HouseParty Chatterbox: HP Envy 5540 All-in-One Printer with HP Instant Ink #HPInstantChat

With all the advances in computers recently, sometimes it feels like printers are being left a little behind. HP sought to try to remedy that by updating it’s venerable Envy series of printers with a touch screen, wireless capabilities, cloud printing and HP’s service, HP Instant Ink.

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I found the HP Envy 5540 AIO printer fell a little short almost everywhere, and way short in some places. To start, I’m not a fan of the “Instant Ink” service. Not only does it have a lot of intrusive, near constant pop-ups, but it wants to order ink way before the current cartridge is depleted. Not only that, it wants me to order paper, photo paper, and it does it every time you connect. That alone would have led me to box it up and take it right back. HP wants to claim “photo lab-quality prints” on pictures, and while the included photo sample paper made for a lovely print, it was obvious even to my untrained eye that I printed it at home. And HP’s yield for their ink is still near the bottom of the pack. The scanner wasn’t a lot better, but gave me good results for documents. There’s also no feed tray at the top for copies, faxes, or scans, just the flatbed, which after about 10 pages gets tiresome. Lastly, the minuscule monochrome touchscreen controls are frustratingly small. My hands were fine, but Hubby’s sausage fingers had him ready to pull his hair out. With everything tech under the sun having a big, bright color touchscreen, this is nigh unforgivable.

On the plus side, it grabs and holds the wifi signal, a clear improvement from the last HP Envy I tried out. It’s fairly quick to print, especially plain text black and white. The setup was painless, and going back to just two ink cartridges after using the 4 required for my Brother All In One printer was a welcome relief.  And while Hubby found the touchscreen on the “too small” side, I didn’t have any issues entering commands and found the interface very user friendly. And while I liked some things a lot, the things I disliked weighed more heavily on my mind because while they weren’t the kind of things that make the printer useless, they’re annoying enough to me that I wouldn’t have bought, kept or highly recommended this printer to anyone. HP has always made good to great hardware hamstrung by bad to awful software, and it seems this printer is no exception to this rule. In the end, I went back to my Brother printer, and this is coming from someone who had only had HP printers for over a decade.Whether these things would be deal breakers for you is something you’ll have to decide for yourself.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from House Party/Chatterbox/HP. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

First Secure Roadside Emergency Preparedness Kit

It’s always in the back of your mind: I hope nothing happens to me on the road today. Especially in Southern California, with it’s cornucopia of, let’s call them “challenged” drivers, you feel like you’re taking your life in your hands every time you hit the road. And while we haven’t had a major incident in over 30 years, it doesn’t mean one couldn’t happen to us. But if it does, we feel a little more secure with First Secure’s Premium Roadside Emergency Kit.

Packed to the gills with almost every conceivable thing one would need in a minor (or maybe moderate) roadside emergency, it’s 90 pieces of peace of mind all in a zip-up travel case. And while the piece count is made up of many multiples like multiple zip ties and a 48-item First Aid kit, it still has plenty of stuff you always hope you never need but feel better knowing you have them. A couple of the items are things you should immediately replace with better, stronger items, such as the gloves, headlamp and multi-tool, and the compressor is nice in a pinch but could take some serious time to fully inflate tires on anything but a mid-size vehicle. But it’s still nice to know those things are there in a pinch. And some items are absolutely indispensable and I’m ashamed I didn’t have them in the truck before I got this kit, like the roadside triangle, the tow strap, first aid kit and the bungee cords. The only item I have a major problem with is the jumper cables. While the heavy, 6-gauge braided copper wiring seem more than adequate, the flimsy plastic handles/covers tend to slide off or just plain break apart, leaving your bare hand grabbing a live wire. It’s dangerous and should be redesigned immediately. I replaced them with some other jumper cables with more secure handles on the leads. Aside from that the kit includes:

  • (1) 6 Gauge 300 Amp 10 Foot Jumper Cable
  • 250 PSI DC (Cigarette Lighter) Portable Air Compressor
  • 11 Ft. 10,000 Pound Capacity Tow Rope
  • 1 Reflective Warning Triangle
  • Multi-Tool Unit with 9 Tools, including Knife and Screwdrivers
  • 1 Roll Black Electrical Tape
  • 2 Bungie Cords
  • 20 Cable Ties
  • 1 Pair of Work Gloves
  • Headlamp with Batteries
  • 8 Piece Tire Repair Kit

48 Piece First Aid Kit includes:

6 Povidone-Iodine Prep Pads, 6 Alcohol Pads, 2 Antiseptic Cleansing Wipes, 10 Regular Size Adhesive Bandages, 3 Cotton Sponges, 1 Bandage Triangular, 2 Rolls PBT Bandage, 1 Roll Medical Tape, 10 Cotton Swabs, 1 Pair Gloves, 1 Pair Scissors, 5 Safety Pins,plus 1 Storage Case

 

At $59.95, it’s a touch over priced, especially considering that almost half of the item count of the entire kit are in the first aid kit. I would also like to see a basic flashlight and some road flares, but as it stands it’s a pretty decent kit. There’s also something to be said about the peace of mind one gets knowing that you’re covered in a great many different types of roadside emergencies. Hard to put a price on that.

