5 Responses to “HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless All-In-One Printer”

  1. A. Dent says:

    Review by A. Dent for HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless All-In-One Printer
    Rating:
    I thought I would make what is normally the conclusion the beginning section because not everyone may have the time or the disposition to go through all these paragraphs unless actually interested in making a purchase. I am providing more detail that should support my conclusions AFTER the evaluation section.

    Evaluation

    ———-

    The reviewed unit meets the claim of it being a all-in-one solution. While it is not likely that any individual user would take advantage of all its features on a regular basis, it is reassuring to know that the features are there. The supplied software and the printer’s own console interface allow for a tremenduous amount of flexibility and customization. Some of the more advanced features will require an above-average level of computer expertise but, even without a lot of customization, this will be a useful, worthy printing/faxing/copying/scanning appliance.

    While the superior quality of output would make this printer a good ‘small office’ candidate, its speed would probably disqualify it if the small office was doing any significant amount printing. I provided some personal benchmarks so that any prospective small business buyer could decide. As a ‘home’ printer, this comes as close to perfect as they come. I will be using it as a home printer so please do interpret my rating within that context.

    A minor observation regarding ‘design’. I found it interesting that some of the functions available on the touch screen are duplicated on physical buttons on the printer’s console. This was striking because I actually saw this model for sale at New York’s Fifth Ave. Apple store. It immediately occured to me that an Apple designer would have none of those buttons if allowed to redesign the product. This is not criticism, it’s only an observation, also prompted by the fact that, for example, when specifying the number of copies to be printed, I could NOT use the physical number pad but had to punch the number on the virtual keypad displayed on the touch screen.

    The strong, almost violent shaking the printer brings itself to when not on a perfectly steady surface was a little disturbing to me. I have little doubt that, if improperly placed, the printer would quickly lose its printheads alignment and it might even experience other technical trouble.

    Finally, I am happy that the HP Tech support solved my Vista-related problem but it would have been better if a printer that was manufatured only a few days before I received it had an updated CD or, at least, a flyer advising Vista users how to obtain the updated driver.

    Considering all of the above, the this printer gets a strong, very positive 4 stars.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    First impressions

    —————–

    The HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless All-In-One Printer integrates print, copy, fax, scan document and photo-processing functions. HP supplies the printer itself, ‘starter’ ink cartridges, print heads and a phone wire. Ethernet or USB cables are not included. Thin manuals are provided for wireless and FAX setup. A quick installation poster is provided as well. The full 300+ manual can be downloaded from the HP site. The CD has drivers for the several supported Operating Systems and a number of additional applications such as OCR (optical character recognition).

    Besides the Ethernet and USB ports, other physical IO include 2 telephone jacks in the back and slots for several types of memory cards in the front. The printer can be controlled from a PC or directly through a touch-screen color display and several buttons that generally duplicate options on the menus available through the touch-screen interface. To satisfy energy saving concerns, the printer goes to sleep if not used for a while but it can be reactivated by either touching the screen or one of the buttons or remotely from a networked workstation.

    Software

    ——–

    Drivers are available for the most recent flavors of Windows (Vista, XP, 2000) and for the Mac. It can be configured to either a local printer, connected to a PC via a USB cable or as a network printer, wired (Ethernet) or wireless (802.11g). Another option (not tested by me) would be for one PC to connect the printer via USB and then share it over the network. I experienced problems installing the Vista drivers but HP’s tech support addressed it by replacing the CD-supplied drivers with a version available at HP’s site.

    While installing the drivers, HP will also install a number of applications and services. Of these the HP Solutions Center is the most versatile. It monitors the printer’s status, including the ink levels and allows for configuring printing, scanning, faxing and other capabilities such as the forwarding of documents to network folders (tested) or to email (not tested yet). In addition, the home page can be used to control fax and scan operations, to convert a graphic image to text and to launch other applications such as the HP Photosmart Essential. I posted images of the Home and Configuration screens.

    I did not fully test the Photosmart Essential application yet but I expect it to meet most basic photo management and printing needs and perhaps more.

    If staying with the defaults at drivers installation, HP will install other, generally unneeded or unwelcome applications and services. One of them, the HP Customer Participation Program seems to be taking hundreds of megabytes but not doing anything useful from the end-user’s point of view. I found Web discussions indicating that the ‘program’ was guilty of a memory leak. I removed it. Another unwelcome (to me) addition is the ‘Yahoo Toolbar’ to my Internet Explorer which I don’t use anyway. This was done without asking for my permission. I had to use Vista’s Control Panel to remove it after the fact.

