HP Officejet Pro 8600 e-All-in-One

One step down in HP’s line from the Editor’s Choice HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus e-All-in-One ($299.99 direct, 4.5 stars), the HP Officejet Pro 8600 e-All-in-One ($199.99 direct) leaves out a few luxury features, like a legal-size flatbed. However, it also costs only two thirds as much. That potentially makes it a better choice if you don’t need the extras. The one catch is that it’s not simply the same printer with fewer features. It’s also a tad slower and prints slightly better quality text, but slightly lower quality graphics.

Like the 8600 Plus, the 8600 is aimed primarily at micro or small offices or at home offices with relatively heavy-duty print needs. It’s not surprising, then, that it offers all the same basics. It prints, scans, and faxes; works as a standalone copier and fax machine; and it lets you scan to or print from a memory card or USB memory key. It will let you connect by Ethernet, WiFi, or USB, use Apple AirPrint to print over WiFi, and use HP’s ePrint to print though cloud. With ePrint, the printer gets its own email address, so you can print a document by sending it as an attachment to an email message.

One other feature the two printers share is a touch screen interface. However, the screen on the 8600 is smaller, at only 2.65 inches. As with the 8600 Plus, you can use it with HP’s Web Apps, including  Biztree Forms App and Financial Times News App (Free, 3 stars) that I’ve reviewed. However the smaller size of the screen makes both the apps and the printer’s own menu system a little more cumbersome to use.

One feature missing from the 8600 that’s in the 8600 Plus is direct email sending. The 8600 will let you scan and email, but only by way of an email client on a computer.

Paper Handling and Size

Paper handling in the 8600 is excellent for the price and suitable for most micro offices, with a built-in print duplexer for printing on both sides of a page and a 250-sheet tray. For offices that need more, you can add a second tray ($79.99 direct) to boost the capacity to 500 sheets. As with the 8600 Plus, the 8600 includes an automatic document feeder (ADF), with a 35-page capacity in this case, to complement the flatbed for scanning. One of the luxury features it leaves out, however, is duplexing for the ADF, so there’s no easy way to scan originals printed on both sides of the page.

As with the 8600 Plus, the 8600 is big and hefty for an inkjet MFP, at 11.8 by 19.4 by 18.9 inches, so you might want it near your desk rather than on it. Assuming you have room for it, though, setup is absolutely standard.

Speed and Output Quality
The 8600 is a tad slower than the 8600 Plus, but it’s no less impressive given the lower price. On our business applications suite (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing), I clocked it at 5.7 effective pages per minute (ppm), making it nearly tied with the 8600 Plus at 5.9 ppm.

HP Officejet Pro 8600 e-All-in-One

In reviewing the 8600 Plus, I noted that any  number of lasers cost more yet are slower than it;  that statement applies even more to the less expensive 8600. The Editors’ Choice Dell 1355cnw Multifunction Color Printer ($419.99 direct, 4 stars), for example, managed only 4.5 ppm. Note too that the 8600 also did well on photo speed, averaging 54 seconds for a 4 by 6.

The printer’s output quality, unfortunately, is a mixed bag. Text is above par for an inkjet, graphic output is below par, and photos barely qualify as being up to par. Text is easily good enough for most business needs. Also very much worth mention is that it’s water resistant, at least on ColorLok paper. In my tests, it smudged only a little when I rubbed it with a wet tissue.

Graphics quality is good enough for any internal business use. However most of the graphics in our testing showed obvious banding in the default mode. I’d hesitate to hand the output to an important client or customer who I was trying to impress with a sense of my professionalism.

Photos were also easily good enough for almost any business need, but photos on photo paper were at the low end of what you might expect from drugstore prints. The biggest problem I saw was with shadow detail (details in dark areas), which didn’t show very well.

Other issues  

One last strong point that the 8600 shares with the 8600 Plus is a low claimed running cost, at 1.6 cents per black and white page and 7.2 cents per color page. That’s cheaper than the 2.8 cents for black and white and 8.2 cents for color that Kodak claims as a key selling point for its MFPs. Print enough pages, and the running cost can make the 8600 cheaper to own over its lifetime than a less expensive, far less capable MFP with a higher cost per page.

Unfortunately, I also saw one moderately serious issue with the 8600, and I saw it with two different printers. Fresh out of the box, both printers had clogged nozzles that needed extensive cleaning before they would print at their best quality. The problem was so bad with the first printer I tested that even after running all three levels of the printer’s cleaning routine four times, I couldn’t get rid of it, although it improved with each cleaning. With the second printer, I had to run all three levels twice, after which the problem disappeared.

The fact that the problem showed up on two different printers means you can’t dismiss it as a fluke. But it also suggests that it might be an easily fixed issue on HP’s production line, with some particles getting into the ink system and clogging the nozzles. HP says it’s investigating the issue, and, if it can replicate the problem, will do what’s necessary to fix it.

In any case, although the clogged nozzle issue takes a little of the shine off the printer, the HP Officejet Pro 8600 e-All-in-One’s balance of speed, output quality, paper handling, MFP features, low running cost, and price would have made it a shoo-in as an Editors’ Choice otherwise. Hopefully, HP will fix the problem, so it will no longer be an issue. In the meantime, if you don’t mind dealing with the possibility of clogged nozzles in a new printer, and are willing to take the time to clean them, you’ll still wind up with a printer that’s well worth getting.

More Multi-function Printer Reviews:
•   HP LaserJet Pro M1217nfw MFP
•   Epson Artisan 730
•   HP Officejet Pro 8600 e-All-in-One
•   Samsung SCX-4729FD
•   Canon Color imageClass MF8380Cdw
•  more


53 thoughts on “HP Officejet Pro 8600 e-All-in-One

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