At first sight, HP’s OfficeJet 6500A Plus looks like a lot of printer for the money. At a discount price well under £100 it's unusual to get a full-function, SOHO all-in-one with wireless, duplex print, an Automatic Document Feeder and fax. Does a close inspection bear out the value, though?
This is a large device for an inkjet printer and it's mainly cased in high-gloss, piano black plastic. We've never really seen the advantage of this, as it looks tacky and picks up fingerprint so quickly. As if to emphasise the problem, almost the entire printer is covered in low-tac plastic sheet, not a particularly eco-friendly presentation.
The printer is conventionally designed, with a 35-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) on top of a standard A4 flatbed scanner. This uses a white LED light source, so requires no warm-up time.
The control panel is one smooth touch panel, with an illuminated power button the only physical control on the machine. There's a 60mm touchscreen towards the left of the panel with a numeric pad and other single-function buttons ranged around it. They only light up when their functions are available, though you can see the legends even when they’re not lit.
Further down, in the bottom left-hand corner of the front panel are a pair of memory card slots, though there's no front panel USB or PictBridge socket. Paper feeds from a 250-sheet tray, which projects from the front of the machine and printed pages finish up on its cover, once you've extended a telescopic output tray. The same feed tray is used for both plain and photo paper.
HP provides IRIS OCR software as well as its own scanning and basic photo editing applets and there are drivers for both Windows and OS X though, as usual, Linux is only covered via download. This printer supports ePrint, so you can print to it from portable devices, using its own e-mail address.