During the past few years, we’ve seen a surge of laser-busting, inkjet-based multifunction printers that can print, copy, scan, and fax. Many of them not only outperform their like-priced laser counterparts, they do so while maintaining a significantly lower per-page operational cost—in some cases, by more than half.
This wave only began to build, almost imperceptibly, a handful of years ago. One of the first of these high-volume, low-cost-per-page multifunction printers (MFPs) to catch our eye was the $299-MSRP HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus. We looked at that model back in early 2012, and it was the grandaddy of the subject of this review: HP’s Officejet Pro 8620 e-All-in-One Printer, which comes in at the same list price. (We’ve already seen this model, however, selling for $199.99 from a variety of major e-tailers.)
The Officejet Pro 8620 is the middle model in a trio of high-volume Officejet Pro 86xx-series multifunction printers (MFPs) that HP has released since the groundbreaking Officejet 8600 Plus. The others are the $199.99-MSRP Officejet Pro 8610 e-All-in-One Printer (reviewed, at the link, by our sister site PCMag.com), as well as a flagship model, the $399.99-MSRP (and Editors’ Choice recipient) Officejet Pro 8630 e-All-in-One Printer we reviewed in early 2014.
As the prices stair-step upward, so do the printers’ productivity and convenience features. The Officejet Pro 8610 may list for $199, but we’ve seen it down around $129 from a few e-tailers. What you get for the additional money between the Officejet Pro 8610 and the Pro 8620 is significant, though. The cheaper Officejet Pro 8610 model is rated at up to 19 monochrome pages per minute (ppm) and 14.5ppm in color, slower than the Pro 8620 by about 2ppm for both black-and-white and color documents. Also, while it comes with a similar wealth of mobile and Web-based print channels, the Officejet Pro 8610 looks decidedly entry-level on the hardware front, coming with a smallish (2.7-inch) touch screen, a 35-page automatic document feeder (ADF), and a 250-sheet input drawer. Compare that to the Officejet Pro 8620’s 4.3-inch touch screen, 50-sheet ADF, and support for Near-Field Communication (NFC), which allows for “touch-to-print” functionality from certain mobile devices. (We’ll discuss NFC and several other mobile-device options in the Features section on the next page.)
The next model up the Officejet Pro line, the Pro 8630, on the other hand, comes with everything that the Pro 8620 does, as well as a second 250-sheet paper drawer (for a total of 500 sheets of paper capacity), OCR software, and a second set of color ink cartridges (the cyan, magenta, and yellow only—no black). The additional ink tanks, were you to buy them separately, would run you about $60 on HP’s Web site. Given that the Officejet Pro 8630 actually retails for about $280, the ink tanks in effect reduce the real price of the Officejet Pro 8630 to a sawbuck or two more than the Officejet Pro 8620, which seems like a pretty good deal to us given the other stuff you get.
As we said about the Officejet 8600 Plus and the Officejet Pro 8630, the Officejet Pro 8620 is an excellent printer that approaches the state of the art in its price range. It’s fast, and the print, scan, and copy quality are top-notch—easily comparable to what we’ve come to expect from high-end HP printers. However, HP’s competition in the high-volume inkjet market—primarily Brother and Epson, but with Canon, too, suddenly coming on strong—have not been lying down, sheepishly waiting for HP to dominate this segment of the printer market.
Since the release of HP’s first Officejet 8600 workhorse, all three competitors have rolled out high-volume, strong-performing models with very competitive cost-per-page (CPP) figures. Several of them, such as Epson’s 2014 PrecisionCore-powered WorkForce Pro models and Canon’s business-optimized Maxify MFPs (the first generation of which debuted in late 2014), perform well and meet most or all of our criteria for high-volume office-centric MFPs. They’re highly competent machines, and indeed, as a whole they are rewriting expectations of what a small-business MFP—inkjet or laser—really is nowadays.
In other words, here we are in early 2015, and the choices among small-business and workgroup MFPs are not so easy to make, though in a positive way for shoppers. That’s because many of today’s high-volume inkjets are fine printers with operating costs that are quite reasonable compared with years past. What we like most about the Officejet Pro 8620, though, is that it and its siblings have been on the market for a while—and so far, nobody is complaining.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.