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  • On Amazon

I received the above product(s) free of charge from First Secure. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

KOVOT 12-Piece Slicer &Dice Kitchen Gadget

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and prep is usually a huge part of that time. So I’m always on the lookout for tools that will cut down on prep time and make my “fancy” meals a lot less work than they need to be. And this KOVOT 12-piece Slice & Dice fits the bill nicely! I haven’t enjoyed a kitchen tool this much since my Ninja Prep Blender!

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Whether you need to dice peppers, onions, or potatoes, or you need celery, carrots and onions for a mirepoix , this little Slice & Dice is just what the doctor ordered! No more little “escapees” from the cutting board to fall on the carpet. No more “onion eyes” and more mess to clean repeatedly. Because everything you slice, dice and chop goes right into the storage container right beneath the blades! And, I might add, the container has little non-skip, non-slip feet to keep it firmly anchored in place while you work. There’s an assortment of double sided blade inserts to fit any and all of your chopping needs, as well as a mandolin slicer for my pear tart I plan to make this holiday season. There’s a grater for the variety of cheeses I put in my homemade mac and cheese, a peeler for the apple and raisin bread pudding, there’s really a tool for every course and meal! At $18.99, you get a lot of kitchen tools for one low price, and they all store away in the included container when you’re finished. With the holidays in full swing, and much eating and entertaining to be done, I just couldn’t imagine getting everything done as easily as I did with the KOVOT 12-Piece Slice & Dice.

I would recommend hand washing everything, or limiting things to the top rack of the dishwasher if necessary. It’s really the best way to keep corrosion and rust on the blades to a minimum. I would also be careful how much force is used when you have harder root vegetables, as some of the blades seemed like they could be bent if I applied too much force.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Sharps Gear.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Finally, a true, wireless All-in-One wonder!

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I’ve been doing a lot of crafting lately. Aside from the staples needed to be “crafty”, what has become indispensable is a good printer. I’ve had and used quite a few over the years, some good, some bad, one or two truly awesome. But when I got a chance to try a honest to goodness “All-in-One” printer, I was giddy. One that prints, copies, scan, and prints pictures. And, as a cherry on top, it will do it wirelessly. HP’s Envy 4500 boasts all these features and more. And while it does most everything you ask of it quickly, painlessly, and with quality, there were some hiccups I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight as well.

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This HP Envy 4500 is prints quickly,up to 21ppm speed, and has sharp, crisp blacks. And the bright, vivid colors, pops on all types of papers, especially genuine HP photo paper. But, this HP Envy also wants to save you time by offering 2-sided printing! Oh, huzzah! No more waiting for a document to reinsert and then hope and pray you guessed the correct orientation. I’m also loving the photo printing, because there’s nothing worse than sorting through page after page of clip art, finding that one gem, and seeing it printed like it’s a lousy dot-matrix printer from the 80’s and all the detail is LOST. That isn’t how the HP Envy 4500 rolls. And I haven’t even got to the best part. Wireless printing. Be it from your laptop, your tablet, or your smartphone, everything you need to print, you can in a snap. Once you connect the printer to your home network, you’re golden. Your 100 page tray is you’re only limitation, because the work can be printed from your fingertips. And with a one-year warranty, and 24/7 tech support just a phone call away, but it’s sometimes hit or miss if you get someone who will help, or asks you if the printer is plugged in.

DSC_0007 (2)Now, I must mention the hiccups. This is my third HP printer. Every HP product I’ve ever owned has been rock solid in their build, and this one is really no exception. The chink in the armor with HP’s software. It’s always been a little buggy, for as long as I’ve owned HP products (I’ve beta tested for them in the past too), and this software is no exception. And, most frustratingly, is the constant “pop-up” asking me to sign up to HP’s ink cartridge subscription program. No means no, people. But once you get past that, you get to the quick printing, the colors that pop, and the privilege of not having to drag your devices across the house to print anything and everything. To scan documents and upload them from three rooms away. There’s a lot to like about this printer, and I’m happy I got to try it.

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**An addendum to this review previously posted, on Amazon, on July 22nd, is that the software seems to be somewhat corrupted, or very faulty. It loses it’s connection almost every day and jams fairly frequently now too. It’s also quite the ink hog, as I’m already being told to replace the black ink cartridge. I recant my previous recommendation because really, it isn’t doing any of the things it’s supposed to do very well. When it does print, it’s gorgeous. But no one wants a crap shoot when they click “print”. You want to know it’s going to work the first time, every time. **
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I received the above product(s) free of charge for the purposes of review . I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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