    Finally, one ‘glitch’ that occured after my initial installation from the supplied HP disk had a pop-up constantly telling me that the “HP product assistant” had to be installed or updated and asking me to provide a path. Providing the path for the requested file which I found burried 3 levels deep inside the supplied CD, was not helping and the cycle kept repeating endlessly. Some Web research revealed that this was a common problem and there were not many known solutions. I was able to find at the HP site a utility that tried to remove all HP drivers software from my PC but, 4 reboots later and after re-installing the drivers, the popup returned. A call to the HP support was answered and a technician was able to address the problem after taking over my computer, performing the ‘cleanup’ job that I tried myself and then installing an updated version of the drivers, downloaded from the HP site. The file name for Vista 32-bit is OJP8500vA909_Full_12.exe. I will post an image showing how to get to the drivers from the HP Solution Center. The HP suppport remediation completed after about 2 hours. The HP technician stated that ‘only Vista’ installations experience this problem. XP or Mac users should be safe.

    Print

    —–

    Ink-jet printing outputs clean documents even on the ‘normal’ resolution. Printouts can be either color or black and white, one-sided or two-sided. Print quality can be set to anything form ‘general everyday printing’ to presentation, photo-quality or to ink-saving ‘fast/economical printing’. The supplied paper tray can be loaded with up to 250 sheets up to ‘legal’ size. One-sided print speed is adequate but duplex printing can be quite slow.

    The print operation appears to involved a great deal of physical movement inside the printer. If placed on anything but a very steady platform, the printer tends to swing quite violently from left to right and back. This had me concerned enough to move it from its initial location.

    Copy

    —-

    The copy function allows for anything from one-sided/one-sided to two-sided/two-sided copies. As in the case of printing, two-sided copies are much slower to produce. The copy quality is good enough to make the copy almost indistinguishable from the original.

    Fax



    I did not fully test the FAX capabilities but it’s worth menioning that a lot of flexibility is provided, including the ability to direct the faxes to a network folder (which I did test with the scan function) rather than having them printed. It is also possible to block ‘junk’ faxes by maintaining a list of the offending phone numbers.

    Scanner

    ——-

    As a scanner, one can file the output to any of up to 10 preset network folders or if when the scanning process is initiated from a PC, output can be directed to a designated user’s local folder. Scanned documents can be translated to text via the integrated OCR function. My experiment with a printed document produced with Microsoft Word returned 100% accuracy for content but, as expected, the formatting (headers, footers, margins) was not properly handled.

    Photo processing

    —————-

    Photo processing can be controlled either at the console and the interactive touch screen interface does allow for some flexibility. Input is provided by inserting one of the supported memory devices containing pictures (MMC SD, CF, XD, MS/DUO or USB). Some crude cropping and sizing is available as well as color processing – sepia or gray scale prints can be produced and the colors can be manipulated to be darker or lighter. The more flexible solution and the one more likely to be used is via the provided HP Photosmart Essential application. Either through the touch screen interface or via HP Photosmart the printer can be configured to use photo paper from either HP or ‘other’ manufacturers. Inks more suitable for photo printing are available from HP but the quality of prints that I produced with the supplied ink on Canon Photo Paper Pro was satisfactory.

    Document Management

    ——————-

    I did not test the claimed document management capabilities yet.

    Support

    ——-

    I was satisfied with the quality of support provided. After a slow start (20 minutes) where the Help Desk person asked many questions related to my identity, the printer’s identity and the nature of the problem, I was forwarded to a technician that was able to actually solve my problem (see above under ‘software’). It’s hard to tell whether the better than expected support came because I mentioned that I was in the process of reviewing the printer on behalf of a known vendor.

    In addition, the HP Web sites provide a lot of material, including updated drivers and the full manual which I still have to print.

    Benchmarks

    ———-

    I am including a few personal benchmarks with the hope that they might help someone make the right decision when it comes to purchase a home-printer or a small office printer.

    – Printing

    Was done on 10 pages of a Microsoft document that had some graphics and some color. The print quality was set to ‘General everyday printing’.

    10 pages (10 sheets), one sided – 56 seconds.

    10 pages (5 sheets), duplex – 2 minutes, 56 seconds.

    – Copying

    Set to ‘color’, ‘General everyday printing’ quality.

    1 page, 1 copy, 1-1 side – 24 seconds.

    1 page, 5 copies, 1-1 side – 1 minute, 6 seconds.

    5 pages, 1 copy, 1-1 side (5 sheets) – 1 minute, 22 seconds.

    10 pages, 1 copy, 2-2 sides (5 sheets)- 3 minutes, 55 seconds.

  2. Punctilious says:

    Review by Punctilious for HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless All-In-One Printer
    Rating:
    Recent reviews of the HP OfficeJet Pro 8500 Wireless were critical of noise, vibration, and ink usage. Here are what I have discovered since installing this printer.

