Top positive review
400 of 407 people found this helpful
Excellent economical multi-function machine
on January 25, 2012
I'll start by saying that I think this is an excellent machine.
My journey of buying a multi-function printer started with purchasing an HP Officejet Pro 8500 all-in-one. This was a top-rated machine, and I was excited when it arrived. Unfortunately, the particular 8500 that we received, although easy to setup, jammed constantly. After a week of jamming headaches, I headed online to Amazon to arrange for a return. When considering a replacement, I saw that the 8600 series OfficeJet printers had arrived, so I needed to consider them as well. At only about $25 more than I had paid for the 8500, I took the plunge.
The first decision with the 8600 was which of the three models to order. The basic model was quite attractively priced, and has features similar to the Plus and Pro models. The Plus model's big advantage (in our case) was the larger display. Other features separating it from the basic model are the larger automatic document feeder (50 vs 35 sheets) and a slightly faster print speed (20 vs 18 ppm black and 16 vs 13 ppm color, according to the HP website.) Had we upgraded to the "Premium" model, we could have added an additional 250-sheet paper tray. The Premium model might be appropriate for a small workgroup which does does lots of printing, but in our case, would be extreme overkill based on our printing volumes -- one ream of paper can last us many months!
Display: This printer went to my mother-in-law's house - and she's not the most tech-savvy consumer. We chose the "Plus" model because of the larger display - and it was a great choice! The display is great - large, bright, and intuitive. My mother-in-law has no problem completing most tasks and following the very good on-screen video instructions.
Configuration: The printer was easy to configure without even connecting to a computer using the on-screen display to connect to the wi-fi network. In all, it probably took about 10-15 minutes, most of which was allowing the printer to complete its self-configuration checks and print head alignment. The software was easy to install on the computer, and the computer was able to discover the printer on the network almost instantly using the drivers on the included CD-ROM.
Printing: Print quality is quite good and very fast -- the last time I purchased an inkjet printer was about 7 years ago, and the one this one replaced was 8 years old. Speed has come a long way in that time!
Copying: Again, this was quite simple. I especially like the easy on-screen options for dealing with two-sided originals and copies, allowing for all duplexing options without any additional fuss or difficulty.
Faxing: Also a straightforward operation, there were a few points worthy of comment. First, the fax self-configuration was great, and I appreciated the self-check during the setup process so that sending a "test fax" to someone was not necessary. Also, it worked fine with the AT&T U-Verse digital phone service -- not all fax devices play well with digital phone services, so this was very nice. My mother-in-law also commented about how she appreciated that you can enter the destination fax number before inserting the document to be faxed into the feeder - a nice feature as the destination fax number is usually at the top of the front page, which is often hidden by the document feeder once inserted.
Scanning: The network scanning was quite easy, and worked seamlessly - something not true of all network scan devices. My previous experience had been that devices scanning over the network have some usability problems, and that they work best when connected directly to the computer. No issues here, however - it worked great right out of the box with no physical connection to the computer.
Driver: The included drivers on the CD-ROM worked just fine, as well as those downloaded from the HP website. My one small complaint is that when auto-discovering the printer using Windows 7, Windows fails to install a usable driver. The user must first go to the HP website, download an appropriate driver, then install the driver directly. These extra steps were time-consuming and annoying - but not enough for me to deduct a star.
Ink: The ink cartridges were very easy to insert and replace. I particularly appreciate that they are simple units and don't have the tape-covered electrical contacts common on the older generation of cartridges which could sometimes come off during installation.
Overall: I give this printer a strong recommendation, and 5 stars. You may need to decide which model is best for you -- depending on pricing, the larger display of the "Plus" model might not be worthwhile, and the price of the basic model is quite attractive. For us and our given user, the larger display was key and worth the extra cost. I'd buy one again!