99$19.99-33%
Color (euro)€53.20€44.50-16%
Black (euro)€31.86€26.50-17%

The drop is notable, though it goes hand in hand with a shorter lifetime. But costs per page have still gone down:

Just a brief comment: HP is no longer the manufacturer that charges the most for ink. This unwelcome trophy is now held by Lexmark, although HP is still close on their heels. When will HP printers be really economical to use? When asked about this, they admit that this is not at the top of the agenda for the time being. They feel that their printers don't cost the consumer so very much. Their own polls show that you, their customers, only change cartridges twice a year. According to our tests, this means that you print about 500 pages a year, barely a ream of paper.

A little bit of price analysis: two cartridge sets = US$110 of ink (€142 for Europeans). This works out to the price of approximately one new printer a year, but we'll let that pass. Here's another analysis for you: 500 pages a year (500/12) = 41.7 pages per month. So they assume that you print less than ten pages a week, and, more importantly, you don't print photos. So, if you still haven't got the message:

HP prints are far too expensive. They work out to be three times the price of a Canon for similar, perfectly acceptable quality. HP printers are strictly for "occasional users" who print less than 1.4 pages a day, or one page a day and the occasional photo.

And the price differences increase still further if you add the printer purchase price to the cost of printing 3000 pages, with 1500 monochrome and 1500 color:

Let's hope the message will get across now.