    1. On most surfaces the noise from the printer is minimal. Movement of the plastic gears on HP, Canon, and Epson are not silent. Perhaps newer versions of the 8500 by HP will address this minor concern.

    2. The printer vibrates slightly compared to a laser printer, but not to the extent that it is objectionable. Perhaps HP can reduce or eliminate this in future models but probably by increasing the weight of the printer. Most users, I suggest, would not want a heavier printer.

    3. Ink usage is part of the printer expense “game” but with HP you can continue to print in B&W even if any or all of the color cartridges are empty [Verified by HP Support] That may not be the case with some recent offerings from Epson or Canon, although I personally prefer Espon and Canon printers for color prints.

    4. The ink cartridges are dated, but they will continue to function even after the “expiration” date. HP prints a date on the ink package, but it does not prevent the cartridge from working. As a matter of fact, ink will remain usable in a SEALED packet for an extended period without concern. This date code is not a rip-off by HP anymore than other companies who print a freshness date.

    5. It is certainly less expensive to order color prints online than to purchase OEM ink and paper. For those with a digital camera who need a quick print now and then the quality of the HP is excellent.

    6. Setup is easy. I would only add a note to the directions for Step 7 to input your choice of language and then follow the touch screen directions as the printer processes alignment. The directions are not clear on that one point, and you could wait for 30 minutes wondering why it hasn’t competed alignment of the print heads. Check this out if you purchase this printer.

    7. I am punctilious concerning most purchases and, at least in this case, I feel that this printer is an outstanding VALUE even when other offerings from Canon, Brother, and Epson may be less expensive. I have seen printers on sale for less than $50, but the thin plastic housing and the print quality reflect the price. We wanted Print / Copy / Scan / Fax, although we will seldom use the FAX function. (I will only connect the FAX as needed).

    8. Follow the directions CAREFULLY and install precisely and you will enjoy owning this printer.

  3. G. Ware Cornell Jr. says:

    Review by G. Ware Cornell Jr. for HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless All-In-One Printer
    Rating:
    The Bible cautions against serving two masters, a lesson of truth the product designers of HP have tried to avoid with some but not complete success.

    First the good news, the printing function is outstanding. Copies in black and white or color are crisp and clear. HP claims that this printer’s cost per copy for color copies is less than those of a color laser printer. Absent a cost/benefit study few working lawyers are prepared to do, I cannot confirm this, but it seems possible.

    On the copy side, two-sided color copying is a great feature. Again the results are superb, but the scanning/printing time is slow.

    The scan quality is very good, but scanning times are totally unacceptable. When you have a fifty page document feeder, the expectation is that the scan will be fairly quick. It is not. It is somewhat less than a page per minute but that means nearly 45 minutes to scan a document into a pdf. Scanning for OCR is faster, and the resulting test is quite accurate, but whether that is a function of the scanner or sophistication of the user’s OCR software cannot stated with any certainty by this reviewer.

    The Printer has fax functions, but they have not been reviewed since it has not been connected to a telephone line.

    It has been tested as a wireless device, however, using the built-in 802.11g communicator. Wireless printing has many practical advantages, not the least of which is the elimination of ugly wiring. One other obvious advantage is that multiple computers can use the device as a network printer.

    While it is not a perfect device, it represents great value for the money. It performs near the top of the class on most functions. That makes it a clear best buy in my book.

  4. jharterman says:

    Review by jharterman for HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless All-In-One Printer
    Rating:
    I’ve had this printer for a week. While it has worked, it has seemed to work well. Print quality is good, fax and copy are nice. I haven’t used the scanner. I was a little annoyed by the set-up and lack of a manual, but it went okay. It’s a complicated product, so you really need a manual.

    After one week and about 20 pages, one of the printheads failed. I tried an online support chat. The person was unhelpful and condescending. The chat lasted an hour. He kept repeating questions and implying that I did not know what I was doing. First, he was flustered that I could not print a test page. Told me to consult the manual if I was unable to understand his instructions. I would presume that would be the manual that does not come with the product. Of course, a printer will not print anything if the printhead does not work.

    Then, he had me do a couple of different resets. That didn’t work. He didn’t know what to do. I suggested that maybe the printhead really was faulty. He disagreed. They don’t go bad on new printers. The problem is firmware or I don’t know how to operate. He told me to wait a few minutes while he researched. Then, he told me to clean the electrical contacts between printer and printhead. That did not fix the problem. Again, he put me on hold — so to speak. Finally, he said the printhead had to be replaced, but to do this, I had to call HP by phone. He gave me ticket number.

