Aimed primarily at micro offices, the HP Officejet Pro 8610 e-All-in-One ($199.99) offers a full set of basic multifunction printer (MFP) features, plus a few extras, including mobile printing. It also delivers fast speed and a low running cost along with a level of output quality and paper handling that makes it a strong choice for light- to moderate-duty printing in a micro office or moderate- to heavy-duty printing in a home office.
The 8610 earns a little lower score for text and photo quality than the HP Officejet Pro 8610, our Editors’ Choice heavy-duty micro-office color MFP, and it comes in nowhere near the Epson printer for paper handling. However, it delivers faster speed and a significantly lower claimed cost per page, which is enough to keep it in the running for most offices.
Basics The 8610’s basic MFP features include printing, scanning, and faxing, including over a network. It can also work as a standalone copier and fax machine, and can both scan to and print from a USB memory key.
The printer also offers mobile printing, with the ability to print from iOS, Android, and Blackberry phones and tablets. Connect it to your network by Ethernet or Wi-Fi, and you can print to it though a Wi-Fi access point. Set it up as a personal printer with a USB cable instead, and you can print by connecting directly from a mobile device using Wireless Direct—HP’s equivalent to Wi-Fi Direct. Note that connecting the printer to a network that’s connected to the Internet also lets you print though the cloud and take advantage of HP’s print apps.
The 8610’s paper handling for printing is a little limited, with a 250-sheet paper tray and a duplexer (for two-sided printing). In comparison, the HP Officejet Pro 8610 boasts a second 250-sheet drawer and a manual feed.
For scanning, the 8610 supplements its letter-size flatbed with a 35-page automatic document feeder (ADF) that can scan at up to legal size. Here again, that should be enough for most micro offices, but it’s not a match for the HP Officejet Pro 8610 duplexing ADF, which can turn the page over to scan the second side.
Setup, Speed, and Output Quality For my tests, I connected the 8610using its Ethernet port and installed the drivers on a Windows Vista system. I clocked the printer on our business applications suite (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing) at 5.9 pages per minute (ppm), making it a bit faster than the HP Officejet Pro 8610, at 5.4ppm. It also tied the much more expensive HP Officejet Pro 276dw MFP.
The Output quality is a little uneven, but it hits the most important notes for a business-oriented printer. Text and graphics quality are each at the high end of the range that includes the vast majority of inkjet MFPs. That makes the text suitable for almost any business use, although not quite good enough for documents, like a resume, that need to look fully professional.
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The Graphics output is more than good enough for PowerPoint handouts and the like. With the right paper, most people would even consider it suitable for marketing materials. Photos are a step below par for an inkjet MFP, but that’s not a serious issue for most office use.
One other important plus for the printer is its low running cost, at a claimed 1.6 cents for a monochrome page and 7.2 cents for a color page. The HP Officejet Pro 8610 cost per page is significantly higher, at 3.2 cents for monochrome and 11.4 cents for color. Depending on how much you print, this can easily add up to a significant difference in running cost over the lifetime of the printer.
The HP Officejet Pro 8610 excellent paper handling for both printing and scanning, plus better output quality for text and photos, keep it firmly in place as Editors’ Choice. If you need the better text or photo quality or the better paper handling— particularly for scanning and copying duplex originals— it’s the obvious pick. But if the HP Officejet Pro 8610 e-All-in-One paper handling, text quality, and photo quality are good enough for your needs, its combination of fast speed and low running cost, along with its long list of MFP features, make it a potentially attractive alternative.