HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus review
A superlative scanner, great document prints, impressively low running costs and a comprehensive list of office features. Expensive, but worth it
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.
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.
|Price ex VAT||£174|
|Price inc VAT||£209|
|Features & Design||6|
|Value for Money||5|
|Resolution printer final||4800 x 1200dpi|
|Integrated TFT screen?||yes|
|Maximum paper size||A4|
|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 rated mono speed||35cpm|
|Copier rated colour speed||34cpm|
|6x4in photo print time||1min 17s|
|A4 photo print time||2min 44s|
|Mono print speed (measured)||12.8ppm|
|Colour print speed||7.0ppm|
|Input tray capacity||250 sheets|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Memory Stick reader||yes|
|USB flash drive support?||yes|
|Other memory media support||MMC|
|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|