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on July 12, 2013
So let me first start off with the only good note on this printer, like the other reviews it is extremely easy to setup the wireless printing feature on this printer and the printer itself prints nicely even in draft mode. HOWEVER, this printer is a complete disaster from a user perspective. Unless you have an endless money supply and don't mind stock piling plenty of replacement cartridges.

This printer is the last straw for me in purchasing HP Inkjet Printer products. This printer's design clearly shows the number one motivation of HP, revenue over customer satisfaction.

There are two completely unacceptable functional designs in this printer.

1. Each time you install a new inkjet cartridge the printer goes through a "printer initializing" process. During this process the program sucks 10% of the remaining ink cartridges installed. So if you replace each of the four cartridges over a one week period without printing a single page each of the remaining cartridges will contain 30% less ink once the last cartridge is installed. This means that you basically have to replace all cartridges at the same time unless you don't mind wasting 30% of your ink.

2. The MOST FRUSTRATING PART OF THIS PRINTER is the fact that you CANNOT PRINT unless all cartridges are full.

So I am getting ready for a critical meeting in 1 hour, I need to print a multi-million dollar proposal for my top client for this meeting. I know I have plenty of black ink because I installed a new cartridge yesterday. I go to print this important document and the printer WILL NOT PRINT MY BLACK AND WHITE DOCUMENT BECAUSE THE CYAN INK was now out of ink! Now I know for a fact that this Cyan printer cartridge contained at least 10% ink when I installed the new black ink cartridge because a ran the printer report. So now I am panicking and grab another Cyan ink cartridge that I know contained 20% of ink remaining when I replaced it. It once again goes through it "printer initializing" process and now it won't print my BLACK AND WHITE DOCUMENT because the yellow ink is now gone!!! Keep in mind the yellow ink had a little less than a 1/4 of its ink remaining before I replaced the Black ink cartridge. Now after replacing the Cyan cartridge now the yellow ink gone so I again replace it with a used cartridge that had about 1/4 remaining but after this initializing process now all color ink cartridges are completely empty. Keep in mind, during this time I haven't been able to PRINT a single document since replacing the Black cartridge the previous day. So now I am completely out of three ink cartridges all because I changed out three cartridges.

So now I am so frustrated I want to throw the printer out my 10 story office window, if only the window opened. In a last ditch effort I call HP Support to ask how I can bypass the color cartridges to print my black and white document. I am told by support that the printer cannot print without the color cartridges. When I ask why I am told that it is due to the printer's high quality printing. So when I ask how in God's name does a yellow ink cartridge impact the quality of a black and white document, I get crickets chirping from the support person until he asks if I would like to speak with a supervisor. When I say yes, he places me on hold until the system hangs up on me 5 minutes later. I call back, now I immediately ask for a supervisor. The supervisor tells me that is the way the printer is designed. It uses color ink even in black and white documents to ensure "quality" printing and says he will send me a link to contact the CEO with my comments.

Moral of the story, NEVER buy a printer that "requires" color cartridges to print black and white documents. There is only one reason that color ink is required to print black and white and it is to sell more ink cartridges. This printer is purposefully wasting color inks in order to force the buyer to replace the cartridges as much as possible. Until HP rewrites their printer software to eliminate this wasteful ink usage I think anyone that purchases any of their inkjet printers should have their head examined. By the way I worked for HP in their Enterprise Software division so I am not just some HP hater.
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on January 9, 2012
HP Officejet Pro 8600 e-All-in-One Printer N911a

I had an HP Officejet R40 printer for over 14 years, and it finally broke. After considerable research, I replaced it with the HP Officejet Pro 8600. There are "Plus" and "Premium" models of the 8600, but I got the cheapest. As far as I could tell, the Plus and Premium models did not have much to offer that I cared about - a higher capacity document feeder, a larger touch screen, and a second paper tray. I was pretty happy with the R40, and I thought that 14 years was pretty good for a printer. I print less that 1000 sheets a year, I think. So I was predisposed to get another HP. They have "Photosmart" printers that allow you to edit photos on the printer, but I am happy to do my editing on my computer using Picasa. The 8600 does have slots for inserting several types of memory cards (SD, Memory Stick Pro Duo, etc.), which would be handy for photos. The Officejet 8600 does lots more than the R40 did, so it is just as well that I had to get a new printer.

