HP Officejet 4500 review

5 Mar 2010

Good value, but it can't match its Canon rival for speed, quality or features

HP Officejet 4500
Price when reviewed: 
129(£130 inc VAT)
4

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.

HP Officejet 4500

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £110
Price inc VAT £129
Performance 4
Features & Design 3
Value for Money 4
Speed rating 3

Basic Specifications

Colour? yes
Resolution printer final 4800 x 1200dpi
Integrated TFT screen? no
Rated/quoted print speed 28PPM
Maximum paper size A4
Duplex function no

Running costs

Cost per A4 mono page 2.0p
Cost per A4 colour page 2.9p
Inkjet technology Gel ink
Ink type Pigment-based

Power and noise

Dimensions 428 x 420 x 215mm (WDH)

Copier Specification

Copier rated mono speed 28cpm
Fax? yes
Fax speed 0.3Kb/sec
Fax page memory 100

Performance tests

6x4in photo print time 1min 7s
A4 photo print time 3min 22s
Mono print speed (measured) 5.0000000ppm
Colour print speed 2ppm

Media Handling

Borderless printing? yes
CD/DVD printing? no
Input tray capacity 100 sheets
Output tray capacity N/A

Connectivity

USB connection? yes
Ethernet connection? no
Bluetooth connection? no
PictBridge port? no
Other connections None

Flash media

SD card reader no
Compact Flash reader no
Memory Stick reader no
xD-card reader no
USB flash drive support? no

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? yes
Operating system Windows 98SE supported? yes
Software supplied HP Solution Center, Photosmart Essential, Smart Web Printing, Document Manager