    I call HP and wait about 30 minutes. I give ticket number. It is blank. I explain problem. I am told to repeat same steps as before. I decline. I am told that they cannot help me unless I reset printer, do semi-full reset, and clean printhead. I again decline and ask for supervisor. I’m put on hold. Finally, I’m told they will send me a new printhead — estimated delivery is 7-10 days, unless I pay $17 for expedited shipping and delivery.

    I hope this works. If not, I will return printer. Either way, it is doubtful I will use HP again. They were rude, the first guy knew less about printers than I do, and I am now without a printer for over a week. But for those first 20 pages, it is a great product!

    Update: The new printhead arrived, and the printer is working again. Hopefully, there will be no more problems because the features work well. This printer is easy to network, and I love the scan-to-pdf and copy functions (although copying is SLOW). For large jobs, you’ll want to use a real copier.

  5. Ed Sejud says:

    Review by Ed Sejud for HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless All-In-One Printer
    Rating:
    An office machine that can’t easily print envelopes is useless in an office. You have to UNLOAD ALL THE PAPER first, READJUST the paper side guides in the paper tray, load the envelope, print it, readjust the paper guides, reload the paper, and then do it all over again – every time you print an envelope. This is unacceptable in any office that prints envelopes regularly. HP customer support is completely unresponsive.

    The machine does not come with an “Owner’s Manual”, only three (3) fat, multilingual booklets for international use that cover topics limited to setting up the wireless, fax and scan modes. You can download a manual from the HP website. HP customer support at first told me they didn’t understand why anybody would object to the awkward process for printing envelopes, and on another support call they told me to “Google it”, to try to find an article on the internet about printing envelopes. On the fourth or fifth call, somebody in Canada first told me there WAS a user manual on their website.

    The specs for the machine say it has “20 envelope” capacity, but it doesn’t mention the trouble you need to go through to print just one envelope. There is no “bypass” chute or alternate paper tray, and it cannot print on anything that doesn’t like bending, such as stiff paper, cards or envelopes. It wrinkles the envelopes that it does print.

    The machine is clunky and the “Scan to Network Folder” button on the front panel just doesn’t work, and after 13 hours of telephone support, HP couldn’t make it work. The “Scan to Email” button on the front panel scans only to YOUR OWN email, not to anybody else’s. Why would you want a dedicated button on the front panel to scan to your own email, on a computer that is probably 6 feet away?

    SEPTEMBER 1, 2009 UPDATE: I stick with everything I said above, especially the unresponsiveness and lack of knowledge of HP’s foreign-based customer support. I spoke with the customer service of THE RESELLER yesterday, and they determined by checking the internet that there is a second “media tray” available for $80 directly from HP, or less (around $50-$60) from HP resellers, that can be loaded with envelopes to avoid the envelope problem described above. It makes the machine 3.5″ taller and essentially turns a “Pro” 8500 into a “Premier” 8500. However, by trial and error, I discovered that you CAN print envelopes more or less quickly without the expensive accessory by (1) centering the envelope on top of the paper in the tray and (2) pushing it as far forward as possible until it evenly contacts the feed rollers (it helps to see them at least once first, with a flashlight). You can “eyeball” where center is close enough to get consistent results, without removing all the paper first or using the paper guides. Just hold the envelope straight against the feed rollers long enough for the rollers to engage. The feed rollers grab the envelope so quickly that it stays aligned through the printing. This is the work-around that HP customer support told me didn’t exist. HP support didn’t even know that the accessory tray existed . . .

    FINAL UPDATE (9-12-09): After September 1st, when the “Scan to Network Folder” still could not be made to work, a support manager in Canada agreed to replace the machine. The HP “replacment product” arrived this morning, an obviously-used shell of a machine, along with instructions on how to disassemble my old machine to scavenge parts to reinstall in the replacement machine, including the printer heads, cartridges, front panel and whatever, lots of work. I looked over the unit, which had scratches and smudges on it, and realized it was formerly somebody else’s problem, that was scavenged for parts and then recycled to me. I read the instructions and thought this was some bizarre kind of joke, the final proof that HP products have no customer support and no warranty. I put the “replacement product” back in it’s box and sent it back to the scavenged parts center from whence it came. I run a business. My time has some value. After 30 years of buying HP printers, this was the end. HP’s reputation for quality products was earned long ago, but that old HP is gone now. If you read other reviews here and elsewhere, you find that opinion echoed everywhere. That’s why this machine, which sold for $400 two months ago, is now selling for $220.00. If you buy HP, there is no customer support. You’re on your own. If it doesn’t work perfectly right out of the box, return it to the vendor and don’t buy another.