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back to article HP OfficeJet Pro 8500 Wireless

HP has a difficult game to play. It wants to increase usage of its inkjet printers and all-in-ones by selling them small business, but in doing so it risks hitting the colour laser printer market, in which it’s the major player. The OfficeJet Pro 8500 Wireless is a case in point. It's a fast, high-capacity inkjet all-in-one …

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Anonymous Coward

Lafite isn't Champagne

Although either taste better than inkjet inks.

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Wireless scanning

I don't mind the HP wireless AIOs. On my C4380 (A$45AUD) I can scan from multiple machines, something usually reserved for a much higher priced "network scanner"

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No Sale

"There are drivers for versions of Windows from 2000 on and for Mac OS X 4.11 and above. There are no HP Linux or Unix drivers."

No sale then...

Small businesses can run Linux too.

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Duplexor afterthought?

I'm a great fan of HP Officejets for low-cost colour.

The duplexor is usually an option, i.e. there may be a cheaper model that is the same but without duplexor (which one could then decide to buy separately at a later date). In any case, having it removable makes clearing the rare paper jam from inside the duplexor very easy.

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LInux Drivers?

It DOES have linux "drivers". In fact, better than that. It's open-source supported by hplip. All but the very cheapest HP printers are, though sometimes not until a little while after the product launches.

For this one:

http://hplipopensource.com/hplip-web/models/officejet/officejet_pro_8500_a909a.html

You can also often get away with telling your system you have an earlier HP model that looks like the newer one. This can be an alternative to building the latest version of hplip on a distribution that isn't officially distributing it yet. Doesn't always work, a bit hit-or-miss, but takes little time to try.

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W

Other options?

Want:

-Photo printing

-Wireless

-Value

Don't want:

-Card readers/Pict bridge connections (I use a PC to edit and preview anything I print)

-Scanner (I have one in a drawer and don't want needless bulk & complication)

-Bells + Whistles

Basically, I'm fairly happy with my Epson R200. But I wish I could integrate it (or something like it) more easily into my home WLAN. Any suggestions?

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@ Other options?

"But I wish I could integrate it (or something like it) more easily into my home WLAN."

You're looking for a print server, they also exist in WiFi versions. It's a tiny box with a USB plug and a WiFi antenna (logically), and a driver on your PC will fool the Epson software into thinking it's a USB link it's talking to.

For this to work you need so-called bi-directional support, so make sure the print server you buy supports that.

I've been using this for years..

Good luck!

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Linux

Linux drivers?

I bought a Epson SX405 Ink printer and as I did not find a working driver for Linux I asked Epson for help.

The reply was that Epson does not support Linux at all.

Some digging and now it works alright.

I stopped using HP years ago as the ink business was too obvious.

I hope they are finally getting a bit smarter. All customers are not complete idiots.

I still doubt them (HP), however.

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Would be a killer

It it could do Postscript or PCL, have an actual fax-modem inside, and would do A3.

The point is, laser printers have now developed to a stage where they just work. You just install the driver for a HP LaserJet 4 on your computer and print to the printer. It'll simply work, a feature inkjet printers are struggling to provide.

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Linux

HP head-and-shoulders best for Linux

HP is by far the most LInux-friendly of Inkjet and MFC manufacturers. HPLIP is a fully open-source project, being run with HP's blessing and support. It supports most features of all but the really cheap "throw-away" HP printers. It's bundled with most distros (and the source code is pretty easy to build as well).

Note that because HPLIP is open-source, you *can* trust that you won't be prevented from upgrading your OS for lack of a (closed source, binary) printer driver. Even if HP was acquired by Microsoft tomorrow, all the know-how to make Linux play with an HP 8500 and all the other current HPLIP-supported models is already out there and GPLed, so someone could and would pick up the reins should HP drop them.

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Happy

Linux, duplexers and all that

In our office, we have an HP OfficeJet Pro L7780. This is functionally very similar to the 8500 model (although it has the optional hi-capacity extra tray too). I liked it so much I got a L7680 for home, too.

To answer the comments about Linux: HP may not provide Linux drivers, but Linux provides OfficeJet drivers. The OfficeJet Pro L7780 and L7680 work very well indeed under Ubuntu. In fact, the latest Ubuntu (9.04) automatically detects the printer, works out how to connect to it and installs the necessary drivers using UK defaults (for us in the UK, anyway). I imagine that the experience for the 8500 will be similar, although you might need to persuade it the printer's an L7680 if it hasn't heard of the 8500 yet. Doubtless the proper printer description files will be along very shortly if that's the case.

I agree about the duplexer. It does look an afterthought, yet the duplexer unit has been a standard fit on most OJPro printers since forever. However, the simple removal (press in a button at either side) makes for a very easy fix on the rare occasions the duplexer gets a paper jam. It does increase the printer's footprint, though, adding 6cm to the depth at minimum, or 14cm if you want to open the back flap for maintenance. These aren't printers you can put on a shallow printer trolley!

It sounds overall like the 8500 is a small step-change onwards from the excellent L7680/L7780 units. If that's so, I can heartily recommend them. Do keep a spare set of ink tanks somewhere. You have to change them so rarely that it's easy to forget to keep stock!

(Declaration of interests: none, just a very happy customer.)

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Boffin

@Christian Berger, and some tips

My experience of other OJ Pros in the series is that they, also, just work. And keep working, too, through boxes and boxes of paper.

A word to the wise, by the way. HP offers two installation options for its suite of printer drivers and related gubbins. You can do a full installation, or the basic installation (what they describe as drivers only). I have found the full installation to be a royal pain, and often highly incompatible with laptops that are being taken in and out of sleep mode often. Just use the basic install, and forget the extra cruft! You won't regret it, or miss the extra rubbish.

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