Those that know me will be aware of my preference for laser printers. Specifically HP LaserJet office printers, but laser printers nonetheless. There’s a good reason for this, a typical HP LaserJet (e.g. 4000, 4050, 4100 series) will do something like 20,000 invoice prints for a toner cartridge costing around £25.00 on eBay. I’ve sold hundreds of 2nd user HP LaserJet printers on eBay over the years and many PowerSellers I know personally still run their businesses on printers I’ve supplied them.
Laser Vs Inkjet
So when HP told me that they had an Inkjet Printer for which the running costs are similar to a low end laser printer, I just had to test it. Typically a low end laser will print around 2000 pages per cartridge, but that’s mono black on white printing and not full colour.
The printer competing against the LaserJet is the HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus and I have to say having given it a run for it’s money I’m impressed.
HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus Set Up
Out of the box be prepared for a 20 minute wait before you print. You’ll need to install the duplex unit (a trivial process) as well as inserting the four ink cartridges and 2 print heads. There’s also a ton of protective film to peel off but it does ensure your printer arrives in pristine glossy black condition. Once that’s done and you turn the printer on it’ll take quarter of an hour or so while the printer sets itself up and while your printer’s busy you are advised to install the software.
Installing the software is something I decided not to do straight away and had lunch instead, but there’s a good reason for this. The 8500A Plus is one of HP’s new ePrint web-enabled printers and you don’t actually need print drivers to use it. Rather than print via a cable you can simply email documents to the printer and that was to be my first test.
Naturally for a web-enabled printer you can use either Ethernet or the printer supports WiFi so you can print or connect to the Internet wirelessly. You can even log onto Google Docs from the printer and print direct without the need for a local computer.
ePrint is a joy and a wide range of documents can be printed including Microsoft Office documents, PDF files and Images (including .jpg .png .gif .bmp and .tif). Basically your printer is assigned an email address and once you register on the HP ePrint Center you can simply email documents to your printer. It’s the end of worrying about installing drivers on a new PC just to be able to print.
ePrint is a great feature, if you ever want to print to your work printer when you’re at home, print from your mobile or iPad, or have visitors to your office who want to perform a print job, then all you need is your printers email address.
All printing can then be controlled from the HP ePrint Centre and you can choose to allow anyone to email print jobs to your printer or to have a set of approved email addresses.
Of course to use some of the more advanced printer functions such as fax from PC or scanning you will eventually want to install the software from the CD, but you don’t absolutely have to for your first print job.
HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus Features
The printer is fully featured with fax, scan, copy and support for memory cards as well as printing. Impressively it supports not only duplex printing but also two sided copying to two sided printing.
For the tech lovers the printer has an iPhone reminiscent colour touch screen display from where you can fully control the printer or preview pictures from the card reader before printing. It’s worth pointing out that this is an office machine and although pictures print with reasonable quality if you want a photo printer then you should consider one of HP’s PhotoSmart printers.
Laser or Inkjet
Overall I’m impressed with the HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus. For an inkjet the quality is superb, the printer costs around £200, but there’s also a £60.00 cash back from HP making the HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus a very affordable purchase. A replacement set of cartridges will set you back around £45.00 on eBay. Yield should be around 2,200 pages for the black cartridge and 1,400 for the colour carts.
Overall with this printer you have a decision to make. If you print thousands of invoices a month then there’s no question that a laser printer is still more cost effective for you. However if you’re a lower volume seller with fewer invoices to print, and want colour printing along with copying, scanning and faxing, then the HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus could be the perfect the printer for you.
For low volume full colour (edge to edge) brochure printing, invoices with colour logos and general office use it’s hard to find a better printer at both the purchase price and the running costs… and it’s an InkJet, not a laser.
Disclosure: HP made no payment for this review but did supply a loan printer for two weeks
Great review Chris, thank you. I hope you will be doing more. Buying printers has always been a bit hit or miss for me and I suspect for a lot of other people too.
When clicking the link provided [hp.com online shop] the price is displayed as £250 excluding VAT (so £300 including VAT).
I suspect that many buy their printers by going into such as PC World and looking to see what is on special offer and buying that. Its probably only after they get home that they start to think about if it is an Inkjet or Laser Printer and even if it will run with their computer or whatever. Many years ago I had an 8256 coupled with a BJ10 Inkjet Printer. I had managed to find a company in London that supplied the necessary software so that the combination would work. But I had a second 8256 and BJ10 Printers were on offer at a local store. So I went in to buy the Printer. Before they would allow me to buy it I had to talk to their resident “expert”. When I told him what I intended he refused to sell me the BJ10 because he stated “That they were not compatable”. When I pointed out to him, that I had already done it and it worked very successfully he refused to believe me. I told him that I had the software and I had bought it in London. His answer was “What they can do in London and what we can do in Cornwall is very differant”. Obviously the resident “expert” was a complete moron so I never ever shopped there for anything ever again.
“What they can do in London and what we can do in Cornwall is very different”
lol … sounds like a line from a simon pegg movie.
I find http://www.ebuyer.com have some great deals.
How does this compare to the one on weekly deal? My printer needs replacing.
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