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HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus review

Verdict

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

Review Date: 12 Jan 2012

Reviewed By: David Bayon

Price when reviewed: £174 (£209 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
6 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
6 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

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.

Author: David Bayon

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User comments

Bloatware

With the "tablet", has HP done anything to the size of the install?

From all the HP printers I've worked with, you have to be very picky about what software you install.

I've seen (admitedly) older PCs brought to their knees through the amount of stuff that HP deems to be relevant to appreciate the "experience"

By bronven on 12 Jan 2012

Great device

I've been using this printer since it was first released early in 2011, and would agree with the article wholeheartedly. One of the best purchases I've made for our small company. Even the software seems reasonably sensible compared to previous hp bloatware I've encountered.

By arpsh on 12 Jan 2012

Seconded.

In a busy office the cost of the printer is usually well second to the cost of the ink over the next few years. This HP is cheap to run.

HP also deserve plaudits for the open-source hplip software. This all-in-one, like most HPs and unlike most others, works well with Linux. The Windows software is indeed large but seems well-behaved.

By nrarnot2 on 12 Jan 2012

Nothing new

In terms of the basic print engine this has been around for a long time, true HP have changed the tank so yet another one is required but I have been using K5400 Pros for years and have a K8600 and an L7780 at home for the last 2 years plus. These have the 88XL tanks also rated at 2200 pages for the black. Despite the obvious office marketplace these still do not have Windows 2008 drivers from them. HP make good products but their bloatware and continual minor tweaks to the consumables for no other reason but to increase their revenue is extremely annoying.
I am of the LJ4 era, a superb, reliable, bomb proof printer that won the company many supporters but since then they cannot seen to remember where their strength lie.

By MIssingLink on 12 Jan 2012

HP OfficeJet Pro 8500 Wireless

I've had one of these for the past couple of years and am very impressed with how long the cartridges last. I bought the printer ex-demo, so the cartridges it came with were largely depleted, so I switched to the "XL" versions. Over a year later I'm still on the same cartridges and I've printed several thousand sheets.

Comparing this to the consumer versions (I previously had a HP PhotoSmart 2410 all-in-one where the cartridges were minuscule and expensive to replace. I would now go for its business counterpart every time.

Another lesson learnt is never buy a printer where the colour tanks are not separate (i.e. for yellow, cyan & magenta) - yellow always runs out first and then the printer refuses to print until you put in a replacement cartridge, even if you're printing black-only documents (again on the 8500 there's an option to print just using the B&W cartridge, which is about twice the capacity of the colour ones).

By mrmmm on 14 Jan 2012

wired and wireless together - NOT

For some inexplicable reason this device won't let you have both wired and wireless on at the same time. In an office you have the printer on the wired network for desktop PCs. But for those hotdesking with notebooks it makes sense for them to be able to print wirelessly.

By DerekCohen on 9 Feb 2012

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