I need to start with the product ID, since there are a number of similar HP printers.
Recommend this product?
If you go to an online store like Amazon, it will be described as HP Officejet Pro 8500A Wireless e-All-in-One. At Costco it is a known as the Officejet Pro 8500A Plus. At Sams Club it is shown as HP OfficeJet Pro 8500A Multifunction Printer. Here on epinions the picture does match the one I am describing, but again the name is different. It is shown as a Hewlett Packard Hp OJ PRO 8500A EPRINT AIO. HP shows it as the OFFICEJET PRO 8500A e-All-in-One on their website. Good luck!
On Amazon there is a mish mash of pictures, some correct some not, plus 3 videos from HP to view.
HERE'S HOW TO BE SURE -- Look for the one that has the touch screen all the way to the right side in front, and is all black in color. There are NO buttons on the screen, it is fully touch enabled. The touch screen does NOT come off. HP has one model with a detachable screen, on the right side.
It should cost between $250 and $350. Shop for the best price, because there are lots of them to choose from! I recently saw it at Office Depot for $399. You might even find the best price directly from HP, which I have gone to for a number of HP things in the past, with great satisfaction. Last time I looked they had a great price on this unit.
I bought this with some trepidation, since in my experience a lot of people with all-in-one printers seem to have lots of problems. I think that is sometimes due to either the complexity of using them, or, because they do so much in a small package. Tied to that 2nd issue is the price- it seems that the cheaper they are the less reliable they will be, at least in the category of $200 or under.
This particular one has gotten very good reviews at various tech sites. In fact it's predecessor 'brother' unit was a 5 star product in a couple of reviews. This one goes a few notches higher in capabilities.
All that being said, this is one great device. It prints very well of course, and scans, copies, faxes, prints AND faxes double-sided PLUS, does this either wirelessly (wi-fi), via network cable, using a USB cable, or by loading memory cards or a memory stick. Whew, what doesn't this thing do? Oh, it also is capable of receiving print requests via the Internet and smart phones.
It's large, measuring 19.5 inches long, 18 inches long, and 12" tall. This large size means you won't fit it into a small drawer or shelf in your desk. The unit is quite heavy as well, but once you install it you won't be moving it again most likely.
All of the connections are made at the back right corner, and will tuck under the protruding double-sided mechanism. I mention this because I have it installed sideways in a slide out desk drawer, and the cables needed to be out of the way when it slides in or out.
All the controls are reached by using the large 7 X 3 screen, which has incredible menus and features. When in standby the screen shows a series of images that describe features. Using the touch screen is intuitive, with good graphics and text describing each of the 8 areas you may select from. They are Copy, Fax, Scan, Apps, Setup, Network, Photo, and Discover. You may even use it to create a photo book, by selecting options, and using a memory card or stick to load pictures on pages.
Really quite an amazing range of features. eStorage lets you actually log on to your google docs and print them.
The Apps mode connects the device to the Internet and gives you access to things like USA Today articles, Forms, Coupons, Recipes and much more. Once on a site you have options for printing the content found there. There's not a browser specifically, but the apps are pretty wide ranging. They were quite a surprise as an included feature.
It enters eco mode when not in use for a while, and overall HP claims it uses 50% less electricity than average. If you turn it off with the power switch, when you turn it back on it goes thru a lenghty check process, and cleans the print heads- somehow - without using any paper. I think you are meant to just leave it in standby. It claims to be Energy Star rated.
Set up was straight forward, and took about 10 minutes, not including the initialization process it goes thru to clean and align the print heads and the ink cartridges. I had no difficulty with any of this. Things like alignment and color range were perfect as far as I could tell. You will need to use the supplied CD to load the program, because of the many features of this device.
The ink comes in 4 cartridges, plus there are 2 print heads, that are somewhat of a mystery to me. They seem to have ink in them too, and I assume that when I need new ones the screen will have a message to that effect. Prices for ink are not low, but the claim is that the cartridges will last a long time. At least 1200 pages each for color and 2400 pages for black. I always print on the lowest resolution anyway, so we'll see.
The top of the unit has a place to load multiple sheets of paper, for either copying or faxing. Once you load sheets, you select print or fax and follow the directions. I found all this to be very easy to understand, and select properly. The first fax I sent was done correctly. No drama at all with faxing. This has exceeded my expectations.
The menus are well designed, and even the onscreen keyboard is easy to type with. You may use the keyboard to log on to your google docs account, or some other places like the HP docs store. HP does give you 27 free docs, with a small preview image of each. Once you select a doc or something else online to print, you can choose color or black, and the number of copies. All in all this is pretty amazing and well done stuff.
Here is a formal list of the features of this printer:
Laser Comparable Speed : Up to 15 ppm black, Up to 11 ppm color
Maximum Print Speed : 35 ppm black and 34 ppm color
Scan Resolution: Up to 4800 dpi
Copy Resolution: Up to 1200 x 600 dpi
Display: 2.36" CGD (color graphics), Touchscreen
Standard Connectivity: 1 USB 2.0, 1 Ethernet, 1 PictBridge, 1 Wireless 802.11b/g/n,
memory card slots
Paper Handling: 250-sheet input tray, 35 sheet automatic document feeder, optional
250-sheet input tray, 150-sheet output tray
Print quality on a number of items has been superb. Fast, crisp and ink that is waterproof. I have used the duplex feature to print on both sides of a page and that works impressively well also. I have not seen the need to use more than the lowest quality output so far. Saving ink while still getting great pages is easy with this one.
Scanning has been excellent the few times I have tried it. You need to know a bit about resolution and storage folders on your PC to use it most effectively, but the scan itself is very good.
I am recommending this device with no reservations at all. It does just what it is designed to do, and I believe even better than what some of us will expect.