Apparently this model replaces the HP Officejet Pro 8500, which was rated in PC World and Consumer Reports in December, 2011. PC World gave the 8500 four stars out of five, and rated it number one in their list of ten multifunction printers. They said the ink costs 1.6 cents for black and 7.2 cents for four colors, per page. The other printers cost two or three times as much for ink. Consumers Reports gives it a "Best Buy" check and rates it "very good" in all areas (quality and speed). I bought the 8600 model, and I believe it is essentially the same as the 8500.

The printer uses a black HP 950 ink cartridge and three HP 951 color cartridges (cyan, magenta, and yellow), so you can just replace the cartridge that is empty. The cartridges come in standard capacity and XL high capacity, but the high capacity cartridges may be hard to find - my local Walmart didn't have them and the Best Buy salesman said that they don't always have them. The high capacity cartridges have way more ink and cost only a little more, according to the Best Buy salesman.

During installation I hit some speed bumps but I was able to resolve the problems reasonably easily. I have a desktop computer, a laptop, and a Linksys wifi router. Both are about four years old and run Windows Vista Home Premium. The first decision was how to connect the printer to the desktop. I had two choices. I could run an Ethernet cable from the desktop to the printer, or I could let the printer use its wifi to receive data wirelessly from the desktop. I initially chose the wireless method, based on something I read in the HP documentation. The printer has wifi, and my desktop has an Ethernet connection to the router (which has wifi), so they were connected through the network. Later, at someone's suggestion, I ran an Ethernet cable from the router to the printer. Everything continued to work fine. This is a superior way to connect because Ethernet will be faster and more reliable. I thought the documentation could have more clear, but I think I figured out the optimal solution and it is working fine. (This paragraph edited 3/19/14)

To summarize, if you have a router with wifi and Ethernet ports, connect your printer to your router via Ethernet. Your laptop, smart phone, and tablet will communicate with the printer through the router via wifi, and your desktop will communicate with the printer through the router via Ethernet. Given this setup, do not connect the desktop to the printer via the USB ports. (This paragraph added 3/19/14)

I ran the included CD on the desktop and it installed without a problem, and I was able to print and scan. Now, how to install the printer on the laptop. The documentation does not discuss how to install the printer on a second (or more) computer. My first (wrong) guess was to find the printer in Windows Explorer, right-click on it, and select `install'. I did this, and it was unsuccessful. I tried the CD, and that didn't work. One of the failure screens guided me to an HP web site that had a help file to download. The help file had a convenient button to launch msconfig, and instructions to disable some startup programs and services, and reboot. The help file had a button that sent me to an HP download site to download the latest version of the printer software. I downloaded it, ran it, restored the startup programs and services that had been previously disabled, and rebooted. Now everything was fine. Printing from the laptop over wifi works great. We have an iPod Touch, and we can print from it using the Airprint protocol. The iPod did not require any installation or setup of any kind - it just prints, since I had already set up the wifi on the printer. Some people might think that I had quite a hassle installing the printer on the laptop; I wasn't bothered by it too much. I think if the quick-start documentation had just a little more information, I might have gotten it all done the first time without having to get the help file.

I have tried the scanner and it works fine. Launch the HP Scan application and it gives you a choice of PDF, JPEG, or Editable Text (OCR). OCR means optical character reader - scan a page of printed text and it recognizes each character and saves everything as text characters, and you can save the document as TXT or RTF (rich text format.) (This paragraph edited 1/29/2012.)

I have not tried the FAX. I don't have much reason to use a FAX, and don't even know who I would send a FAX to as a test. The documentation makes kind of a big deal about using the provided "special" telephone line to connect to the phone outlet. I don't know why an "ordinary" telephone line wouldn't work.

I printed a color picture on 4 x 6 inch HP Everyday Photo Paper, and it looks very good.

If the installation had been flawless, I would have given five stars.
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on January 17, 2014
UPDATED 12/15/2015: The control panel no longer works (it is a white screen). This is a well known and well documented issue. The printer is less than two years old. JUNK. HP is no longer the company it once was.

UPDATED: See updates at bottom.

