The Hewlett Packard Officjet 8500A all-in-one wireless printer is the best printer Iíve owned
Nov 2, 2010 (Updated Nov 23, 2010)
Review by Thomas Wikman
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Very fast, good print/scan quality, many useful features, Wireless installation worked, WPS, HP customer support.
Cons:Noisy, heavy, control panel arrived broken.
The Bottom Line:
I was surprised to see that this quite reasonably prized all-in-one printer has so many features, produces nice prints/copies/scans, and is so fast. Too bad I had an issue.
I have eight computers, three printers, and two wireless networks in my house. I want everything to be on the wireless networks. No cables. So when Amazon.com offered me this wireless HP Officejet all-in-one inkjet printer in exchange for an objective review I said yes.
Recommend this product?
The broken Control Panel & Installation
I love the fact that this printer not only is wireless, but you can also install it using your wireless network. That is not true for all wireless printers. Installation was straight forward and easier than it was for both the Canon Pixma MX860, HP Photosmart C6180 all-in-one, HP Officejet 7410 all-in-one, and other printers that I've owned in the past. The reason for that was not that this printer was quicker and easier to install but because almost nothing went wrong. Every time that I've installed printers in the past the past, I've had to deal with faulty software, or advertised features that were actually not present, but not this time.
However, that did not mean that the installation went entirely smoothly. One of the steps during wireless installation is that you need to type in the encryption key. This did not work because the control panel was dead. I should say the LCD screen worked and using it I was able to finish the installation anyway because this printer featured a WPS option. By pressing the WPS button on my wireless router the printer was able to pick up the encryption key. I am glad that my router had a WPS button. Not all routers do.
So I finished the installation. It was mostly a quick and easy affair. The printer heads were a little cumbersome to install but the ink cartridges slid right in. So changing ink cartridges on this printer will be a breeze. Because of the problem with the dead control panel I contacted so I contacted HP tech support via 24/7 chat.
Unlike many computer and software vendors, HP offers 24/7 tech support. As mentioned, I used chat and I was connected with tech support within 20 seconds. The representative asked me to do some tests to verify that the wireless signal was strong enough and that the control panel was indeed broken. The signal test was necessary because according to him a weak signal could make the control panel shut down on this model. Anyway, he apologized deeply for the inconvenience and ordered me a new printer free of charge and I did not have to pay for the shipping. When I get the new printer I will mail the other printer back, again free of charge (until then I can use it). If this does not work as expected I will update this review accordingly.
Tech support was quick, efficient, free, courteous, friendly, possible to understand (we had to get on the phone for a while), and 24/7. I have had good experience with HP customer and tech support before. Canon's tech support is much better than that of Adobe, AT & T, and of course, much better than Microsoft and Comcast. However, Canon's tech support still lags far behind that of HP.
Features and functionality
As mentioned I succeeded to complete the wireless installation despite the broken control panel thanks to the functional LCD screen and the WPS functionality (printer + router). So I am currently actively using this printer. I placed it in the dining room where the kids do their home work and they are the primary users of this printer.
The printer is fairly big and a little bit heavy (25 pounds). However, it is slick looking and features a lot of functionality. You can print (from a computer on a network and more), Fax, Scan, Copy, and using the touch screen you can print directly from the web (web access using touch screen) and you can print photos from a flash drive. I should add that using the touch screen to print directly from the web works for only a limited set of web sites. You can also connect to it via an iPhone and other mobile devices. One of the more innovative features is that you can copy both sides of an ID card (or a smaller document) onto one side of a paper. This is a feature that I have never seen before. I should add I am not using it for Fax.
The printer has a 100+ page paper tray, a 35 page automatic document feeder, and you can print and copy double sided copies. You can print photos of different sizes as well as use different sized paper. The available sizes are 3.5 X 5, 4 X 6, 5 X 7, 8.5 X 11, 8.5 X 14, 13 X 19 inch. The scanning resolution is up to 4800X4800 dpi which is a quite good resolution.
I connected this printer to one of my wireless networks. However, naturally you can connect to it via Ethernet or USB cable and it features memory card slots. I should mention that when you add the printer to other computers on which you have not installed the software, the exact driver for this printer will not be available (Windows 7). Naturally you can download it, or get it from the software CD, but I just selected the HP Officejet 8500A 909 driver and it works fine. Allegedly this printer is eco-friendly and has a lower cost per print than most other all-in-one printers. I have not had it lone enough to verify this claim.
I can add that this printer is compatible with Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP Sp2 and above, Mac OS X 10.5, and Linux. For the wireless technology it supports 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n.
Print Quality and Speed
The speed of the printer is amazing. It is rated 35 pages per minute for black and 34 pages per minute for color. It certainly was not much slower than the rating indicated despite the high resolution prints I did. I printed four very high resolution photographs on two printers (8.5 X 11 inch) at the same time and had the printers "race". The conclusion is that this printer is four times faster than the HP Photosmart C6180 all-in-one and twelve times faster than the Canon Pixma MX860 all-in-one. It is as fast as a good laser printer.
The print color resolution is 4,800 X 1,200 which is good but not over the top. However, I compared the prints with the other printers I had. As far as I can tell the resolution is equally good between the printers (very good high detail) but the colors and contrast came out the best on the Hewlett Packard Officjet 8500A all-in-one wireless printer.
This seems to be a good solid printer. It has a lot of features, it is fast, and the print quality is good, wireless installation was possible and it worked, and I did not have any installation or setup problems, except for the non-functional control panel. HP support was exceptionally helpful and friendly and I am looking forward to using this printer more. It is a little noisy and it is a little heavy but those are minor issues. However, since the control panel was broken upon arrival and I had to get a replacement I cannot give it five stars. I give it four stars.
Thank you Christal (community care) for providing me with this place to move my review
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