HP made a big song and dance about the low running costs of its Officejet Pro 8500, which we looked at recently. However, it also carried a fairly hefty £299 price tag. The new Officejet 6500 is similar to the 8500, including laser-beating running costs, but has the added bonus of being nearly £200 cheaper.
Quick-access scan and copy buttons, along with those to print direct from a memory card, are found on the left of the control panel, while fax buttons sit on the right. In the middle is a small LCD screen alongside the menu navigation buttons. Memory card slots are located at the bottom left of the printer and will accept SD, MMC and MemoryStick cards, but not Compact Flash.
Connectivity is offered in the form of USB or Ethernet. If you want wireless, you’ll need to opt for the CB057A version of this printer, which costs £130 and has the added bonus of a fully automatic duplex unit for double-sided printing. The CB815A model, which we’re reviewing here, only has a manual duplex feature, i.e. you have to do the page turning yourself.
HP quotes speeds of 32ppm (pages per minute) for mono and 31ppm for colour. As always, you need to take these figures with a fistful of salt. In our tests, using a reasonably text-heavy page, it managed only 6ppm at the default settings, which is a fair bit slower than most lasers. Dropping down to draft mode increased the printer’s speed to 18ppm, but quality takes a noticeable hit.
Photo quality is perfectly good enough for the occasional glossy print, but closer inspection reveals a lack of fine detail, and colours don’t look as vivid as on some of the consumer-focused printers we’ve reviewed.
On the plus side, it’s relatively quick at spitting out photos, with our best quality A4 test arriving in just over two and a half minutes. When printing this photo, however, the Officejet 6500 managed to grab two sheets of paper instead of just one; thankfully this problem only occurred once during testing.
The scanner unit has an optical resolution of 2,400dpi and is able to output images in a variety of formats. When functioning as a standalone copier, it’s able to duplicate an A4 document in just 18 seconds, albeit at the lowest quality setting. And thanks to the ADF (automatic document feeder), it’s possible to copy up to 35 sheets at a time.
With four separate ink cartridges (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) you only need to replace those inks that have run out. The standard black ink cartridge has a 420-page capacity and will set you back £14, which means mono prints cost 3.3p per page. Better value can be had by opting for the high-yield black cartridge. This costs £21, but lasts far longer at 1,200 pages and reduces the mono print costs to just 1.9p.
The three colour cartridges cost £11 each and house enough ink to last 700 pages. There’s no high-yield option for these colour inks, so colour prints (assuming equal use of all four cartridges) work out at 8.1p each, or 6.7p if you use the high-yield black cartridge.
These costs are considerably higher than the more expensive Officejet Pro 8500 offers (1.3p mono and 4.9p colour), but still well below that of most laser printers.
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