Hewlett Packard has always been the "go to" brand for quality printing products and support. This well-earned reputation may be in jeopardy.

I purchased this printer and a 2nd paper tray for medium-volume office work that includes frequent single-addressee mailings. The mailings are done in MS Word with a file that has letter content and an attached envelop. Information about the printer indicates that this functionality is supported with envelops in the top tray and letter paper in the lower tray. There is no manual feed slot for envelops or special-size papers.

In summary, the HP Officejet Pro 8600 remains unable to accomplish the simple task of printing the envelop information on an envelop and letter body on the letter paper, after over 15 hours (and many sheets of paper and envelops) spent with HP support, internet research, testing, experiments, and driver reinstallations, It can only accomplish the task correctly if an envelop is in a word file containing only envelops and body in a file containing only things to print on letter paper, or if you print a page range that contains only one paper size. The printer otherwise is great - colors are nice, speed is okay. You can get all of that and correct envelop printing for less money with other printer brands.

HP has been laughably terrible to work with on this issue.

I started with the online chat support. I typed in my problem and went through the steps to get support. The result was a blank screen. I repeated, same result. I tried in a different browser. Same result.

I next called the telephone support line. I waded through a seemingly unending voice prompt tree. Finally, I got the ubiquitous "due to unexpected high caller volume..." message. This is partial success and is what speaker phones are ideally suited to handle. After 20 minutes on hold I was greeted with the musical tones of a heavily southeastern-Asia-accented male who called himself "Joe". Why India-outsourced telephone support agencies rename their agents with single-syllable English names is amusing - do they really think that I'll be more comfortable and happier since his name is Joe?

I spent 40 minutes with Joe who began by insisting that the 8600 has only one paper tray. I finally convinced him that there is an optional 2nd tray available and I exercised that option. He left for a bit to speak with a supervisor. He then came back and said that you cannot print envelops with the 8600. I assured him that you can. He insisted that it was impossible. I referred him to the user manual. He left again. He then said that it is impossible to print envelops and paper at the same time. I again referred him to the manual. He said that I didn't understand the manual and that the 8600 can print only envelops or paper but not both at the same time. After a bit of confusion I realized that he thought I wanted the printer to print letter content on both the envelop and the paper simultaneously - literally, at the same time. I was thoroughly unable to explain to him that it is a common practice to have a word file that contains both addressee information for an envelop and letter content in the same file. I hung up.

I then spent well over 10 hours over a couple of days trying everything I could find in support forums and elsewhere. Most of this consisted of trying different drivers (e.g. using the Deskjet 450 driver in place of the driver that is specific for the printer) and playing around with printer settings on the printer, in MS Word, and with driver configurations. I figure I wasted about $17,000 in paper and envelops during this process - okay, that is an exaggeration. Probably only wasted 200 sheets & 200 envelops. At times it appeared that success was in reach, but alas, it remained elusive.

I resolved to simply keep my envelop files separate from the letter content. This is far from satisfactory, however is workable.

Then an email from HP shows up. It appears that the information I was sending to get the chat support started was recorded somewhere and this agent followed up. A glimmer of hope...

The information provided in the email was almost entirely a subset of things I had already tried. It was very detailed and would have saved me a lot of time if I had it available before I began my self-support. It did suggest a driver I hadn't tried. Alas, the result was the same.

I replied, in copious detail, describing everything I had done. And clearly indicating that the problem remains. I included sample files and screen shots.

Within a half day, I got a reply. I was excited - it looked like things may finally work as advertised.

HA! The reply was a thank you for working with the support team and indicated that they were pleased that everything is now working properly.

I'll update this review if there is ever anything further to the saga.

Meanwhile: IF YOU NEED GOOD QUALITY COLOR PRINTING ON PAPER AND ENVELOPS - consider many of the manual feed options from Canon, Epson, Brother, Samsung ... steer away from this one.

UPDATE 6/1/2014: So, I've been using the printer regularly in a semi-manual fashion for envelops. In Microsoft Word, I have to print envelops attached to a document separately, by first clicking the envelop and just printing the current page, then printing the remainder of the document. This is a nuisance, but does work.

