HP sent us an Officejet Pro 8500 all-in-one wireless printer to review. We tested it with small- and home-based businesses in mind.
The Officejet Pro Wireless includes a printer, fax machine, copier, scanner, business graphic software, and photo processor. You operate it through a wireless connection or via a full-color touch screen on the device. It comes with a 250-sheet input tray, touchscreen color display, and two-sided print/fax/scan/copying.
HP lists specs here.
Overall, the printer performs well. HP advertises it as an eco-friendly, cost-saving device that produces business graphics comparable to a laser printer. It lives up to this claim, with a few caveats.
Prints professional-looking documents
Intuitive controls and interface
Green paper- and power-saving features
Quality compares to a laser printer
Comes with helpful software
Cost- and energy-efficient
Powerful enough for a business
Full set of features
Some software quirks
Slower than a laser printer
Too slow for big print jobs
The printer is easy to put together. It comes with ink cartridges, print heads, an installation CD, manuals, and a phone cable. The power supply jutting out the back of the printer and the paper tray in front make the printer take up a fair bit of space. The printer needs to be placed on a solid surface, otherwise it shakes.
Installation needs to be done both on the printer’s touchscreen and on a desktop. The machine’s software package requires an impressive 420 mb of space. You can reduce this amount by uninstalling some of the default programs that you don’t need.
Installation and calibration took us about half an hour.
One of the machine’s perks is the software that comes with it. The HP Solutions Center is the most useful program in the package. It displays a control panel for operating the printer, fax, copier, and scanner. The interface also displays cartridge ink levels and the printer’s status. It allows you to change settings and troubleshoot the device in one place. User can forward documents to network folders, a nice organizational shortcut. Shop for cartridges from here, see special offers and tips.
The In-House Marketing button takes you to HP’s online Creative Studio, a marketing resource. You’ll find customizable marketing material templates here (for business cards, startup packages, brochures, posters, blogs, websites, logos, and more). Some designs are free, and they look professional.
Combined with the Creative Studio, the printer enables small business owners to design, customize, and print marketing materials, which saves a trip to the professional printer. It’s a valuable resource.
The HP Document Manager is also handy. It allows you to edit and annotate documents, attach them to emails, convert them into editable text, organize faxes/scans/desktop documents, and more. It’s a time-saving way to manage all the documents you want to involve with your HP all-in-one.
HP Photosmart Essential allows you to edit, organize, share, manage, and print photos. You can drag and drop to print photos, which is nice, but otherwise, Photosmart is comparable to other free photo software on the market.
HP’s default installation also comes with a couple of useless programs, like Shop for HP Supplies (which links you to the product sales page on HP’s website) and the HP Customer Participation Program. These programs need to be uninstalled so that they don’t eat up memory.
Default (normal) resolution produces high-quality documents. Business cards, flyers, and standard business documents look professional at this setting. You can adjust a document’s properties through the Printing Shortcuts menu, a useful interface offering one-click brochure, two-sided, fast/economical, and other print settings.
The printer operates quickly on one-sided and black-and-white documents. Color printing is fast and good. But the machine prints double-sided color documents slowly. It prints one side, lets the ink dry, sucks paper back up, then prints the other side. The quality is excellent, but, due to slowness, may not be practical for large print jobs.
If you use photos in your posters and brochures, they may need tweaking before looking good in the printer. There’s no easy way to print a double-sided, full bleed brochure on the device. Once you print one brochure, you can duplicate it more quickly through the color copier than by printing.
HP designed the ink pigment to be water-resistant. It produces bold colors that work well for business graphic use. Most documents will look professional on this printer.
It is louder than a laser printer. The biggest paper size you can print is 8.5” x 11.” On the upside, the 250-sheet paper tray gives you plenty of time between paper replacements.
You can print photos directly from a USB stick or memory card (CF, MMC, SD, XD, MS/DUO).
The copier has a 50-sheet feeder on top. Copies come out quickly, with excellent quality. Two-sided color copies take longest to produce.
The fax machine has a couple of neat features. One, it lets you block junk fax phone numbers. Secondly, it allows you to send copies of faxes to a network folders instead of printing them on paper, which allows you to save paper. It also has a 125-page memory.
Scans show up instantly on your computer screen. You can scan either through the flatbed or ADF (automatic document feeder). Scan quality is very good. It’s not optimal for high-resolution work, eg. with hi-res photos, but is good for everyday use. Like faxes, scans can be filed into network folders. The ADF makes multipage scans easy to execute.
Upload photos directly to the printer through built-in card readers that take all the standard memory cards and USB. There’s also a PictBridge slot through which you can connect your camera directly.
You can crop and adjust color/contrast using the touch screen. The Photosmart software gives you additional photo editing options.
The machine prints good quality photos. If you want excellent quality, try using the printer with HP paper and ink designed specifically for printing photos.
Its strong wireless system helps the printer communicate well from different rooms. It is easy to control jobs remotely. The printer takes about two minutes to check and clean itself whenever you power it on. Every time you activate it, the printer informs every computer on the network of its status, which is annoying for people not involved with the print job. It comes with a 1-year warranty.
The HP 8500 saves money in several ways:
– It’s EnergyStar rated. One way it saves energy costs is by sleeping when not in use, then activating again when given a print job or by pressing the touch screen.
– It offers comparable quality to a laser printer, for a lower cost. Note that the quality is comparable, not identical, and that speed suffers in the 8500.
– Color cartridges can be replaced individually. HP also offers XL and combo ink packs that lower cost/page.
– It does small to medium-sized print jobs well, saving a potentially expensive trip to the professional printer.
– It saves you from using and maintaining three separate machines.
– A green perk: Send in cartridges for HP to recycle for free.
Final verdict: The HP Officejet Pro 8500 All-in-One Wireless is worth the price. Order one here.
HP has arranged a special offer for our readers to save 20% ($80) on the new HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless All-in-One. Go here for the coupon code and terms and conditions. Visit here for more product information.