Ignore the word “office” in the name for a second. Yes, HP’s Officejet Pro 8620 e-All-in-One ($300 MSRP, but we’ve seen street prices as low as $200) is meant to be a capable four-function (print, copy, scan, fax) multifunction inkjet for small offices, but it’s also a perfect choice for a family that goes through a lot of paper every month. And a duty cycle of up to 30,000 pages means the chance of wearing it out is slim; if you print more than 1,500 pages a month, reexamine your printing habits or invest in a workhorse laser printer.
Features and design
The Officejet Pro 8620 is a black boxy unit that’s rather sleek-looking for an office-centric product. It has clean lines and curvy corners that make it sexy. The automatic document feeder (ADF) has a large 50-sheet capacity, with duplex (two-sided) scanning. Unlike some newer MFPs we’ve tested, the ADF’s duplexing requires two passes, which takes a little longer than single-pass scans. Still, it’s a nice feature to have.
The front-panel has a 4.3-inch color touchscreen that has a smartphone-like user experience. Besides basic functions like scan, copy, and fax, there are apps you can download that let you access Web-based features without a computer, such as printing calendars and puzzles. Next to the display is the NFC tag for one-touch wireless printing from select smartphones and tablets. Besides Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct, the 8620 supports Ethernet and USB. A front USB port is for accessing documents off a flash drive, but there are no memory card slots.
The 8620 supports AirPrint, Google Print, and most other wireless print technologies. If it’s connected to the Internet, you can also access cloud-stored docoments via the likes of Dropbox.
Despite the “office” name, HP’s Officejet Pro 8620 can serve a subset of home users who print a lot.
In the base is a 250-sheet paper tray (letter and legal) and an output tray that supports a very-decent capacity of 150 pages. The printer also has duplexing capability, but it requires a duplex unit that you attach to the rear. A step-up model, the Officejet Pro 8630e, offers two paper trays.
Standard and high-yield ink cartridges are available. The standard HP 950 (black, $27) and 951 (color, $16 each) cartridges provide excellent yields — an estimated 1,000 pages for black and 750 pages for color. Higher yield XL cartridges (black, $40; color, $32 each) are rated at 2,300 pages in black and 1,500 in color. If you print a lot, the high-yield cartridges may save you money in the long run. Like most Web-connected HP printers, you can sign up for HP’s Instant Ink program; the printer automatically sends a message to HP to send new cartridges (for a fee, or course) when supplies are low.
What’s in the box
Because it’s a big printer, the 8620 comes in a large box, obviously. It comes with its duplexer detached (it simply plugs into the rear of the MFP). Also included are starter ink cartridges, power cord, telephone cord for the fax, and some startup documentation. A CD includes drivers for Windows and Mac OS X. Because it’s a business-oriented printer, there isn’t any creative software included, but you can easily download those apps from HP’s website.
HP provides a one-year limited hardware warranty that includes phone support during business hours. If you are a heavy user, consider buying HP’s Care Packs at the time of purchase, which extends the protection by two or three years.
Setup and performance
Setting up the 8620 is a breeze. Install the starter ink tanks, run the installation routine from the included CD, and you’re done. Connect a USB cable to a computer, or share it on a wired or wireless network. Most home users will most likely use Wi-Fi, and instructions on the LCD panel will guide you through the process of connecting the printer to a Wi-Fi network
The 8620 is quite speedy for an MFP in this price range.
As for performance, HP rates the printer at 21 pages-per-minute (ppm) in black and 16.5 ppm in color. We use the Microsoft Word portion of the ISO test protocol for our speed testing, which involves printing a four-page mostly monochrome document with a small color logo on each page. In our testing, the 8620 churned out almost exactly 22 ppm, which is very speedy for a printer or MFP in this price range.
Copying is considerably slower, especially two-sided copying, but the upside is that it is still faster than many MFPs we’ve tested recently. The 8620 is supplied with a TWAIN driver, and we tested it using the import function in Picasa 3.0. Single-pass scanning is rapid, especially when using the ADF, and scan quality is very good with accurate colors and good detail.
For our image quality tests, we printed on HP Premium Presentation Paper, HP Premium Plus Photo Paper, and Hammermill Premium Inkjet & Laser Paper. On the two HP papers, output quality was excellent, lacking just a small amount of contrast in shaded areas. With the Hammermill paper — a business paper that sells for about $12 a ream — output quality was also very good, with accurate colors and just a small amount of undersaturation (lightness) in some colors. HP doesn’t claim photo quality for the 8620 because it isn’t marketed as a photo printer, but using it to print reports or flyers with color graphics won’t prove disappointing.
ConclusionFor the home that does a lot of printing, a consumer MFP is often not the best choice. While the Officejet Pro 8620 targets small business or home business users, the same features that make it attractive to those users — high-yield ink tanks, a large paper tray, fast printing, great image quality, and high duty cycle — also make it attractive to a home user who wants a workhorse MFP that will take the kind of abuse a large family with lots of printing can throw at it.
- Good-looking color prints
- Fast print and scan speeds
- Standard inks have good yields
- Copying speeds could be faster
- No “easy” software for consumers
- No memory card slots