Tag: HP OfficeJet 6500

Buyer’s Guide–Buying a printer for your small business


You might be at that position where the computer printer at your small business is “on its last legs” or becoming impossible to run economically. On the other hand, you may find you are working your existing printer harder and need to consider a machine that is suited to your current workload.

Similarly, as the end of the financial year approaches, you will face advertising from computer resellers and retailers; and office-supply stores for technology like printers at very enticing prices, usually to allow businesses to buy capital equipment that can be quickly offset against their income for tax purposes. This can become more intense whenever the government announces significant tax breaks for business owners when they purchase capital equipment.

At this point, you could easily make a mistake concerning the purchase of a printer and end up buying the wrong machine for your needs. I have prepared this buyers’ guide so you can be sure you are getting the right printer to suit your business’s needs and be able to use a machine that gives you more “bang for the buck”.

Printer classes

Laser printers

HP LaserJet Pro 1560 printer

HP LaserJet Pro 1560 monochrome laser printer

A laser printer uses a xerographic dry-printing mechanism to print the image to the paper, in a similar way to how the classic photocopier worked. But they use a laser or, in cheaper printers, an LED to illuminate the photostatic drum with the computer-generated image to be printed.

Colour laser printers use four of these mechanisms to imprint the four colours and some cheaper versions may use only one drum and four toners to print the same page; which will take longer to come out.

This class of printer is typically known for printing many copies of “press-quality” documents and has started the “desktop-publishing” revolution.

It is worth knowing that some laser printers will use a cartridge which has an integrated drum as well as the toner supply while others like most of the Brother range will use a separately-replaceable drum unit. With the latter model, you may have to factor in the cost of the drum unit which will occur later on in the machine’s life; usually after 17000-25000 pages.

Business Inkjet printers

HP OfficeJet 6500

HP OfficeJet 6500 business inkjet multifunction printer

This class of inkjet printer is pitched primarily at business users and uses high-capacity cartridges and is optimised for a high duty cycle. They will also have business-target functionality like advanced fax functionality and the ability to work with advanced networks.

Consumer Inkjet printers

Canon PIXMA MX-350 multifunction printer

Canon PIXMA MX-350 multifunction printer with fax

Typically this class of network printer will be optimised for photographic printing and have inks that reproduce photos well. But on the other hand, they will be optimised for a low duty cycle with low-capacity ink cartridges. If they have fax functionality, this functionality will be very basic and as far as network connectivity is concerned, these printers will be suited to a basic small network.

Buying dilemmas that a business owner can face

As a business owner, you may face some buying dilemmas when you choose certain printers. This is especially as manufacturers design printers, especially multifunction printers, that effectively have similar capabilities to others of a different class. Here, the prices for the machines are similar and they may have similar print speeds or functionalities. But there may be certain key differences like the cost to run the machine or the machine’s prowess at particular print jobs.

The two main examples of this are: a high-end fax-equipped consumer inkjet multifunction like the HP Photosmart Premium Fax C410a ( an ePrint-enabled successor to the HP Photosmart Premium Fax C309a full-duplex inkjet printer) and a network-capable business inkjet multifunction like the HP OfficeJet 6500A Series; or a high-end business inkjet multifunction like the HP OfficeJet Pro 8500 Series and en entry-level colour laser multifunction like the HP Colour LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw.

High-end consumer inkjet vs a business inkjet

HP Photosmart Premium Fax C410 consumer inkjet printer

HP Photosmart Premium Fax C410 - a high-end consumer inkjet multifunction printer

A high-end consumer inkjet printer will be optimised for photo printing whereas a low-end networkable business inkjet will be primarily targeted at printing large runs of documents. This will affect ink-cartridge capacity, machine durability, functionality and printer throughput in many ways.

The former printer will typically have five or more inks and these inks will typically be in lower-capacity cartridges which need replacing more often than the four inks used in a low-end business inkjet printer. I would still suggest that businesses prefer the models with separately-replaceable ink cartridges because each ink can be replaced as needed.

As well, these consumer-level printers will typically have functions that make it easier to print pictures directly from a digital camera whether it’ is “tethered” by a USB cable or one takes the “film” (memory card) out of the camera. Some of these printers may offer the ability to print from a mobile phone via Bluetooth whether through integrated circuitry or an optional Bluetooth module.

