The Officejet 8620 e-All-in-One is an inkjet-based, multifunction colour printer that is aimed at offices. We're talking about home offices or offices with a small workgroup, and offices that typically do a volume between 250-1500 pages per month.
It’s funny to think of a pigment-based inkjet as being suitable for business use considering how expensive ink can be, but that’s exactly what HP is touting with this model. Once you start using it, the capabilities of the machine become obvious. In full swing, it can print documents at a rate that is almost as fast as a colour laser printer, and with results that are highly acceptable as far as quality is concerned. The best part is, it won't incur high running costs.
It's also versatile: you can hook this printer up to a network, print over the Internet through HP's eprint service (you must sign up and assign your printer an email address), use it as a Google Cloud Printer (once you've assigned the printer an eprint email address), and you can print directly from mobile devices without an app when on the same network as the printer. There is an HP service plugin for Android devices, and Wi-Fi Direct needs to be enabled so that Apple devices can see and use the printer.
But secure they are, in this position, as the printhead will then scoot off once you close the panel and the printer will proceed to align the cartridges for the best possible output. Have a look at the alignment page and note the pretty birds. Once this is done, you can progress to the connection of the printer.
You have the option of connecting directly to a computer via USB, which is fine if you are sure that you will only be printing from one machine all the time. You can use the wireless connection (2.4Ghz, 802.11n) to ensure that the printer will be accessible over a network by multiple computers and mobile devices. Setting it up is as easy as tapping the right labels on the printer’s touchscreen menu interface.
Head to the wireless section, find your wireless network, and then enter your password or invoke WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) on your router. Once connected to Wi-Fi, the blue light on the printer will stop flashing and remain solid. Now is the time to install the drivers on the computers that will be accessing the printer.
Don’t follow the Web page address that is given on the printer for downloading the drivers; during our tests, that Web page returned a 403 error. Instead, head to the HP Support site and download the driver manually. It's about 160MB and includes everything you need to print, scan, fax, and even a program for optical character recognition.
At the end of the installation, you will be asked to connect to the printer, at which point you can select the appropriate method (wireless in our example here). At this point, we'll note that when we undertook the installation of the printer over a network on a Windows 10-based machine, it failed miserably, despite detecting the printer on the network. But you shouldn’t be using Windows 10 in your office yet anyway. We used a Windows 7 machine to get it all up and running, and it ran well.
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We printed mostly from Google Docs for our tests, as this is where we store our documents these days. Our main test print is a 47-page Word document with full pages of text that includes highlights, coloured text, underlines, and small print. The overall print speed of this document was impressive. It took 4min 54sec (about 9 pages per minute), and this includes the time it took to spool the document: 1min 45sec. The first-page-out time was 2min 3sec, and the middle of the job produced a laser-like 19 pages in a one-minute span.
When we scruitinised the text output closely, we could see feathering around the letters that is not present on laser output, but it's in no way unprofessional. The feathering was exacerbated on things such as the highlighted text, though the paper type and quality setting can remedy this if clarity is of the utmost importance in such a print job.
You can do a lot of the same things with this printer that you can do with a laser, including double-sided printing. It comes with a duplexer that needs to be installed in the back, and this allows paper to be sucked back into the machine and reversed so that the other side can be printed.
It worked like a charm during our tests. We didn't experience paper jams on any of our documents. Our 47-page test document took a total time of 6min 36sec to emerge in its entirety (just over 7 pages per minute), and this included a first-page-out time of 2min 10sec, with a spool time of 1min 52sec.
Even though it's not a photo printer, the photo output of the printer should be more than acceptable, unless you're a photographer going for professional-level prints, or if you're after a photo printer in general. For the rest of us, its output quality will be fine to print full-page glossy photos for personal use, or as part of business presentations.
A full-page, A4 glossy print can be done in 1min 15sec. Note, though, that for best results you will have to use HP paper that can properly absorb the printer's ink. We used leftover Epson-branded glossy paper and the ink was easily scratched off this paper with our fingernails, or inadvertently when we stacked the prints.
At the top of the unit you get an automatic document feeder (ADF), which will come in handy if you want to scan multipage documents in one hit, and the flatbed can be used to scan one-off pages, photographs, and magazine or book covers. The scanner lid's hinges don't elevate, which makes it hard to scan pages within thick books and magazines.
Of course, you can use the scanning hardware to copy documents directly, too, and this can be invoked from the machine's touchscreen menu interface. It's a touchscreen that can be tilted upwards so that you can see it better while standing above it, but there is plenty of resistance to the screen's hinge. It almost feels as though there is a motor that should be driving it.
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It's as clean a printer interface as we've seen. The large items on the screen are simple to tap, and responsive in their execution. You can easily change functions and do things such as scan from the printer to a USB stick or to a computer that's on your network, or print photos (but not documents) from a USB stick. Entering text for passwords is easy, too, and you can get a glance at settings and even print them out if you wish (such as the eprint settings that can associate your printer with your Google Cloud Print account, for example).
The cartridges for the Officejet Pro 8620 are HP's 950 or 950XL black cartridge, and HP's 951 or 951XL cyan, megenta, and yellow cartridges. At the time of writing, a pack with XL versions of these inks cost $164 and came bundled with 20 sheets of photo paper. The black XL has a stated yield of 2300 pages, while the colour XL cartridges have a 1500-page yield.
These yields are lower than what you'd get from a laser such as the HP LaserJet Pro M277dw, but they still provide a reasonable running cost. Based on individual pricing for each cartridge ($63 for the black and $47 for each colour), a conservative cost per page figure for this printer is 2.7 cents for black prints, and 12 cents for colour prints.
It will depend on how complex your documents are and if you ever print photographs, but in general, this is a cost effective printer for daily operations, especially when you consider that its electricity demand is also lower than a laser. It will chew a maximum of 35W during a print job, whereas a laser like the M277dw can be upwards of 700W in spurts. In sleep mode with Wi-Fi on and the screen off, it consumes 3W, and this goes up to 7W when the screen comes on.
If your business is small and you only need a relatively easy machine for volume of up to 1500 sheets per month, then it's well worth considering the Officejet 8620 over a laser printer. It's running costs are low, it's simple to install, it printed reliably during our tests, and duplexing and an ADF are part of the standard kit.
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