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Review: To The Cloud And iPhone With The HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus

HP's OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus is a home run, with stellar new features and real value for small businesses and work groups.

HP OfficeJet Pro 8600

With its launch of the HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus, a color multifunction device, the company has extended a number of features that support printing from and scanning to the cloud, as well as printing from iPads, iPhones and iPod touch devices.

There was almost nothing to dislike in this multifunction device. Here’s what we did like a lot:

• Network integration is about as simple as it gets. Just take it out of the box, plug it in and follow the on board, touch-screen wizard. After a four-minute process, the OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus was connected to the CRN Test Center Lab’s wireless network, and supported Windows 7, Mac OS X and Linux-based PCs;

• Cloud-based printing is supported right out of the box. Both with HP’s ePrint Center (it’s branded Web portal) and built-in integration with and Google Docs, among others, we were able to both print from and scan to our Web-based accounts. This was done from the 4.3-inch color touch-screen;

• The OffieJet Pro 8600 Plus supports Apple’s Air Print for its iOS devices -- and immediately we were able to print from an iPhone 4 and an iPad once on the network. This is a huge advancement for HP over previous OfficeJet products;

• Using HP’s ink, color and black-and-white prints just didn’t smear out of the printer;

• The device’s duplex function is snappy, was a breeze to set up and worked perfectly -- printing on both sides of paper;

• Scanning over the network to a Windows 7 PC worked like a charm after installing the drivers onto the desktop we used. Once the device scanned the document, the file folder -- with the PDF in it -- immediately appeared on the PC’s display.

The browser-based management console is fairly straightforward, with routine administrator-based functionality. And on the OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus itself, are slots for SD cards and a USB device. Copying is easy and sharp. It provides fax support as well.

HP states that the OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus prints at “laser-comparable speeds” of up to 20 pages per minute in black and white and 16 pages per minute in color. Our testing verified that accuracy.

The list price for the OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus stands at $299 -- making it cheaper than a higher-end iPhone.

But the area where HP has made an effort to bring down cost of ownership is with its ink. Starting with how HP engineered the device itself -- to support four cartridges for black, cyan, magenta and yellow -- means that each color can be replaced individually and only when necessary. (Installing the cartridges was very simple, as well.) Street pricing on those cartridges can run about $20 or slightly more.

The bottom line with the OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus is that it’s one of the better, more powerful (from a functionality standpoint) multifunction devices we’ve seen in quite some time, and it could be a major boost to productivity for a small business or a work group given its support of mobile and cloud printing. With both its cost of acquisition and cost of operation well within reason, and competitiveness for small businesses or work groups, it simply must be at or near the top of the list for consideration in those scenarios.

With the OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus, HP has hit it out of the park.

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