HP OfficeJet 6500a business inkjet printer

HP OfficeJet 6500a - a modest-priced business inkjet printer

It may be worth knowing that some business-level inkjets are acquiring this kind of functionality but most of these printers won’t turn out the high-quality prints from digital cameras. Here, this functionality may be useful for applications where print quality doesn’t matter like hardcopy proofs that are used for “shortlisting” pictures for a project.

I would consider the premium consumer-level inkjet printer as a business printer if you rely on it for turning out high-quality digital prints whether from your PC or your digital camera and don’t do much printing on it. If you want the best of both worlds, you could get by with a dedicated photo-optimised printer for photographic jobs and a business-grade multifunction printer for regular business printouts.

High-end business inkjet vs an entry-level colour laser

An example of this situation is HP’s OfficeJet Pro 8500a inkjet and the HP Colour LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw.

HP OfficeJet Pro 8500a Plus multifunction inkjet printer

HP OfficeJet Pro 8500a Plus - a hign-end business inkjet multifunction printer

These printers have a similar throughput to each other when printing pages and also turn out a similar copy quality for the documents that are printed. It doesn’t matter whether the documents are ordinary text documents or documents filled with graphics. There may be some glaring functionality differences like the support for duplex operation or memory type. In this example, the OfficeJet Pro 8500a had “full duplex” functionality where it could print on both sides of a sheet of paper and scan both sides of a printed document whereas the LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw could only print or scan one side of a page. Conversely, the LaserJet Pro used flash memory for its fax-related features like no-paper receive, “fax vault” or send-later while the OfficeJet Pro used regular RAM memory for the same functions.

HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw colour laser multifunction printer

HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw - an example of an entry-level colour laser multifunction printer

The cost-per-page for an entry-level colour laser printer is slightly cheaper than a high-end business inkjet that is fed the high-capacity cartridges although manufacturers like HP are  implementing ink cartridges in these printers that have a similar or better cost-per-page to the laser printers.  On the other hand, the inkjet is more flexible with print media than the laser because it doesn’t use any heat to bond the marking material to the paper. This can make it useful for printing short-run documents to glossy material or printing out labels and transparencies.

Dedicated printer vs multifunction printers

An increasing number of printers on the market, like most of the printers I have reviewed on this site, are of the “multifunction” type with a built-in scanner mechanism. Here, these printers will be able to scan to the computer or work as convenience light-duty photocopiers. Most of the business-focused multifunction printers are able to work as fax machines and these units typically are equipped with an automatic document feeder.

Compare this with the dedicated printers which just print from a computer. This class of printer is typically represented by laser printers or some photo-grade inkjet printers pitched at the graphic arts users.

A multifunction printer can work well as an all-round “workhorse” printer for most office applications whereas a dedicated printer can serve “infill” requirements that the multifunction cannot achieve. For example, you could use a colour inkjet multifunction printer as the main office printer in a doctor’s office while you have a monochrome laser printer turning out health-insurance forms and accounts that are part of the workflow. Similarly, you could use an A3 colour inkjet printer for turning out plans, signs and similar documents while you use a regular A4 multifunction for regular printing needs.

Features worthy of note

Auto-duplex printing

A feature that is becoming common amongst a lot of printers is auto-duplex printing. Here, the printer is able to automatically “flip” the page to print on the reverse side of the paper. This has become popular as a paper-saving measure but some of us may find it of value as a desktop-publishing benefit.

This is demonstrably so with laser printers like the Brother HL4150CDN colour laser that I recently reviewed. Here, the printer can print “to the edge” yet work on both sides of the page. As well, laser printers don’t have to “dwell” for up to 15 seconds to allow the ink to dry, thus it doesn’t have significant impact on print speed. Infact the previously-mentioned Brother printer could work both sides of two pages at once and with this, there is effectively no throughput penalty if you intend to do duplex or booklet printing.