UPDATE 10/6/2014: The envelop feeder (tray 1) no longer works well. The envelops are printed with a large "tilt" in the alignment. Back to HP support (shudder).
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on May 9, 2016
I bought this product over a year ago. I recommend this product if you want to have to reinstall the software every time you need to print something. I use Windows 10, I downloaded all of the correct drivers and installed the correct software, yet every time I need to use this printer, it isn't found on my computer. I uploaded a picture of what you can expect to see virtually EVERY time you open the printer program to do something, no matter how many times you "fix" the problem. Also, HP can't fix the problem, because they have no idea how to operate their own products. Not to mention that official HP ink products for this printer is wholly expensive, costing over 30 dollars per cartridge, and they don't last at all. Buying this product is a waste of money, and I believe you will find this to be true about all HP products. They should be out of business by now...
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on February 17, 2017
I love this printer. I have one that has printed hundreds of beautiful pages. It is 5 years old and stopped printing. I do not know where to have it repaired. So I ordered a used one. It arrived damaged in shipping, so I still need one that works. I am 88 years old and writing my biography. I have several ink cartridges ahead so would love to order this same model. HP has discontinued producing this model, so my only alternative is to find a good used one.
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on November 30, 2013
Purchased this to use with my MAC. There is no rhyme nor reason on getting it to reconnect.
The second day I owned it I had to put the installation disk back in and low and behold it started printing.
Next it stared printing the top 3 inches of the page, then stop and give you a printing paused message.
It would connect if it was turned off and back on again. Now the printer power button no longer works so it has to be unplugged.
Frustrating for such an expensive home printer. I've owned it for over 2 months and I have not been able to print without messing around with it.
I have another cheap HP wireless printer and have no problems with it. If the wireless feature is important to you don't count on the 8600.
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on January 1, 2012
I had a high end HP printer, the Photosmart C7280, and I was disappointed when it started breaking down and became unreliable after about four years of light use. The C7280 was the first printer I had that was wireless. Rather than being attached to the Mac via USB, it sat alone and was accessible to any Mac or PC in the house, even the iPads and iPhones if I used a certain App as an intermediary. The gripes I would have about this printer was that it rapidly went through ink, and the wireless connection would inexplicably just break, so that all of a sudden you couldn't print. It would take about an hour of fiddling to bring back the wireless. I would have to reboot the HP at least twice, and maybe reboot the computers. I would have to figure out how to preserve the contents of the print queue so I could print it even after a reboot, etc. Given what I paid for this printer, I was willing to nurse it along, but when the electronics started failing I began to shop for a new printer.

I say all this just to contrast it with my early experience with the OfficeJet Pro 8600. The new OfficeJet from HP appears to come from an entirely new generation of printers.

So far, the Office Jet Pro has not dropped a connection. It "just works" with all the wireless computers in the house. It works automatically with iPhones and iPads (through the AirPrint feature) with no special setup or intervening Apps required. It can sit idle, in sleep mode during a five day vacation trip, and then wake up and print without any problem when I return. And did I mention that it is fast. It prints much faster than my old printer, which was pretty fast itself.

I cannot comment on the ink usage. I have not gone through an entire set of cartridges yet.

I chose this printer from the OfficeJet series after realizing that I very rarely printed photos on photo paper with my old printer. I reasoned that I could get the OfficeJet rather than the PhotoSmart, and maybe get a printer that is good for printing pages off the web, printing PDF documents, etc. In theory, the ink should cost less and last longer if it did not have to be photo quality. So far, I am very pleased with the quality and speed of the printing, both black and white and color. And I have not missed the photo capability.

I did have difficulty with initial setup. The printer would not complete the initialization of the ink cartridges. The test would always fail. I finally resorted to the first line of defense for computer problems and unplugged the printer and restarted it. After that, the ink cartridges were initialized, and the printer has worked flawlessly since.

I did not buy the extra paper trays, but as is, the printer holds about 250 pages. This is a huge improvement over the 100 pages or so that my previous printer would hold.

All in all, I would highly recommend this printer for home office use.
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on November 8, 2013
Do not buy this printer if you mostly print using black and white for documents!!! If any color cartridge is empty, it simply won't print, even with a full Black cartridge!!!
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on April 18, 2012
I purchased this HP printer after doing very extensive research. I started with a list of Consumer Reports recommended models for home office use & I looked up the Amazon reviews on each of those models. I hesitated making any purchase, b/c :

* there wasn't a single, clearly "best" model of the ones I considered.
* specifically about the HP 8600, other reviewers reported that the printer software caused problems for them.

