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HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus review

Verdict

The interface isn't perfect, but it produces good output at high speeds, and running costs are low

Review Date: 21 Jun 2012

Reviewed By: David Bayon

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

Buy it now for: £149
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
6 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

In our last all-in-one Labs, the HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus strolled away with the top award thanks to its combination of a quality scanner, great document prints and very low running costs. It would have been easy to put out a barely changed annual refresh, but instead HP has totally redesigned the exterior for the Officejet Pro 8600 Plus.

Gone is the glossy black box, in favour of a matte grey finish and a flowing shape that looks like something out of Alien. Instead of a small door in the corner, the inks are now accessible by pulling down the main front flap, with memory card slots and a PictBridge port permanently accessible in the bottom-left corner.

The 4.3in touchscreen remains in its place to the right, and can be easily angled to eye level. Its icon-led approach is similar to that of the Lexmark OfficeEdge Pro5500, but compared to that device's slick interface, the HP's is often frustrating and unresponsive, requiring several presses for buttons near the corners of the screen.

This is a small office device so there are no separate photo inks, just the usual black and three colours. High-yield XL variants are available, and buying a set will net you mono and colour pages at 1p and 4.3p each - significantly cheaper than our A-Listed laser printer, the Lexmark C540n. The yields aren't quite as high - you'll need to replace your colour inks every 1,500 pages and black every 2,500 - but without all the other consumables a laser requires, this is a very cheap device to run.

HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus

The results are anything but cheap. The Officejet Pro 8600 Plus pushed out our normal-quality mono test pages at 18.2ppm and colour at 20.7ppm, and a top-quality 6 x 4in photo print took 56 seconds. Text quality was superb, and images and graphs on colour documents were solid and well defined. It can't match those results on photo paper - prints showed noticeable grain and some colours were darker than they should have been - but as a document printer with the odd photo thrown in it's fine.

The scanner is superb in the level of sharpness it can capture, although our scans were on the pale side, meaning some detail was lost in dark areas. Still, colours were generally accurate, and it works quickly and quietly. Copies were also speckled, but the quality wasn't far off standard prints. It produced a single mono copy in 14 seconds and colour in 18 seconds, fed our four-page colour document through the copier in 47 seconds, and produced a double-sided copy in a decent 34 seconds. It's a fast all-round device.

Next to the monstrous Lexmark, the HP looks a bit underwhelming - and, indeed, we much prefer the Lexmark's superb interface for environments where copies and scans are a high priority. But not everyone will want to spend more than £300 on a printer, and for a more reasonable £209 there's no doubt the HP remains a good value choice. It may not be as slick to use as the Lexmark, and it may not have the impressive photo capabilities of the Canon Pixma MX895, but it's fast, produces good results across the board, and it's extremely cheap to run. For a home office it remains the top choice.

Author: David Bayon

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User comments

Good printers, but faulty paper-handling?

I've had a number of HP printers over the years, starting with an OfficeJet 890, PhotoSmart 2410 and now an Office Jet 8500 Wireless.

They've all given me very good service, but have all had the same problem -one fine day they all suddenly stop printing without warning.

Usually the cost of repairing them is prohibitively expensive compared with throwing the unit away and buying a new one (which is a complete waste and pretty disgusting if you ask me). It's usually the paper-handling as well, so either it's a spring or roller which needs replacing - if I was a trained HP engineer I'd do it myself!

I had the same happen to me recently with my 8500 which was only 18 months old. I was pretty angry, especially as I'd only just changed the cartridges (and bought their XL versions).

However one thing I remembered was when I bought the printer, for whatever reason when I registered it, I was entitled to another year's service for free.

So on the offchance it was valid, I registered the printer as faulty, and HP decided to send me a new one! Not quite what I was expecting, but I was very pleased nonetheless. I now have a working 8500 again and I'm hoping the paper-handling problem was just a faulty unit and it will give me a few more years' good service.

So HP have bought themselves a bit more time... If they paper handling goes again, I may consider switching brands.

By mrmmm on 21 Jun 2012

Quick failure

My new Officejet Pro 8600 lasted less than a month and 3 uses....to be fair HP offered me a one for one exchange but said I would take 3-5 working days. It simply stopped powering up one day.."hardware failure" was the verdict, but the speed with which they said it and offered a replacement made me suspect that it is a frequent occurrence. I am now scanner and printer-less in the office for a week, which is a major pain.i hope the new machine will have a longer working life.....

By SteveJAB on 24 Nov 2012

I wish these all-in-one tests were more thorough...

This isn't just a PCPro whinge, all the reviews I've read online didn't test what I'm about to write in any detail, I don't think!

I bought one of these 8600 Pro's on the basis of almost universally good reviews. Printing and copying were great, but the quality of the scanning caused me to return the 8600 for a refund. It was not just a faulty machine issue, as I tried replacement machine before giving up.

My advice would be that if the quality of the scans is important for you, look elsewhere. If you're just using the scanner for copying documents, you'll probably be just fine with the 8600. If you are replacing a scanner however and need reasonably high definition scans, you will probably want to look elsewhere. The colour reproduction of the HP is great, but the scan definition is poor compared to other devices in this class. Colour definition can be adjusted for, but if detail isn't captured, you can't compensate for it!

I've ended up with an Epson WP-4535 (no, I don't have any interest in promoting their product!), and the scans are of a significantly better quality.

Hope this helps avoid others the frustration I experienced with trekking backwards and forwards to the shops...

By pw301071 on 29 Jan 2013

OfficeJets are useless

I bought an HP Officejet a little over a year ago and printed less than 300 pages and the yellow ink was finished. Then just a month after the 1 year warranty had expired, the yellow and black printhead said that it was malfunctioning. Took it to the retailer and because I didn't register my warranty within the 30 days, my warranty is expired and the print head will cost almost the same price as a new printer to replace. This printer is so hardly used that the plastic is still on it and now I have an expensive paper weight.

I would like to simply warn people to please stay away from HP's OfficeJet range, the retailer I took it to says they have had a number of comebacks on HP printers so beware.

Really disappointed, as I have always been an HP fan, I have an HP Laptop, Docking Station and 24" monitor and that has been fine, but had no idea there were useless at making printers.

By Rehaan on 29 Mar 2013

Terrible printer

This printer WILL NOT print. Kind of a joke, since that is its sole purpose. It takes an hour to trouble shoot when it won't print. I cannot ever get back all the wasted time I have spent trying to make this printer print. It is going to be gone as of today.

By KatieH on 2 Aug 2014

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