Some inkjet printers, namely HP printers, may require a non-printed margin at the top and bottom of the page for auto-duplex printing. This is perceived to permit reliable paper handling but can be a problem if you intend to print landscape documents or “work to the edge” in your documents. It is also worth noting that some printers such as cheaper high-throughput colour lasers may only be able to use this function for the common document paper sizes like A4 or Letter.

At the moment, it is worth noting that not many of these colour laser printers that have auto-duplex printing can print on both sides of small-page “flyer-size” documents like A5, DL or postcard. This is usually because the auto-duplex mechanisms are not able to reliably push the small sheets of paper through the colour laser printing mechanism in order to print on both sides of the flyer.

It may be worth knowing that some high-end A4 multifunction printers will be likely to have “full duplex” functionality. This means that they will have auto-duplex printing as well as an automatic document feeder that can scan both sides of a page. This typically leads to functions like automatic “both-sides” copying and faxing.

Use as the business fax machine

Brother MFC-7460DN monochrome laser multifunction printer

Brother MFC-7460DN monochrome laser multifunction printer

Firstly, most of the multifunction printers that appeal to the business user will have an integrated fax functionality. This can be of use if that old fax machine has nearly “had it” or is becoming costly to run due to its use of the thermal-transfer tape.

Infact, the purchase of a low-end plain-paper fax that uses this kind of printing is really a false economy because these fax machines will work through the thermal-transfer tape even if a page is partially written on. Instead, a fax-equipped multifunction printer uses the ink or toner when and where it needs to mark the document.

As well, it will save on bench space because you don’t have to have a separate machine to receive your faxes on. This is an important requirement for small offices and shops where this space can be at a premium.

It is also worth knowing that the inkjet and colour-laser multifunction printers that have the fax functionality are capable of receiving and transmitting faxes in colour to businesses equipped with similarly-capable equipment. Here, if you select “Colour Fax” on these machines, they will transmit the document according to “best-case” rules where if the receiving machine isn’t colour-capable, the transmission will succeed with the document being in monochrome. Other examples of these printers offering increased value for money as a small-business fax machine include the business class printers offering a “fax-vault” function where you can set the unit to hold received documents in memory and print them when required; or “print-to-fax” functions or “fax-to-computer” functions so you can fax a document from your computer or capture a faxed document to your computer without reprinting it.

Of course, these machines will have the expected fax functionality and can work with a dedicated fax line or a shared phone line, including support for “distinctive ring” dedicated-fax-number setups like Telstra’s Faxstream Duet.

What to be careful of

The two-cartridge colour inkjet printer

A lot of inexpensive consumer and small-business inkjet printers still use two cartridges for their printing setup. One of these cartridges is the black cartridge while the other is a “tri-colour” ink cartridge that houses the cyan, magenta and yellow inks in one plastic body.

The main problem with this design is that if one colour runs out in the colour cartridge, you have to replace the whole cartridge even if there is plenty of ink remaining for the other colours. It can become more exacerbating if you print material using your business’s trad dress which will be dominant in particular colours.

This may be OK for an occasionally-used printer but should be avoided if you use your printer frequently. Instead, look for a midrange printer that uses four or more ink cartridges with each colour in its own cartridge.

Wi-Fi-only network connectivity

Another feature common with inexpensive network multifunction printers is to provide Wi-Fi as the only network connection method. This is more so with the printers that are positioned at the consumer end of the market.

There are a few limitations with this setup. One is that you have to run a Wi-Fi network to obtain the benefits of network connectivity and this can be fraught with problems because of Wi-Fi being a radio based method. For example, walls made out of double-brick, cinder-block or reinforced concrete can play havoc with a Wi-Fi link; as can metal-reflective insulation. This limits the ability to connect the printer to your business network using alternative network technologies like Ethernet or HomePlug powerline networking.

As well, a lot of these printers require the user to configure them for the wireless network by connecting them to a host computer and running manufacturer-supplied software before they will work with that network. The exception to this rule for most of these printers is Wi-Fi network segments that use WPS “push-to-connect” setup, where you may push a button on the printer or select a menu option to start the configuration process. This is although the HP ePrint-enabled Wi-Fi-only consumer printers like the Photosmart Wireless-E B110a economy printer and the HP Envy 100 (D410) slimline printer do support configuration for non-WPS wireless networks from the control panel.

