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After an office move-around I was unable to re-connect to the scanner part of the multi-function printer-scanner-copier that my colleague and I had previously shared, although I could still print to it. Our IT department were unable to fix it (although they spent many hours on it) and sent me over a separate scanner. Sadly the scanner they sent me was less than adequate for my needs at the office - the colour representation was poor and it wouldn't let me save some images as jpegs. I work in a design office, so we scan and print lots of colour images, so this is an important factor. Two months after the move-around, and I am still borrowing my colleague's PC every time I wanted to scan, so we gave in and decided to order a multi-function printer for me ourselves. Browsing Amazon we found a good selection and I decided on the HP Officejet 6500 as it was on a half price offer whilst seeming to offer everything that I needed. Our other one was also HP so we were reasonably confident that we would get a good colour representation, plus it has coped well with a heavy workload over the last few years.
The printer arrived when Amazon said it would and I set it up. The box did not include a USB cable to directly connect the printer; I assume they expect most people to connect via wi-fi or a network. We don't have wi-fi in the office, and there was not a spare network socket in my corner of the room. I 'borrowed' the USB cable from the useless scanner and connected it into the back of my PC with that. Other than that the whole procedure was really straightforward, the supplied discs installed promptly and without problem on my elderly steam-powered office PC and in no time at all I was ready to go. The multi-function printer also includes a fax, but I have no use for this function so cannot comment.
Looks wise it is quite substantial with a control panel on the front with lots of buttons. Most of these refer to the fax machine however. The scanner/copy bed is at the top, under a lid. There is a bulky black part on the left of this which you feed your fax pages through, or can use to copy. The section under this is the place you lift up to replace the inks and this is easy and intuitive to do. The pictorial instructions that come with the printer aren't really necessary - anyone who has ever changed an ink cartridge before will cope with this one. Underneath here is the place that your printed document or photocopy will appear on - there is a black plastic slide out piece with a tab to catch it so your documents don't fly out across the desk or floor. At first I thought this a bit insubstantial, but suspect it is more robust as it looks as my man-handling of it hasn't damaged it so far, although I have accidentally pulled it off a few times. It was easy to re-attach. Below is the paper tray for your A4 paper - you can just lift up the black plastic catching tray and shove it in, it is quite large (apparently holding 250 sheets which I can well believe) so you don't have to keep re-filling it very often.
The printer uses HP 920 ink and comes with one black, one cyan, one magenta and one yellow ink, which they called 'introductory'. The black is half-sized and it lasted me about a week or approx 200 pages. I now order the XL inks. After two weeks the introductory cyan one ran out, closely followed by the magenta. Three weeks in and yellow was on its last legs. I assume that the colours that came with it are also not full-sized. Changing Inks is straightforward although packaging is wasteful: first you rip open the cardboard box, and then you take off the plastic shrink wrap before snapping off a large orange plastic tab. Then you can insert said ink into the machine - which is straight forward. It is the first part that seems wasteful and a bit of a faff to me, and the orange plastic tab could be difficult for people with limited dexterity or strength in their hands.
XL Inks from our regular stationery supplier cost us £7.50 each with a discount, but they are available on Amazon from various sources with free shipping for around the £7 mark. It is worth noting that when the indicators came up to say I was out of black ink, I managed approx another 30-40 pages before I replaced it, and similarly with the colours. It probably could have gone on longer if you were only printing unfussy text documents or spreadsheets.
The blurb claims "Print speeds of up to 32ppm (black, draft mode)". I have no real use to print off masses of text documents so cannot confirm this, but certainly simple Word documents and even fairly busy Excel documents whizz off at an impressive speed on my default 'General Everyday printing' mode. One program we use at work is Canvas, an illustration programme, which we use for our design documents. These can have quite large file sizes - sometimes up to 2MB - with sketches, coloured pictures and whatnot. A two page Canvas file can be quite slow to print on this printer. I have noticed that if I send a Canvas doc to print and leave the PC it is quicker than if I continue to work on it, opening another large document. On a couple of occasions it has timed out and cancelled the print after one page which is frustrating. I suspect the problem is down to a combination of my old office PC being slow and the large file size, but if you are using a printer at home or unlikely to print massive files then I don't think you will have a problem, as it has only been on larger documents. I was also impressed with the colour representation, which was satisfactory, with all my pages looking clear and bright. Web pages are slower to print than my own text or spreadsheet documents, but still not excruciatingly so, but this depends on any images/colours and how 'busy' the page is obviously. I sometimes have a problem printing PDF documents - I tend to have to go into properties and check the orientation otherwise the print just doesn't happen and I have no idea why. Fortunately that is not something I print very often. Printing labels is also quick, I just insert the label sheet face down in the paper tray and print as normal, occasionally I get a mis-feed but this usually only happens after I have printed all the labels from the top row of the sheet already. Now, if I just want to print a one-off label and have a blank sheet of 24 stickers, I start in the middle.
I have only had a few instances when I needed to print photos - they can be printed directly from the SD card (slots supporting MS-Duo and XD-SD-MMC are next to the paper feed tray). You need to remove the A4 paper and replace with the necessary sized photo paper. I felt the results were of a good standard.
This is a complete doddle. Put your A4 or smaller document or image on the flat scanner screen. Close the lid and press 'Start Copy - Black' or 'Start Copy - Color' (American spelling I'm afraid) if you just want one straight forward copy. It prints it straight away (unless you are already printing, in which case you have to wait until it has finished) and I have always found it a good representation of the original document page, and colours generally consistent (although some blues tend to look a bit green). Colour pages are slightly slower than plain black ones though, but I would expect that. Alternatively you can place the image face up on the top of the lid, (where you would feed a fax, if you used that function) and press copy as above and it works as well, though it seems to copy slightly wonky sometimes. This latter method would be better if you were copying a document of several pages and wanted to do them together, but this is something I rarely do. If you want more than one copy that can be adjusted at the touch of the button and you can also adjust the quality. Pressing the Copy button several times will give you a number of copy options such as increasing the number of copies (using an arrow button on the front of the machine), reducing or enlarging an image, adjusting light/dark shades and paper type. I rarely have cause to fiddle with these options but they are useful to add. If I needed lots of copies of a black and white document then I would still use the large office copier situated elsewhere in my building, but for day to day and colour copies, this meets my needs.
There are two way of scanning - the simplest is to place the image or document on the glass and press 'Start Scan', scroll through the arrows to select your format - jpeg, PDF etc and away it goes, placing the image in a Scans folder in your My Pictures folder, where I then rotate and adjust where necessary on a different programme that I used already. You can also put multi page documents through the feeder at the top. Alternatively, when you install the discs at the beginning, a program appears on your PC - HP Photosmart Premier - and you can scan using that programme. There doesn't seem to be much in it, other than personal preference how you want to work. It is quite a useful little program for some tasks, but I don't have any real need for it, although I think it would be good for basic photo editing (as there is red-eye and crop options), if you don't have any other programs.
Overall I have been using this printer for ten months with very little problems. It rarely jams and printing is generally consistent. I did have a problem a few months ago where the magenta ink wasn't printing well, but it seemed to correct itself - possibly a dud batch of ink. Certainly for home use I think this is a good buy, and also for individual use in the office. Mine gets a lot of use at certain times of the year as a printer and apart from the above comments on large file sizes, it copes very well and is reliable,
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