Top 5 inkjet printers

Inkjet printers have evolved far beyond home and student use; our top-ranked models are fast, full-featured office workhorses that compete well with the lowest-cost color lasers -- even on cost per page

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HP Officejet Pro 8000 Wireless Printer
Officejet Pro 8000 Wireless Printer Review, by Jon L. Jacobi and Melissa Riofrio March 29, 2010

Rating:

rating_icon_4_stars.gif

Pros:
Excellent text quality for an inkjet
Wireless connectivity allows convenient placement
Very inexpensive ink

Cons:
Photos exit slowly
Images can be murky, with orangey flesh tones

Bottom Line: Packed with features and built for speed, this small-business inkjet printer is hard to beat. Ink costs are amazingly low.

REVIEW:
HP's Officejet Pro 8000 Wireless color inkjet printer ($180 as of March 26, 2010) could cure some small offices or workgroups of their color-laser envy. Even the lowest-end color lasers can't compete with the Officejet Pro 8000 Wireless's speed, features, and print quality--and its inks are cheaper, too.

The inks are so cheap, in fact, that we have to talk about them first. The standard-size supplies (the printer ships with a set) are already a bargain: A 1000-page black cartridge costs $25.99 (about 2.6 cents per page), while each 900-page cyan, magenta, or yellow cartridge costs $19.99 (about 2.2 cents per color per page). A four-color page would cost about 9.3 cents. The high-yield cartridges are even better, as HP has priced them at $35.99 for 2200 black pages (about 1.6 cents per page) and $25.99 per color for 1400 pages (about 1.9 cents per color per page). That pegs a four-color page at just 7.2 cents. The lowest-cost color laser printer we've tested, the $199 Dell 1230c, has significantly more-expensive toner.

Setting up the Officejet Pro 8000 is easy, despite the many dialog boxes to click through for the wireless setup. On the Mac, we had to add the printer manually in the Preferences/Printers dialog box--a bit inconvenient.

The Officejet Pro 8000 Wireless is full featured and well constructed. HP built it with thicker plastics than those on the lower-cost Officejet 6000 Wireless, and its included automatic duplexer unit adds extra stiffness in the back. The 250-sheet input tray sits underneath a 150-sheet output area. You can add a 250-sheet input tray on the bottom for $80. On-printer controls consist of just three buttons: resume, cancel, and wireless. The last button toggles wireless on and off if you press and hold, or prints out network settings if you press it quickly. The ink cartridges nestle behind a door in the printer's front, an easier-to-access arrangement than the more common placement inside the printer.

One of the fastest inkjet printers we've tested on the PC platform, the Officejet Pro 8000 Wireless is also competitive with some of the lowest-end color laser printers. Plain-text pages exited at a peppy 10.3 pages per minute. Various graphics printed on plain paper--pie charts, Web pages, and the like--came out at speeds ranging from 4.2 ppm to 4.7 ppm. Photo printing took noticeably longer than anything else. On the Mac, text speed was a decent 10.7 ppm, but the printer slowed dramatically on other, graphics-heavy files we use: It took over 2.5 minutes to print a four-page PDF file with text and graphics, for instance, while a full-page photo at the best settings took well over 3 minutes. The Epson WorkForce 40 is a lot faster (though it has other drawbacks).

Overall, the Officejet Pro 8000 Wireless produced very good print quality. Text was crisp and suffered virtually no defects, while grayscale graphics showed a level of detail in darker areas that many printers miss. Color images had a rich albeit somewhat dark cast that's typical among HP printers. Flesh tones tended to be orangey.

The HP Officejet Pro 8000 Wireless excels compared with other single-function inkjets. For a small office, it's also good to know that this model stands up well to the lowest-end color lasers.

This story, "Top 5 inkjet printers" was originally published by PCWorld.

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