- Much cheaper than colour laser
- Easy wireless connection
- Max 25,000 page monthly duty cycle
- No multipurpose tray
- USB socket not PictBridge compatible
- Slower than specified
- Review Price: £188.00
- Duplex print, scan and copy
- ePrint, AirPrint and Direct Print
- 109mm touchscreen
- High print speed for inkjet
- Memory card and USB stick sockets
HP has something of a delicate balancing act to achieve, as it sells both laser and inkjet all-in-ones for small business use. In pitching the HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus, the company points out that it costs less than half as much to run as a typical laser and it’s also, or course, around half the price to buy. So why doesn’t everybody go for the inkjet?
HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus Design
Well, for a start, it’s not black, white, cream or grey, staple colours of most laser-based machines. Instead it’s a sort of bronzy brown colour, with inlays of dark brown; very tasteful, nothing too garish.
Then, it’s modestly sized for the things it can do, with a deep, 50-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) and a large, 109mm LCD touchscreen, which is very easy-to-use and is supplemented by six dedicated touch buttons.
HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus Features
There are two memory card readers at the bottom of the HP Officejet Pro 8600’s left-hand side of the front panel and a single socket for a USB drive. Come to think of it, these things are all good reasons to buy this machine, rather than a laser.
There’s a single, 250-sheet paper tray, which projects from the front of the machine by around 100mm. There’s no multi-purpose tray, but a second 25-sheet tray is available as an option. If you’re used to printing on foolscap or American legal paper, the printer can also support these sizes, though then the output tray extends from the front by nearly 300mm.
The front cover of the HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus folds down to provide access to the permanent printhead, which takes four, separate ink cartridges, with a double-width black cartridge which, in the XL version, can print up to 2,300 pages.
Sockets at the back cater for USB and Ethernet connections, though most will opt for the wireless link, since this provides full ePrint, AirPrint and Wi-Fi direct printing from mobile devices such as the iPhone 5, iPad 3 and Samsung Galaxy S3. Software includes ReadIRIS OCR, through the HP Scan application, as well as drivers for scanner and printer.
HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus Performance
HP claims the HP Officejet Pro 8600 print speeds can achieve 20ppm for black and 16ppm for colour print, neither of which looks very realistic when you take into account pre-processing time. This is something the ISO standard doesn’t call for, but which customers will have to include most of the time.
We saw a speed of 9.1ppm on our five-page black text document and 8.3ppm on the black text and colour graphics test. The black text test was a best case measurement and in the worst case, the first sheet didn’t move out of the paper tray for 32 seconds after we’d clicked Print. In draft mode, the speed rose to 12.5ppm, with little noticeable difference in print quality.
On the 20-page test, we saw another slight increase, to 13.6ppm, the fastest speed we saw, but still only two thirds of the headline speed. This machine is fully duplex and printing the same document as a 10-page duplex print gave 6.9ppm. This shows HP has managed to reduce the ink drying time between sides of a duplex print.
Copies took 31 seconds for a colour page from the flatbed and 38 seconds for five pages of text from the ADF. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus has a three-pass duplex scanner, when you include the third pass to collate pages and a five-page duplex copy took two minutes.
15 x 10cm photos took between 46 seconds and 1 minute 10 seconds, depending on source, with a particular fast time coming from a Samsung Galaxy Mini using HP ePrint Home & Business. You can print from memory cards and a USB drive, though oddly the socket doesn’t support PictBridge, for digital cameras.
The quality of prints from the machine is very good; not quite laser quality, but sharp and densely black text. Colour business graphics are smooth and dither-free and, unusually, a colour copy came through showing very little difference from the original. Photo prints are natural and well detailed, though as is often the case, some detail is lost from darker areas of images.
The black cartridge is available in standard and high yield versions, with the colour cartridges only available in high yield. Using the XL versions throughout gives a cost per page of 1.8p for black and 5.1p for colour. These are both extremely good figures, into the realms of the best the Epson WorkForce Pro range can manage.
HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus Verdict
There’s no real comparison between the HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus and equivalent laser machines, as this one is cheaper to buy and cheaper to run. Against equivalent inkjets, such as the Epson Workforce Pro WP-4535DWF it also holds its own extremely well and is a very good overall choice for home and small business.
Score in detail
Print Speed 8
Print Quality 8
|Card slot||SD, MemoryStick|
|Connection Type||Ethernet, USB|
|Extra Features||109mm touchscreen, ePrint, AirPrint, net apps|
|Number of Catridges||4|
|Sheet Capacity||250 sheet tray|
|Print Resolution (Dots per inch)||(enhanced) 4800 x 1200dpi|
|Rated Black Speed (Images per minute)||20ipm|
|Rated Colour Speed (Images per minute)||16ipm|
|Max Paper Weight||280g/sm|
|Print Without PC||Yes|
|Scan Resolution (Dots per inch)||4800 x 4800dpi|