Recommendations for most businesses

General-office work

I would recommend a midrange network-connected business inkjet multifunction printer with four ink cartridges and auto-duplex printing for a “general-use” workhorse printer. It may be OK to use a high-end consumer printer or low-end business inkjet for low-traffic applications like a secondary printer.

A photo-optimised consumer printer like a Canon PiXMA or HP Photosmart may be good as a secondary printer for applications where you value high-quality photo prints with the full saturation. Some manufacturers may offer a dedicated photo-optimised printer but typically these can be very expensive and are pitched at the graphic-arts industries.

A dedicated monochrome laser printers can be useful for printing out forms or documents as what would be required of medical, legal or similar professions. Here, it would be wise to look for auto-duplex-equipped units if you turn out many multipage documents like most legal documents. As well, I would recommend that these machines are network-connected if you have or intend to have two or more computer workstations that will turn out the documents.

HP OfficeJet 7000 wide-format printer

HP OfficeJet 7000 A3 wide-format inkjet printer

If you don’t care about colour printing but turn out many documents, you could get by with a monochrome laser multifunction printer like the recently-released Brother units or the HP LaserJet M1212nf that I had previously reviewed. Then if you want to do colour printing at a later date, you could add on a dedicated colour printer like the HP OfficeJet 6000 inkjet; HP OfficeJet 7000 A3 inkjet or Brother HL-4150CDN laser “desktop-publishing workhorse”.

Promoting your business yourself

You may want to use a colour laser printer as a promotion tool for your business. I have infact written up an article about why it is worth considering these printers as a buying option. Here, it would be a good idea to stick to high-throughput colour laser printers like the Brother HL-4150CDN especially if you do a lot of your own short-run publishing, including “infill” print runs.

You may want to take advantage of the larger A3 page size as a paper size for signage and similar material. It may even come in handy within the office for turning out large spreadsheets or business charts that can have more detail. Here, you may look at a single-tray A3 multifunction like the HP OfficeJet 7500 for occasional A3 use or a dual-tray A3 multifunction like the Brother MFC-6490CW or dedicated A3 printer like the HP OfficeJet 7000 if you do turn out a lot of A3 material.

Brother MFC-6490CW A3 inkjet multifunction printer

Brother MFC-6490CW A3 inkjet multifunction printer


In simple terms, I would suggest that you check how much the printer will cost to run; such as the price of replacement ink or toner cartridges; the availability of high-capacity cartridges and the kid of cartridges used and other cost-saving practices like auto-duplex

Then make sure that your printer can suit your current needs as well as allowing for future needs.Here, you can then own and run the right printer that will serve your business’s needs for many years without being a drain on your business’s cashflow.

Product Review- Hewlett-Packard OfficeJet 6500 all-in-one printer

HP OfficeJet 6500In this review, I have been given the opportunity to assess a multifunction printer that is optimised for small-business use rather than a consumer-rated unit. These units are designed to be economical to run, have high-speed throughput for scanning and printing; as well as supporting a higher duty cycle than the consumer units.

The HP OfficeJet 6500 is a size similar to most multifunction printers and has the controls located closer to the user. It has a large high-contrast two-line LCD monochrome display which is good as a status display for tasks like faxing or scanning. The controls are arranged in a task-specific manner that makes it easier to perform what you want to do.


The only assembly that you would have needed to do beyond installing the ink cartridges is to attach the duplexer mechanism to the back of the printer. This unit, which looks like a laser printer’s toner cartridge just snapped in to the back without much effort.

Control panel and display

Control panel and display

As far as connections go, the printer can be directly connected to the host computer via USB or it can be connected to an Ethernet wired network or a WiFi wireless network. There are two RJ11 phone sockets for use when setting the unit up as a fax machine. This is to permit you to connect existing telephone devices to the unit thus obviating the need to use a splitter.

The printer comes with a CD-ROM which has all of the drivers and applications needed to get the printer going, but it would be a good idea to download the latest drivers from HP’s Web site. This also means that newer operating systems like Windows 7 or MacOS X “Snow Leopard” will be catered for.