Despite my concerns, the HP 8600 seemed to be pretty popular, so I held my breath & bought it. Unfortunately, my experience with the 8600 has been frustrating. Two specific recurring problems have made me regret this purchase:

1) Network printing stops working after the printer has been idle for a few days. Within Windows 7, the HP Printer application shows the printer is on-line & ready, but when I try to print a test page or a document, an error message appears : "Unable to communicate with printer". Other users have reported this problem on the HP forums, but there hasn't been a solution posted. The only temporary fix appears to be to uninstall & reinstall the driver.

2) The HP Windows driver runs continuously, causing system slowdown & annoying mouse cursor change. This is a tricky problem to "prove", b/c Windows Task Manager doesn't show the driver process taking significant CPU time. However, it's clear that after installing the driver from the HP disk, the Windows cursor will constantly change from normal to "busy" (spinning wheel appears next to pointer) & back to normal, throughout the day! Opening files / starting programs takes longer when the busy cursor is displayed. Uninstalling the driver solves the problem : no more "busy" cursor.

It's disgraceful that HP software engineers & quality-control managers either didn't catch these two issues or didn't care that their drivers are so badly behaved.. Makes me sad to see a once-great company fall so low in product quality.

I would not recommend buying this printer unless / until you see that these software problems have been fixed.

UPDATE 4/23/2011 : Over the weekend, I spent an hour or so trying to get HP's "Basic Device Software" (a download option from HP) to work. Couldn't get the test page to print. I downloaded & ran the "HP Print Diagnostic Utility" : it says the printer is "visible from computer" & connected via "Network" (i.e. wired network). However, when I clicked "Next", the message changed to "The printer is not connected"..! So which is it, connected or not connected..?? No wonder the printer driver doesn't work! Anyway, after this message, no further options or instructions are given.

I also found a new thread ("HP 8600 goes to sleep, disappears from network") on HP's forum by another user of this same printer, who's continuing to get the same problem described in #1 above. An HP engineer responded with a number of steps to follow, & the user states s/he followed all the steps, to no avail.

Reading this thread was completely discouraging to me. I just don't have unlimited time to work with HP support people to try to figure out why the printer stops working correctly. It's really HP's problem, not mine. I submitted a request this morning to Amazon to return the HP 8600 & called the 3rd party seller (Beach Trading Co) to make sure they would approve my return, given all the work I put in to try to get the product to work for me. The rep approved my RMA & I'm sending it back.

I got a recommendation to look at Epson printers. The Epson WorkForce 845 has very positive reviews on Amazon, & is just a bit more expensive than the HP 8600. I ordered the Epson model today & will report my experiences on Amazon's Epson 845 page in a couple of weeks.

FINAL UPDATE 5/25/2012 : I've had the Epson WorkForce 845 for several weeks now & have been very satisfied. I recommend that you consider the Epson over the HP.
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on February 11, 2012
This model has incredible glitches that cause it to drop network connections constantly, and the only sure fix is to keep rebooting your entire system, which is crazy. HOWEVER, In contrast to another unhappy buyer, I am finding AMAZON TO BE VERY HELPFUL on returning this item. If you go to HP Forums, you will see that this model has been having consistent problems on networks that use all sorts of operating systems, and HP has not been able to come up with any solution, though I have waited out the month because I am pretty tech savvy. However, it now seems that only computer geeks with either lots of patience or just plain curiousity about the eventual fix are sticking with the product (AND HP doesn't seem to find it useful in terms of customer satisfaction to respond to any of the numerous really unhappy purchasers of this product - they just seem to sit back and watch us talk to one another, if they monitor their own forums at all). I am conflicted about what to buy to replace it because I am a longtime HP buyer who has never had a problem before. I may even buy another model from them. But this model is a turkey, and even though I am going to return it, I am out the very expensive ink I purchased for it. I'd stay away from this model, frankly. A printer is a huge investment in installation time and energy to risk the same problems that I and others are having.
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