You might not expect low-cost inkjets to hold much appeal for businesses, but HP’s Officejet Pro 8620 turns that perception on its head.
Despite its low price, this A4 inkjet prints, scans, faxes and copies; it has web and mobile printing abilities to rival its more expensive brethren; and it does all of this with far lower running costs than a laser.
HP’s XL ink cartridges deliver a mono page for 2.8c and a colour page for 12c, similar to those of the Epson WorkForce Pro. The only potential irritation is that HP’s cartridges last for around half the page count of those of Epson.
The 8620 can’t compete with the lasers for speed: it’s rated at only 21ppm for mono and 16.5ppm for colour, using the driver’s Normal setting. Sending a 25-page Word document to the HP saw print speeds hit 22ppm, but this figure dwindled to a sluggish 5.2ppm when we switched to Best mode.
Similarly, our 24-page colour DTP document returned 14ppm in Normal mode but only 3ppm at the highest quality. For all tests we found that the time to first page was around 12 seconds. (If you want laser-like speeds in an inkjet, and don’t require a fax or scanner, take a look at HP’s Officejet Pro X Series.)
The 8620 can turn its hand to standalone copying, but again, it won’t win any prizes for speed. In our tests, a 10-page mono copy sent through its 50-page ADF dropped into the output tray at a rate of 9ppm. Handily, there’s a clip-on duplex unit at the rear, but copying the same document to a double-sided print pushed speeds down further to 8ppm.
Print quality is variable. We found text looked slightly fuzzy in Normal mode, but noticeably more crisp in Best mode. Mono photos printed at the Normal setting were equally uninspiring, and suffered from unsightly banding and poor levels of detail. Upping the print resolution did little to improve matters.
Where this printer wins is with colour output. The 8620 churned out punchy marketing reports with bold charts and graphs – the only limitation is that you’ll need to shell out for good-quality paper if you want to avoid wrinkly prints. But, of course, the 8620 does one thing that lasers can’t, and that’s print high-quality colour photos on glossy paper.
The 8620 is jam-packed with features. The large 4.3in colour touchscreen gives quick, easy access to all the main functions, and there’s support for both wired and wireless printing via Apple AirPrint, Wi-Fi Direct and NFC connections. Scans can be sent to an email address or a network share, and HP provides a tool for remote scanning from a PC.
HP’s cloud integration is good, but not quite on a par with that of Epson, which offers superior support for Google Drive, Dropbox and other cloud services. For instance, the HP will work with Google Drive, but we found we had to manually configure this from our Google account; Epson’s software does this automatically.
HP focuses more on its Connected service, which assigns an email address to the printer and thereby makes it possible for anyone to send messages to it and have attachments printed automatically. This is similar to Epson’s Connect service, since it also lets you decide which senders can use the service, print using colour and so on.
The Officejet Pro 8620 packs in a generous range of printing options at a good price. Print speeds are slow but, crucially, it scores well for its superb colour output, low running costs and wealth of useful features.
• 4,800 x 1,200dpi (optimised) A4 inkjet
• 1,200 x 1,200dpi colour flatbed scanner
• 21/16.5ppm mono/colour
• 2 x USB 2
• 802.11n Wi-Fi
• 33.6Kbits/sec fax/modem
• 2 x RJ11
• 50- sheet ADF
• 505 x 407 x 315mm (WDH, with tray out, duplexer detached)
• 3yr warranty
• XL cartridges: mono (2,300 pages), $63.48
• CMY (1,500 pages), $ 47.14
Distributors Ingram Micro, Synnex and Dicker Data
Launched May 2014
Next product below HP Officejet Pro 6830 e-All-in-One
Next product up HP Officejet Pro X576dw Multifunction
What resellers should know “The HP Officejet Pro 8600 series offers professional colour at up
to half the cost per page of comparably priced personal laser printers. The intended customers are home office or small businesses of 1-5 users who want low-cost-per-page Print Scan Copy Fax for low-volume and high-quality colour printing requirements.” Jonathan Edmonds, business planner, Printing and Personal Systems, HP Australia