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HP Officejet 6500A review

Kat Orphanides
28 Sep 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
99
inc VAT

Fast and cheap to run, but colour prints and high-resolution scans are flawed

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HP's Officejet 6500A is a fully-fledged business inkjet MFP, designed to provide a budget alternative to a compact laser printer. It has an integrated fax with a 35-page ADF, a 250-sheet paper tray, wired Ethernet connection and support for HP's ePrint technology. This allows you to send documents to it via Google Docs and mobile apps. It also has a maximum monthly duty cycle of 7,000 pages. All this for under £100 is remarkable.

HP Officejet 6500A

We were impressed by the Officejet's print quality and speed, particularly when it comes to document printing. Mono text is clear, and sharp enough to rival any laser printer. Standard quality text emerged at a quick 9.6ppm but draft is even faster at 16.7ppm. Draft mode is easily good enough for day-to-day use, with only the faintest hint of jaggedness on 12pt lettering.

Colour document prints aren't quite as impressive, with slight banding in areas of solid colour. However, colours were accurate and intense even in challenging areas of gradated shading, while lettering was sharp and easy to read. Our colour prints emerged at 3.8ppm, which again is unusually quick compared to most inkjets.

Print costs are excellent if you buy HP's high-yield 920XL cartridges, which hold enough ink for 1,200 black pages and 700 pages of each colour. A mono pages costs just 1.3p, a colour-and-black one costs 4.7p and a photo on HP's Advanced Glossy paper costs 15p. The only MFP we've seen that costs less to run is Epson's WorkForce Pro WP-4525 DWF, which is significantly more expensive, although it also does a lot more.

Although the 6500A is a business printer, it's pretty good at printing photos. You can even enable borderless printing in the advanced settings menu. Dark areas of photos tend to look washed out and greenish, although this improves somewhat as they dry. Colours are generally accurate, including pale tones, so the Officejet is perfectly good if you just want to print a couple of snaps.

HP Officejet 6500A screen

The scanner includes a 600dpi ADF and a flatbed which can scan at resolutions of up to 4,800dpi. The interface is better than previous versions but has just a handful of preset scan resolutions and basic brightness and contrast settings. We liked the ability to create multipage document scans and save scan profiles, though. Iris OCR software is supplied, so you can quickly and easily scan text documents into an editable and searchable form. Colour scans were surprisingly good, but we were disappointed to find that 1,200dpi scans were marred by blocky artefacts. It's best to stick to a maximum of 600dpi. Copy quality is also very good, particularly when it comes to colour; mono copies have slight banding due to the high speed of the print head.

Although the Officejet 6500A doesn't have an automatic duplexer, duplex scanning or Wi-Fi, it's a fast and capable MFP that covers the basics. If you want and MFP mainly for fast, cheap document printing, it's great, but the 6500A doesn't always produce the best scan or colour print quality. If you can afford it, the Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4535 DWF is a far more capable device, but this is still a great budget option.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
Maximum native print resolution4,800x1,200dpi
Max optical resolution4,800dpi
Output bit depth24-bit

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A410ppm
Quoted speed, colour A47ppm

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.05m 43s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.05m 55s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB, 10/100 Ethernet
Optional printer interfacesnone
Size258x476x409mm
Weight8.1kg
Noise (in normal use)49dB(A)
Duty cycle7,000 pages

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
Maximum paper weight280gsm
Standard paper inputs1
Standard paper input capacity250
Maximum paper inputs1
Maximum paper input capacity250
Duplex (code, cost if option)No

General

Printer technologythermal inkjet
Supported operating systemsWindows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.5 - 10.6, Linux
Other inkjet features6cm colour screen, automatic print head alignment
Other inkjet optionsnone

Buying Information

Price£99
Consumable parts and prices£8.20
Price per colour A4 page3.4p
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge420 pages (ISO/IEC 24711)
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)300 pages cyan, magenta, yellow (ISO/IEC 24711)
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s)N/A
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.johnlewis.com
Detailswww.hp.co.uk

Print Quality

Number of ink colours4
Number of ink cartridges4
Maximum number of ink colours4
Maximum number of cartridges4
Quoted photo durability65 years
Quoted photo durability sourceHP

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview6s
A4 document at 150dpiN/A
A4 document at 300dpi29s
6x4in photo at 600dpi36s
6x4in photo at 1200dpi2m 16s

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.020s
Time for single A4 colour copy 1.023s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.04m 35s

Photo Features

PictBridge supportNo
Borderless printingup to A4
Direct (PC-less) printingYes
Supported memory cardsSD, SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro Duo, xD
CD printingNo

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies100
Max mono copy resolution1,200dpi
Max colour copy resolution4,800x1,200dpi

Fax Features

Max mono fax resolution300x300dpi
Fax memory (maximum mono pages)100