The ISO standard for speed testing seems to have made some impression on the stupid figures often quoted for print speeds. HP quotes a much more rational 8.2ppm for black print and 5.4ppm for colour, in normal print mode. Our five-page text print returned a real-world speed of 4.17ppm, but when we bumped up the document length to 20 pages, it gave 8.96ppm, over half a page a minute faster than the rated speed.
Our black text and colour graphics print returned 3.90ppm, a little slower than the claim, but overall not a bad set of results. It has to be said, though, that the machine still does a lot of fiddling about with its ink cartridges before starting to print. This wasted from 15s to 38s per job during tests, depending, presumably, on what needed charging up.
Against this, print speeds for photos are pretty amazing, for a machine not specialising in image printing. A 15 x 10cm photo print from PC on A4 paper took just 51s and when we printed from an SD card onto a 15 x 10cm blank, the time reduced to 41s.
You might expect the quality to suffer when printing at these speeds, but our results were well up to HP’s usual high standard. Colour transitions are smooth and although there is some loss of shadow detail, this should be relatively easy to compensate for.
Plain paper print quality is fine, too. While not up to the laser quality HP claims, it’s still very clean, with minimal feathering of ink. The only place this isn’t true is when copying black text. While print is still reasonable, it’s quite a bit fuzzier and headlines in bold look particularly over-inked. Colour print on plain paper is good, with bright colours and tight registration.
There is one set of colour cartridges available for this machine, though two blacks are available. The higher yield, XL set offer 700 pages of colour and 1,200 pages of black, moving into the low end of the laser printer world. Cartridge prices are pretty reasonable, too, giving a cost per page for black print of 2.28p and for colour 5.41p, both including 0.7p for paper, as we always do.
These costs are more than comparable with entry-level colour laser printers. In fact, HP’s claim of a 40 percent saving, particularly when considering the colour print cost, looks conservative.
The OfficeJet 6500 Wireless is a well-featured SOHO all-in-one machine and HP has obviously made real efforts to reduce the running costs. Print speeds actually approach manufacturer’s claims and in the case of photo prints are unexpectedly quick. The only missing feature we could ask for is that front-panel USB socket, but perhaps that’s ungracious.