HP Officejet 4500 review
Good value, but it can't match its Canon rival for speed, quality or features
Review Date: 5 Mar 2010
Reviewed By: Mike Jennings
Price when reviewed: £110 (£129 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
HP's Officejet all-in-ones are designed to bridge the gap between home and the workplace at an affordable price. At £110 exc VAT, the Officejet 4500 undercuts its main rival - the A-Listed Canon Pixma MX870 - by around £25, which is a positive start.
It's more economical in the long-run too. Its 2.9p cost per colour page is one of the cheapest we've seen and, if you use the high-capacity black cartridge (which costs around £14 exc VAT), the HP costs 2p per mono print - almost a penny less than the Pixma.
The HP is Windows 7-compatible and offers an 802.11g Wi-Fi connection, and there's a 20-sheet ADF on top and a 100-page input tray in the base. But there are evident cutbacks to meet that price: the two-line LCD panel contains a plethora of nested menus and proved awkward to navigate, and there's no proper output tray to prevent prints from tumbling onto the desk. There's also nothing to match the Canon's Ethernet connection, memory card reader, automatic duplexer and 2.5in colour screen.
The two-cartridge, black and tri-colour print engine is also fairly middling. Document print quality was solid enough for work use but, next to that of the five-ink Canon, text lacked sharpness. For images the gap was even wider, with photographs lacking the contrast and punch of a good photo inkjet.
It also proved slower in our tests. Over USB, the HP churned out mono pages at 5.7ppm and colour prints at a disappointing 2.4ppm. These results were slightly slower when we printed the same documents over the Officejet's 802.11g wireless connection, and were outclassed by the Canon, which in colour tests was up to three times faster.
The scanner took 1min 39secs for a 6 x 4in photograph at 600dpi, and copied mono documents at 4ppm over the USB connection. Scan quality is one area where the HP competes well, with sharp, clean results, so if you scan a lot it has at least one area of appeal.
But in most other areas the Officejet 4500 falls short of the quality needed for an award. Thanks to its broader range of features, flawless picture quality and decent speed, we'd still spend our cash on the Canon Pixma MX870.
Author: Mike Jennings
HP lost the plot
Aside from the quality issue, the latest software is a nightmare and takes for ever to install. My J6310 which is ostensibly wireless and ethernet only works reliably with a USB connection. In contrast my new Pixma was up and running in minutes --- solid as a rock.
By petercobrin on 10 Mar 2010
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