HP Officejet 6500A Plus printer-scanner multifunction device

HP Officejet

‘Multifunction’ printer-scanners fall into two categories: models designed for photo enthusiasts and ones focussed on business features such as automatic document scanning and fax.

As the name suggests, HP’s Officejet 6500A Plus veers towards the latter, being designed for home-office users.

The big, glossy black device has a 35-sheet document feeder on top, so it can scan and copy multi-page documents, and its paper tray has a good capacity of 250 sheets.

It doesn’t have a separate photo paper tray, though – you’ll need to swap media in the main tray to print photos.

There are twin memory card slots, however, providing support for SD, Memory Stick and XD cards, but there’s no USB socket for direct printing from a memory key or camera.

The control panel is touch-sensitive, based on a 6cm screen and has single-function touch buttons, which include a number pad for fax dialling.

The four separate ink cartridges include a larger tank for black ink, as text prints are likely to be important to Officejet customers.

Connection can be made through USB to a single computer or to a wired or wireless network.

The latter was the most convenient, particularly if you want to use ePrint – this is technology exclusive to HP that allocates an email address to the printer so you can email documents (from a smartphone, say) to be printed.

HP claims speeds of 10 pages per minute (ppm) for black pages and 7ppm for colour, and under test we got 9ppm and 4ppm respectively. These are good speeds, particularly for a printer in this price bracket, as is the device’s ability to print double-sided.

Don’t get too excited, though, as double-sided printing was slow at 2.8 sides per minute. The printer also automatically reduced the size of double-sided pages, which was annoying.

The list price of £200 is high but it’s heavily discounted online – at the time of writing, John Lewis’s online store was selling it for £99.

Print quality was good, with dense, black text, good colour in plain paper graphics and above-average photos too. The ink tanks are reasonably priced, giving costs per page of 3.1p for black and 9.7p for colour.

While these aren’t the lowest costs we’ve seen, they’re pretty good for a device that can you can buy for under £100.