HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus review

12 Jan 2012

A superlative scanner, great document prints, impressively low running costs and a comprehensive list of office features. Expensive, but worth it

Price when reviewed 
209
Buy it now for 
5

This fine inkjet all-in-one is also one of the most expensive you'll find, but for a small office it’s an excellent investment. For £209, the HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus rewards with fax capabilities, a huge 250-sheet input tray, a 50-sheet ADF for the scanner, a choice of USB 2, Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections, and a lovely little tablet-shaped interface for controlling it all.

It isn’t actually a tablet – you can’t pick it up and print from across the room as you could with the HP Photosmart eStation – but with its app-led interface it’s intuitive. The touchscreen is the same 4.3in size as the Photosmart 7510, but with a wider bezel on either side for the main function controls.

It’s huge, and the lid feels extremely sturdy. Setup is made easy by video tutorials onscreen: the four ink tanks slot into a pull-down hatch on the front, with the two print-heads plugged in under the hood. The printer then requires a yawn-inducing 18 minutes before it can be used. Be patient, though, since the results when it’s ready are spectacular.

HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus

Print quality isn’t as consistently high as the best Canons – our test photos were mottled and reds too dark – but this is an office printer, and excels where it matters. Text is crisp and well defined, and large blocks of colour are solid. That extends to copies thanks to the 8500A’s best feature: its scanner. Our test scans had a level of sharpness and clarity no other manufacturer can match, and with accurate colour capture.

The 8500A is right up with the fastest scanners we've tested, and its print speeds aren’t bad either. It produced documents at 12.8ppm in mono and 7ppm in colour. It fell back a bit with a best-quality 6 x 4in photo time of 1min 17secs, and an A4 photo took 2mins 44secs, but this is primarily a document printer.

If documents are your focus, you’ll be delighted by the running costs, which go a long way to mitigating that high purchase price. With huge XL mono (2,200 A4 pages) and colour cartridges (1,400 A4 pages) available for £18 and £12, your prints roll out for only 0.8p and 3.4p respectively. Even the laser-baiting Epson WorkForce Pro can’t better that.

It isn’t the right choice for photos, but for all document purposes the 8500A is difficult to top. It’s rammed with features, has a neat interface and scans remarkably. It’s expensive, but excellent value in the long run.

Details

Price ex VAT £174
Price inc VAT £209
Performance 6
Features & Design 6
Value for Money 5
Speed rating 5

Basic Specifications

Colour? yes
Resolution printer final 4800 x 1200dpi
Integrated TFT screen? yes
Maximum paper size A4
Duplex function yes

Running costs

Cost per A4 mono page 0.8p
Cost per A4 colour page 3.4p

Power and noise

Dimensions 502 x 428 x 308mm (WDH)

Copier Specification

Copier rated mono speed 35cpm
Copier rated colour speed 34cpm
Fax? yes

Performance tests

6x4in photo print time 1min 17s
A4 photo print time 2min 44s
Mono print speed (measured) 12.8ppm
Colour print speed 7.0ppm

Media Handling

Borderless printing? yes
CD/DVD printing? no
Input tray capacity 250 sheets

Connectivity

USB connection? yes
Ethernet connection? yes
PictBridge port? yes

Flash media

SD card reader yes
Compact Flash reader no
Memory Stick reader yes
xD-card reader no
USB flash drive support? yes
Other memory media support MMC

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 support OS X 10.5+
Software supplied HP Photo Creation, Iris OCR

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