Don't confuse the OfficeJet Pro 8500, HP's big, heavy-duty office inkjet all-in-one which we reviewed a few weeks back, with its OfficeJet Pro 8000, which is a big, heavy-duty office inkjet printer. Although it uses the same engine, it's a third of the price and is intended as an alternative to the current tranche of cheap colour lasers aimed at home and small offices.
With large-radius curves breaking up an otherwise boxy look, the OfficeJet Pro 8500 shares the modern black and white styling of its bigger counterparts. Its single paper tray extends from the front of the machine and paper makes a 180-degree turn during printing and exits out onto the tray's lid, once you've extended a long paper support.
The control panel is about as simple as it can be, with four indicators for the ink status of the cartridges and four buttons for networking, job cancel, paper feed and power. At the back is a plug-in duplexer, supplied as standard, and sockets for USB and Ethernet connections, as well as HP's usual external power supply. Supplying a black block PSU is no doubt an advantage for HP, but just adds to the clutter under a customer's desk.
Our review printer was supplied with partly-used ink tanks and print heads and unusually, these had all been removed from the printer before dispatch. We were expecting to have problems with the ink system due to air bubbles, but were pleasantly surprised that once all the consumables were plugged back in place, the printer did a quick recharge and printed flawlessly throughout all our tests.
HP's ink system uses separate, high-yield ink tanks and each print head deals with two of the four ink colours: there's one for black and yellow and one for cyan and magenta. The high-yield ink tanks slot in at the front and offer capacities of 2,200 black pages and 1,400 colour, close to the capacities of typical colour lasers in the same market. Unfortunately, also like many colour lasers, this machine is supplied with ‘introductory' cartridges, with capacities of around half these figures.
Because it's a single-function printer, the software is comparatively simple, with just an Internet print utility and the driver. Both install easily and the driver is reasonably well-specified, with facilities to print multiple pages per sheet and print edge-to-edge brochures.