HP Officejet 6500
The value-for-money option?
Review Looking like somebody’s given a pair of compasses to a penguin and told it to design an all-in-one, the Officejet 6500’s black and white body is all wide-radius curves. From the cheeky quiff at the end of its 35-sheet ADF feed tray to its double-size, 250-sheet paper tray, it’s unexpected in looks and function.
This is the biggest machine of the six I tested and includes duplex print as standard, along with the wireless connection it shares with them all.
The big control panel has only a two-line, mono display, but this is adequate for business. The controls are functional and well laid out.
There are two memory card slots, though there’s no front panel USB for PictBridge or Flash drives. Other connections include 10/100Mb/s Ethernet and fax. Software includes HP’s Solution Center, and applets for OCR and web print. Drivers are provided for Windows and OS X and there’s HPLIB for Linux users – indeed, it may well be in your distribution already.
HP quotes print speeds in normal mode, so brownie points there, and claims 8.2ppm for black print and 5.4ppm for colour. I measured 9.0ppm and 3.9ppm, bettering the black claim. These speeds are only beaten by the Epson.
Print quality is good, though not quite matching HP’s "laser quality" claim. Printed text is clean and sharp, but black text in copies is a little fuzzy. Photo prints are surprisingly good and, considering a 15 x 10cm print can finish in 40s, very quick, too.
If you use the high capacity XL black cartridge, print costs come out at 1.8p for black and 6.1p for colour, both of which are very low and only bettered by the Kodak.
The best value of the six printers I tested by a big margin, and it's reasonably nippy too. I can't complain too much about the print quality, either. ®
Next: Kodak ESP 7
All-in-One Inkjet Printer Group Test
HP Officejet 6500
HP printers just sux
Sorry, I really liked my HP printer at first. Then it started eating ink. Annoying stuff like printing a test page every time the power goes off. That eats up black and colored ink, as well as paper. Then I started getting about 30 pages of print on one cartridge. Tech support told me I should not have bought an "entry level" printer. Right. I used to print boxes of paper on my old Teletype 44 on one ribbon. Now, even with fresh cartridges it refuses to do a decent job of printing graphics. It scans just fine though. I have come to loathe HP, their tech support who chastise me for buying their product and just the overall business practices of HP by something they seem to be ashamed of that I bought. I'll never buy ANYTHING from HP again. Sorry, at least they supported Linux. Ric
Two for half the price
My old HP C5180 started to play up a few week back, so though it was time to replace the device with something a little faster, could print double sided, along with having a sheet feeder, as I scan far more than I print.
A quick Google and this model leapt out as the best value device around, especially as the Web site of a certain major retail park vendor was offering the device @ £109.10, so a few clicks later I was off down the road. Got the brute set up in around 15 min's, and started to play.
Print quality / speed are fine for a SOHO set-up,
Then started to test the scanner / sheet feeder, a small document scanned just fine, but when I attempted to scan a couple of Pic's, via the flat bed scanner, the scanner head strangled itself, on it's own ribbon cord, and resulted in a Scanner Failure message a power on / off couldn't resolve, so a quick phone call and back down the road to swap the unit.
The replacement unit is mechanically sound, but have noticed while creating searchable PDF's, on Windows 7, the OCR software occasionally locks up processing complex multi column / oriented text documents, sometimes it sorts itself out, after a min or two, other times it just bombs out, annoying when it's on the last of a 30+ page document. Along similar lines I've managed to get the scan software to bomb out in the results preview, by simply paging through / back through the scanned page images, you appear to be fine if you don't hold down one of the cursor keys. My last gripe on the scanner front is the lid, it only rotates through 90'ish degrees, so unless you find a perfectly levelled surface you may need to wedge a few sheets of cardboard under front of the device, to prevent your knuckles being whacked by the lid and attached feeder tray every time you use the scanner.
As a printer or single page scanner the device is fine, but on multi-page documents the supplied Windows scanner software appears to be a work in progress.
Oh the device also offers a "FAX" capability, haven't a clue why, as that fad died out just after we stopped sending children up chimneys and loading computer programs from cassette tape.