Laser printers dominate in enterprise office environments, mostly due to their low cost per page, flexibility and network manageability. But in most large offices you’ll still find plenty of inkjets tucked away, used for tasks such as photo printing that even the best lasers just cannot cope with. With the Officejet Pro 8000 Enterprise, HP hopes that the inkjet can finally become a legitimate choice for corporate networks.
A familiar face
Externally, the OfficeJet Pro 8000 Enterprise is almost identical to the standard Pro 8000 model, but with a couple of differences. The Enterprise model replaces the status lights with a 2-line, 2.5in wide LCD panel. In normal use this shows how much ink is left in the four colour ink cartridges. Next to it are four menu navigation buttons in a layout almost identical to HP’s LaserJet models. The menu tree will also be very familiar to LaserJet users.
The included automatic duplexer unit slots into the back, and a 250-page combined paper tray and output tray sticks out of the front. A second 250-sheet tray can be bought for £22 plus VAT. For a product with a 15,000 page monthly duty cycle, the output tray feels a bit flimsy, and doesn’t positively clip into place over the paper tray, so it’s very easy to dislodge. The printer can be connected direct via USB instead of Ethernet if required.
Up and running
Getting the printer working was very easy, with the four cartridges installing via a flap at the front, and two print heads (costing £47 inc. VAT each) added under the top cover. The cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges supplied are introductory’ versions, although the page yield of these is not stated. Replacements – good for a claimed 1,400 pages – cost £18 inc. VAT each, and black cartridges are available in either standard (1,000 pages) or XL (2,200 pages) sizes for £20 and £26 inc. VAT respectively, giving a maximum total replacement cost of £80 excluding the print heads, which are supposed to last the lifetime of the printer.
HP spins all the usual marketing spiel about running costs, but it’s very clear that ink prices for the OfficeJet Pro 8000 Enterprise are very attractive compared to the cost of similar-yielding supplies for a sub-£200 laser. For example, via HP’s store a set of toners for a colour Laserjet Pro CP1525n costs £263 inc. VAT (with similar page yields of 1,300 pages for each colour toner and 2,000 for black).
Energy costs are another plus for inkjets, as they don’t have the large power needs of lasers – during printing, the OfficeJet Pro 8000 draws just 18.2W compared to the Laserjet CP1525n’s 295W.
Hurry up and wait
Running costs mean little without print performance, and in this respect the Officejet Pro 8000 Enterprise wasn’t very exciting. It has a 600x600dpi maximum resolution, perfectly adequate but much less than its consumer sibling, and HP claims 15ppm black draft printing versus the consumer version’s 35ppm.
In practise, we achieved just 8.7ppm in draft mode using our ASCII text test document, and at the default Normal’ setting, this dropped to 1.4ppm. Our Word test document returned 5ppm (draft) and 1.36ppm (normal), and the colour A4 test photo came out at exactly 1 page a minute in normal mode, speeding up to 4.2ppm in draft. The time to first page was just under 18 seconds. Print head cleaning cycles kick in every now and again, which make you wait an extra couple of minutes between jobs.
These results may be perfectly good for a home user, but for workgroup use you should think carefully about the mix of your proposed print workload before taking the plunge. Print quality, however, was excellent whatever mode was used, with great colour fidelity and crisp black text.
So what about the enterprise-specific features? As well as the PCL 6/5 and PostScript support, you can use HP’s Universal Print Driver with this printer, obviating the need for a separate driver. It also integrates seamlessly with all HP’s enterprise-level print management tools, such as Web Jetadmin, as well as E-Print Enterprise products for mobile printing. HP also has free standalone tools for pre-configuring and deploying drivers.
The printer has a built-in web server for browser access (HTTP or HTTPS) to settings and status pages. One nifty feature is the ability to lock the optional second tray, for example to prevent users accessing special papers and printing off their holiday snaps. It also has a configurable firewall for extra security, and you can easily set up email alerts for consumables and paper handling problems.
Contact: 0845 270 4000
- Enterprise-level manageability; cheap consumables.
- Slow print speeds.
The inkjet printer is well on its way to earning its corporate credentials courtesy of the Officejet Pro 8000 Enterprise. It's highly manageable and has all the quality you'd expect from a modern inkjet, yet has very attractive running costs compared to a similarly-priced laser printer. Its performance disappoints, however - and it's definitely no match for a workhorse laser printer in a busy workgroup.