HP Officejet Pro 8500 Performance

August 4, 2009 by Sarah Meyer Reads (31,565)


Setting up the Officejet Pro 8500

Like most printers, the Officejet Pro 8500 comes with a quick start guide instructing users to remove packaging materials, install duplexing accessory and printheads, load ink and paper, and turn the machine on. If you purchased the Officejet Pro 8500 Premier configuration, there will also be a second paper tray to install.

The 20 minute ink alignment for the Officejet series takes longer than any other inkjet I’ve encountered. I have to assume that’s because of the use of pigment-based inks for improved color performance. Either way, the printer does the alignment completely on its own so feel free to walk away from the Pro 8500 during this time.

After the alignment is finished, it’s time to install the software and decide what kind of connection to use: USB, Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection. Users who purchase the Officejet Pro 8500 base model will not have the wireless option; but both the Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless and the Officejet Pro 8500 Premier offer Wi-Fi. Note: some features – such as the digital filing – can only be used over a network connection.

After the Officejet Pro 8500 is setup and ready to print, the HP CD gives users the option to set up the digital solutions. Digital solutions include the fax setup wizard and the digital filing setup wizard. Both are simple enough to use but if you are running short on time feel free to skip them; both can be accessed via the Solution Center or the Embedded Web Server later.

Ease of use
Considering how many features the Officejet Pro 8500 offers, one might assume that the machine would be super difficult to use but I found the opposite. The 3.4 inch LCD is easy to maneuver with six main menu options: copy, scan, fax, photo, setup and help. Each of these main menus open to different selections related to the section; for instance, the scan menu pulls up four scan-to options as well as a reprint option.

There are also several easy keys on the control panel giving users the option to automatically block junk faxes, scan to e-mail, make an instant color copy, etc.

The built-in card reader includes a flash drive compatible slot for printing photos or documents directly; I love that since often it’s only compatible with PictBridge or memory cards.

If you prefer to have your options laid out on a computer screen there are two options: HP’s Solution Center or Embedded Web Server.  The Solution Center software that gives users access to the same selections they could pull up on the LCD but is really only useful when the printer is connected.

For those using the Officejet Pro 8500 over a network (Wireless and Premier configurations), HP includes a web server that be accessed by plugging the IP address into a browser.  Get the IP address and other network information by printing out a network test report found in the Setup menu.

Speed and quality tests
I’m not sure how HP got the Officejet Pro 8500 to print 35 pages per minute but I could not duplicate the scenario. I have to say that of all the things that the Pro 8500 does well – and there are quite a few – it is lacking in print speed, at least compared to the high standards HP set when advertising the model.

When printing my 38 page standard text document in normal mode, I found on average that the Pro 8500 printed 14 ppm with a first page out in about 11 seconds. Much slower than 35 ppm advertised but in the Officejet Pro 8500’s defense HP does mention on the overview page that the Pro 8500 prints about 15 “laser quality” pages per minute which is much closer to my findings of about 14 ppm in normal mode.

However, when printing my 38 page standard text document in draft mode, I was still not close to the advertised 35 ppm, even when discounting the first page out time of about 11 seconds. On average, the Pro 8500 printed 18 ppm when in draft mode. I will say that the Officejet Pro 8500 has a good draft mode and I would recommend printing in this mode as often as possible to save on ink.

I also printed my standard text and color chart combo document with the Officejet Pro 8500 in normal mode. I got a first page out in about 14 seconds and a print speed of about 11 ppm. Again, this lives up to the HP “laser quality” print speeds found on the overview page.  The color quality on standard copy paper is better than most inkjets and when printed on HP’s Colorlok or other presentation paper, I would say it gives users laser quality color and text.

When printing color documents in draft mode, users will find an increase in speed – about 16 ppm with a first page out in about 13 seconds. But the trade off is a weaker color image. The color is dull and resembles what you might expect from a typical inkjet printing on plain copy paper. However, I would say that compared to other draft color modes I’ve reviewed, the Officejet Pro 8500 does a decent job. It would be useful for saving ink on test prints or rough drafts of presentations.

As usual, I found when printing double sided documents, the print speed slows down considerably. It took about 10 minutes for the Officejet Pro 8500 to print a 38 page text document double sided. The plus side is that with the Officejet Pro 8500 duplexing is completely automatic and I had no problems with paper jams or wrinkled prints.

Photo quality was great on the Officejet Pro 8500 when printing on advanced photo paper although it slowed down the print speeds. It took over a minute to print a 4×6 photo on advanced photo paper; when printing on regular paper I got a 4×6 image in as fast as 30 seconds. Of course, you lose a bit of color accuracy and image quality. 

Overall, I was impressed with the photos the Pro 8500 printed but they weren’t quite as good as the images I got from the HP Photosmart Premium Fax, winner of our Editor’s Choice award.

The fax machine worked well; I used the fax setup wizard to get started. Users can fax using the scanner or the ADF and there are plenty of options such as two-sided and color faxes.

The scanner is functional for an office environment and I liked all the scan-to options on the Officejet Pro 8500. Thanks to the digital filing wizard, the scan-to options are easy to set up. Just a reminder: you will need to set up the Pro 8500 on a network to use the scan-to options.

Energy Consumption
During warm-up, the Officejet Pro 8500 hovered around 25 W but dropped down to a steady 9 W in ready mode.

When printing, the Officejet Pro 8500’s energy consumption again jumped to about 25 W but dropped back to 15 W after the print was finished. It then dropped down to a steady 9 W when entering ready mode.

There is an Energy Saver Mode that the Officejet Pro 8500 falls into when not in use.  I think it consists mostly of blacking out the LCD because it only drops down to 8 W. This can be turned off under the preferences menu in Setup.

But basically, HP’s claim that the Officejet Pro 8500 uses half the energy of a laser printer seems to be right on. The 25 watts the Pro 8500 used when printing is what some laser printers I’ve reviewed used when just sitting in ready mode. If your office chose to get rid of its current laser printer and switch to the Officejet Pro 8500, it would most likely save money on energy consumption. 



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