HP Deskjet 2540 review

Price when reviewed

At the high end of the inkjet all-in-one market, Canon reigns supreme with its Pixma range of printers. However, lower down the pecking order, where printers such as the new HP Deskjet 2540 sit, it’s much more open.

As you might expect at a mere £45, this printer isn’t replete with luxuries. There’s no touchscreen, and no Ethernet connection, but it does what it does surprisingly well, and it’s a good-looking device.
Finished in pristine white plastic, steeply raked at the front and tall for an all-in-one, it cuts a fine figure for a budget printer.

All paper-input and -output areas are well concealed, and the top-mounted paper-input tray and front output tray can be neatly folded back after use, rendering the Deskjet 2540 surprisingly compact. Despite this, its two-cartridge ink caddy is easy to access: a second panel within the paper-input tray flips down to reveal the printer’s mono and tri-colour cartridges. Replacement is a simple job.

In terms of cabled connectivity, the Deskjet 2540 possesses only a single USB 2 socket at the back of the printer; however, this printer’s true strength is its wireless support. In addition to printing wirelessly from your laptop, it’s also possible to send prints to the 2540 over the internet via the excellent HP ePrint service; there’s also support for Wireless Direct and Apple AirPrint.

HP Deskjet 2540

As for printing, that isn’t bad at all. The two-ink print engine possesses a pigment black tank for text, which lends text a solid, crisp look with no spidering or ink bleed in evidence, even on plain paper. However, this isn’t a particularly quick printer: mono A4 documents were dispensed at 5.4ppm using normal settings and colour documents were delivered at 5ppm. Scan and copy speed is better: our 6 x 4in photo took only 37 seconds to scan at 600dpi, a full 21 seconds faster than Canon’s Pixma MG6450, which is more than twice the price of the 2540. Scan quality is good, too, images remaining vibrant and detail-packed.

Although no match for more expensive models such as the Canon, photo print quality is perfectly acceptable. There was plenty of detail in our test photo prints; colours looked natural, and although there’s a small amount of grain, this isn’t noticeable from a normal viewing distance. The blacks in photos also take on a slightly brown hue due to the tri-colour cartridge, but for £45 you really can’t complain too much.

As you might expect from such a low-cost device, print costs aren’t the lowest, working out at 4p per page for mono printing and 10p per page for colour printing when using HP’s high-yield cartridges, but neither will break the bank. In fact, we rather like this cheap and cheerful all-in-one. It’s capable of decent photo and document prints, comes kitted out with an impressive scanner, and has the bonus of Wi-Fi connectivity.


Speed rating4

Basic Specifications

Resolution printer final4800 x 1200dpi
Ink-drop size5.0pl
Integrated TFT screen?no
Maximum paper sizeA4
Duplex functionyes

Running costs

Cost per A4 mono page10.4p
Cost per A4 colour page21.4p
Inkjet technologyThermal
Ink typeDye-based colour, pigment-based black

Power and noise

Dimensions495.23 x 305.82 x 156.60mm (WDH)

Copier Specification

Copier rated mono speed5cpm
Copier rated colour speed3cpm

Performance tests

6x4in photo print time1s
A4 photo print time0s
Mono print speed (measured)5.4ppm
Colour print speed5.0ppm

Media Handling

Borderless printing?yes
Input tray capacity60 sheets
Output tray capacity25 sheets


USB connection?yes
Ethernet connection?yes
Bluetooth connection?no

Flash media

SD card readerno
Compact Flash readerno
Memory Stick readerno
xD-card readeryes

OS Support

Operating system Windows 7 supported?yes
Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes
Operating system Windows 2000 supported?no
Operating system Windows 98SE supported?no
Other operating system supportMac OS X 10.5 or 10.6

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