Sunday, September 9, 2012

HP Officejet Pro 8600 e-All-in-One Printer Review

I had an ink jet printer (Canon) over 15 years ago and after using it for about two years, I stopped using it since at the time I had access to a laser printer and was using that. Eventually, the inkjet printer nozzle got clogged since I wasn't using it and after fixing it one year, I eventually sold it.

I found myself needing a printer again recently and decided to purchase an all-in-one printer. For me, I didn't really care about faxing (although it would be a nice feature to have) and I was interested mainly in printing, scanning, and copying. I did some research on the internet and solicited some advice from friends on my Facebook. It just so happens that one of my friends had purchased an HP Officejet Pro 8600 e-All-in-One Printer and he had very good comments about it. One of the things that he mentioned was that it uses less ink than the other ink jet printers and he personally vouched for this since after a few months of printing every day, he was still using the original ink cartridges that came with the printer. He mentioned that there were 3 HP Officejet 8600 printers (Pro, Plus, & Premium). I opted to purchase the Pro version since it was the one that my friend had, it was the least expensive, and the additional features in the Plus & Premium version although nice to have, I didn't consider the additional price to be worthwhile based on my usage.

First of all, the HP Officejet Pro 8600 e-All-in-One Printer is considered to be a home-office type of device so it is somewhat more expensive than a lot of the entry-type (home) all-in-one printers on the market. It is larger/bulkier and seems more sturdy than the other printers that I saw while I was shopping for a printer in the store.

What I like about the printer is that it is wireless and supports both wired and USB connections. Since the printer is away from my computer (and away from my wireless router), I opted to use mine in wireless mode.  According to the documentation, it supports B, G, and N. I had no problems connecting to any one of my three wireless routers using WPA encryption. Another nice feature that I like is that the printer can upgrade/update its own internal software/firmware without the need of a computer. This is different from updating the computer's printer software drivers/application.

One other thing that I like is that it has an enclosed paper tray as opposed to some of the other inkjet printers where you put the paper standing up into the paper slot. I'm not sure how much paper it accepts into the tray but according to the documentation, it says that it supports 250 sheets.

It supports direct printing from memory card (SD/MMC, MS/DUO) as well as USB memory stick. There is an LCD display touchscreen which is used to preview images as well as to navigate through the menus.

The Pro version (which is what I have) supports automatic duplex printing. Unfortunately, it doesn't support automatic duplex copying (the Plus & Premium versions support this along with some additional features).

The HP Officejet Pro 8600 has 4 independent/separate ink cartridges so that if one of the cartridges runs low, all you have to do is replace that one cartridge as opposed to replacing a cartridge that has all the colours. The cartridge types that it uses is 951 (or 951XL) for Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow whereas for Black it uses 950 (or 950XL). The XL cartridges print ~2x more pages. For example, whereas according to the specifications the HP 950 ink cartridges prints up to 1000 pages, the HP 950XL ink cartridges prints up to 2300 pages.

This printer also supports HP's ePrint and Google Cloud Print. What HP's ePrint allows you to do is to print certain types of documents (mainly Word, Adobe PDF, Excel, JPG, and PowerPoint) from any internet device that is capable of sending an e-mail since the printer is assigned a unique HP ePrint e-mail address. I've tested the ePrint feature (printed a photo while I was at work to my home printer) and it works very well. After adding the printer onto my Google account as a Cloud Printer, I was also able to print from Google Chrome on my PC as well as on my Chromebook to my HP Officejet Pro 8600 at home while I was physically at work.

I tested the scanning, printing, and photocopying and they all performed relatively well. Printing is relatively fast although I'm not sure about quoted/documented speeds of 13 to 32 ppm depending on print quality. I tested the printing a picture to the printer and to be honest, I was not overly impressed with the colour print quality for pictures. However, perhaps this was due to the paper that I was using. Another thing to mention was that when the picture print-out came out of the printer, the paper was not "flat" and the shape and texture was similar to a piece of paper being sprayed with water and allowed to dry. This obviously was not the case when printing regular printouts where the colour/ink does not encompass every square centimeter of the paper.

The device scans in either JPG or PDF and will either store the files onto a computer (where the  HP Officejet Pro software is installed) or it will store it onto a USB memory stick. I did have issues scanning directly from the printer onto my computer but I believe that it is probably a problem with my computer as opposed to the device (since my friend who has the same printer informed me that he did not experience this issue). The error message that I would receive on the LCD display would be a connection issue even though my computer was connected to the same network/router that the printer was connected wireless to. I would also occasionally get a small warning on the task bar indicating that the connection to the scanner was lost but then it would reconnect a few seconds later. When scanning from my computer using the HP Scan software, I didn't experience any issues.

I downloaded a copy of the user guide (which describes some of the HP Officejet Pro 8600's features as well as troubleshooting instructions) and stored it *HERE*.

All in all, I'm satisfied with my recent purchase of my new HP Officejet Pro 8600 e-All-in-One Printer. The only thing that I would have liked is that if it had some of the features of the Premium or Plus versions at the price of the Pro version. I also find the ink cartridges to be a bit expensive but I'll see how long the current ink cartridges last (since the printer is supposed to use ~50% less ink and most of my copying/printing is mostly in draft mode).

If you have any questions/comments regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section below. Please note that comments are moderated and any comment which contains a URL link (whether embedded or not) will automatically be flagged as being spam and will not be posted.

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