The HP Officejet Pro 8000 wireless colour inkjet printer could cure some small offices or workgroups of their colour-laser envy.

Even the lowest-end colour lasers can't compete with the HP Officejet Pro 8000 wireless's speed, features, and print quality - and its inks are cheaper, too.

The inks are so cheap, in fact, that we have to talk about them first. The standard-size supplies (the printer ships with a set) are already a bargain, the high-yield cartridges are even better. This is a seriously low-cost printer to run.

Setting up the HP Officejet Pro 8000 is easy, despite the many dialog boxes to click through for the wireless setup. On the Mac, we had to add the printer manually in the Preferences/Printers dialog box - a bit inconvenient.

The HP Officejet Pro 8000 wireless is full featured and well constructed. HP built it with thicker plastics than those on the lower-cost Officejet 6000 Wireless, and its included automatic duplexer unit adds extra stiffness in the back. On-printer controls consist of just three buttons: resume, cancel, and wireless.

The last button toggles wireless on and off if you press and hold, or prints out network settings if you press it quickly. The ink cartridges nestle behind a door in the HP Officejet Pro 8000 printer's front, an easier-to-access arrangement than the more common placement inside the printer.

One of the fastest inkjet printers we've tested on the PC platform, the HP Officejet Pro 8000 wireless is also competitive with some of the lowest-end colour laser printers. Plain-text pages exited at a peppy 10.3 pages per minute. Various graphics printed on plain paper - pie charts, web pages, and the like - came out at speeds ranging from 4.2 ppm to 4.7 ppm.

Photo printing took noticeably longer than anything else. On the Mac, text speed was a decent 10.7 ppm, but the HP Officejet Pro 8000 printer slowed dramatically on other, graphics-heavy files we use: it took over 2.5 minutes to print a four-page PDF file with text and graphics, for instance, while a full-page photo at the best settings took well over 3 minutes. The Epson WorkForce 40 is a lot faster (though it has other drawbacks).

Overall, the HP Officejet Pro 8000 wireless produced very good print quality. Text was crisp and suffered virtually no defects, while grayscale graphics showed a level of detail in darker areas that many printers miss. Color images had a rich albeit somewhat dark cast that's typical among HP printers. Flesh tones tended to be orangey.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

HP Officejet Pro 8000: Specs

  • Workgroup printer, colour inkjet
  • HP Thermal Inkjet, 4-ink
  • USB, Ethernet
  • Max Resolution (B&W) 1200x1200dpi, Max Resolution (Colour) 4800x1200dpi
  • Duplex
  • PCL 3, PCL 3E
  • Borderless printing
  • 384MHz processor
  • 32MB RAM
  • Total Media Capacity: 250 sheets
  • Monthly Duty Cycle: 15000 pages
  • 494x479x180mm
  • 7.8kg
  • Workgroup printer, colour inkjet
  • HP Thermal Inkjet, 4-ink
  • USB, Ethernet
  • Max Resolution (B&W) 1200x1200dpi, Max Resolution (Colour) 4800x1200dpi
  • Duplex
  • PCL 3, PCL 3E
  • Borderless printing
  • 384MHz processor
  • 32MB RAM
  • Total Media Capacity: 250 sheets
  • Monthly Duty Cycle: 15000 pages
  • 494x479x180mm
  • 7.8kg

OUR VERDICT

The HP Officejet Pro 8000 wireless excels compared with other single-function inkjets. For a small office, it's also good to know that this model stands up well to the lowest-end colour lasers.

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