HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus: final words
I've now had this printer for four weeks, and have been very happy with all it can do — and am still to use all of its functions to their full capability. As with most small businesses, you tend to use less gadgets just to get the job done, and that has been the same for me. Getting used to the gadgets and how to use them will just take time.
Having said that, I've taken to "faxing to email" and the ePrint facilities with great gusto, and the problems I experienced earlier seem to have dissolved (I've put it down to teething problems on my part). These two functions I am using more and more, and have now come to rely on them. Earlier, I mentioned that I couldn't see a viable use for either; boy, was I wrong.
All aspects of this printer are easy to set up and use, although I'm still coming to terms with the apps, some of which I find interesting, and others a non-entity, although my kids still find this an acceptable pastime.
Photo printing was great. Almost like the real thing. Increasing the dpi and printing on appropriate paper made them very acceptable and easily duplicatable if a number of copies were required. I don't know what the price per photo is, but at least you don't have to go to the shop and get them printed there. Whether or not they fade with time is yet to be determined, although you can then print another one too easily.
One of the differences between the 8500 and the 8600 is the position of the ink cartridges. In the 8500, you opened a dedicated door and changed the cartridges as needed (solid feel and little chance of breakage); in this printer, you open the main printer door and the cartridges are revealed within the body of the printer, much like the cheaper inkjets I've used in the past. It's a much flimsier operation, and something that could break if handled without due care, although I don't seem to be using as much ink as before, so maybe it's not a big deal.
The touchscreen is not as responsive as I would have thought, and it needs to be touched a number of times before the function you want registers. This I found to be a little irritating, until I got used to it and learned just where you need to place your finger in order for it to register. Sometimes a little more pressure applied helps, also. The information available on the touchscreen is wonderful in comparison to other printers I've used before. Eg, your ink levels inquiry is available as a general info screen or as an individual cartridge screen, which you can scroll through.
The scroll function is quite good, and the problems I had earlier trying to find stuff was a minor glitch, which, when you think about it, is only reasonable when playing with a new product. Most of the functions that you need are on the front screen(s) and those that need further research are usually in the first place you look behind those.
The booklet feature is fantastic. It's double sided and resizes to place four pages onto one A4 sheet, making it an A5 booklet. It collates correctly, so that the pages print, so that when you pick it up from the printer, you fold or cut it down the centre, throw a staple through it and voila: you have a book correctly paged. Because I tend to download a lot of paraphernalia as reference material for my clients' products, I found this an invaluable asset, and I believe I used a third less paper than normal just through this application alone. Three mouse clicks and it's done. A big thumbs up from me.
Overall, I've found this printer to meet all of my needs, and it exceeded my expectations on more than one occasion. This is the second HP printer I've used, both of which were excellent. The HP Ofiicejet Pro 8600 seems to use quite a bit less ink than previous versions, and the extra features on this printer have made it invaluable both personally and professionally.
If you're considering a new printer, you will be hard pressed to find a better one for the price.