Small Business Printer Review: HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus - Page 2

By Paul Mah
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Working with the Officejet Pro 8600

Like practically every small business inkjet printer out there, the Officejet Pro 8600 makes a fair amount of noise when printing. Though we won’t describe it as particularly noisy, the internal space where the print heads move around seemed to accentuate the sound somewhat.

Overall, the inkjet produced vibrant color printouts, which dried very quickly, even for full-page photo printouts. Of course, the inkjet technology the Officejet Pro 8600 Plus uses means that the ink smudges slightly upon contact with water, and text was not as crisp as a good laser printout. Still, the quality is perfectly usable for business printouts.

We were very impressed by the Officejet Pro 8600's high print speed -- even with color HTML emails or full-paged photos. This includes copying full color pages too, which in our tests took 10 seconds to print after completing the scanning portion. And did we say that the Officejet Pro 8600 supports duplex printing too? This excellent feature helps you cut down on paper consumption.

The printer comes with HP’s ePrint, which lets you print via a uniquely assigned email address. We suppose this could be useful for getting things printed en-route to the office, though it’s probably not a must-have feature. On a separate note, we were able to print from an iPad tablet using its built-in AirPrint feature.

To maximize on its touch-screen panel, HP added support for a variety of apps. They runs the gamut from news and games to, yes, even comics. We're not convinced that they're practical in a business setting though, and accordingly did not explore them in depth.

One major downside to the Officejet Pro 8600: it doesn't have a sheet feed capability. This means there's no easy way to insert non-standard paper sizes and envelopes for printing, including paper of varying thickness such as stock paper or labels.

To be clear, you can still load smaller-sized paper from the paper tray, though you will have to empty it and set the internal paper guides accordingly first.

Another minor gripe has to do with the printer' bulk. While it's not particularly large when compared to multifunction printers with comparable capabilities, the protrusion at the back (for the paper path) and on the front (for the flaps) means that you won’t be able to put it on a narrow desk or shelf.

Conclusion: Officejet Pro 8600

The Officejet 8600 Pro offers a very credible range of capabilities beyond print, scan, copy and fax, including direct wireless printing, support for tablet devices and even an auto-duplexer.  

Taken together, the wealth features make the Officejet Pro 8600 a highly appealing purchase. It offers excellent value for the money, and should serve well as the main office printer for smaller businesses or for deployment at a branch office.

If you are currently shopping for a printer, you may also want to read our Tips for Buying a Small Business Printer and Small Business Guide to Multifunction Printers.

Paul Mah covers technology for SMBs for Small Business Computing and for IT Business Edge. He also shares his passion for and knowledge of everything from networking to operating systems as an instructor at Republic Polytechnic in Singapore, and is a contributor to a number of tech sites, including Ars Technica and TechRepublic.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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This article was originally published on February 08, 2013
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