Loading ink cartridges

You don’t need much effort to open or close the lid to install new ink cartridges. As well, like the Photosmart Wireless multifunction printer that I reviewed previously, you don’t have to mess with any stays to keep the lid open while changing the cartridges. Similarly, you don’t need much effort to remove or install the ink cartridges and there is nothing “fiddly” about this job.

Network setup and abilities

This printer can work in a small network as a network printer or scanner. It connects to the network either via 802.11g WPA2 wireless or Cat5 Ethernet cable, which can also work in conjunction with a better Wi-Fi client bridge or an existing-wires technology like HomePlug powerline or MoCA TV coaxial.

You can use the printer’s control panel to enrol it with a wireless network, including entering the WPA-PSK passphrase using the numeric keypad in a manner similar to how a teenager taps out a text message on their mobile phone. On the other hand, you can use the USB port and the supplied software to configure the printer for your wireless network. It doesn’t support WPS easy-configure modes, but this omission may not be missed in a lot of business setups.

If the printer is connected wirelessly to the network, it can lose touch with the network when it goes in to low-power state and you may have to turn it off and on using the ON/OFF switch on the control panel when you want to start printing. This problem is due to the absence of a standard “wake-on-wireless-network” protocol for activating network devices connected to a wireless network that have entered a low-power state. This problem doesn’t occur if the printer is connected via an Ethernet network whether directly or via a HomePlug segment.

There is a built-in Web server that is used for managing the unit and this is accessible through a shortcut on the HP software. Windows Vista and 7 computers can gain access to this interface through the “Network” option as part of the DPWS technology that is part of the operating systems. There is also the ability to start “plug-and-play” installation from this interface by right-clicking on the printer icon in the Network folder and selecting “Install”. Here, you would need to make sure that the drivers are installed in the computer beforehand.



The OfficeJet 6500 Wireless comes with a rear-mounted duplexer attachment so you can save paper by printing on both sides. The only disadvantage with this is that the document has to have a larger bottom margin so that the duplexer can properly handle the paper when turning it over.

I have the printer print a large document (214 page user manual) with double-sided printing in order to assess how it goes with handling a large print run. This would mimic conditions similar to printing a large report or something similar; or simply sustaining a large run of documents. I have then found that it could complete this kind of job unattended without printing-reliability issues.


Automatic Document Feeder

Automatic Document Feeder

This OfficeJet unit can also work as a scanner and has an automatic document feeder that is capable of handling 35 pages at a time. Here I ran the automatic document feeder through a reliability test by having the unit copy a 20-page document fed through the feeder and it performed the job properly although there was a high-pitch squealing noise from the ADF. This phenomenon may be particular to the review sample that I was using.

It supports scanning over a network link, either with the scan job initiated at the computer or at the unit’s control panel. The latter method requires you to have the supplied scanner software on your computer to receive and process the documents. This software allows you to scan as a document or picture and save the file to the computer’s local file system or send it as an e-mail.

Use with digital-camera cards

There is a built-in memory card reader for use with digital-camera memory cards but this function is very limited. This is brought about by the printer not having a colour LCD display which can make it easier for you to choose pictures to print. If you want to print selected images, you would need to select the pictures using your camera’s DPOF print selection menus before putting the card in the printer.

Another limitation is that the card reader doesn’t support the SDHC memory cards which are now being used in most of the current digital-camera range. On the other hand, the card reader is accessible over the network as a network storage location with its own drive letter on Windows systems but it can be accessed as the MEMORY_CARD share-name for the printer.


The OfficeJet 6500 is an inkjet plain-paper fax machine that can work as an elegant replacement for that economy-tier fax machine that many small businesses and home users see as their fax solution.

It can be set up to work on a dedicated line or on a shared line with support for distinctive-ring setups (separate number for fax) or fax auto-answer. The latter mode has it that the unit takes the call if it hears the distinct repeating “CNG” beep from a transmitting fax machine when another device like an answering machine answers the line. When you determine the fax header information, you only need to provide your own name or company name and your fax number rather than having to determine “CSID” and “TSID” fields which can be obscure when you set up fax equipment.

The unit has memory for one outgoing fax job (for scheduled transmission) and is able to keep new received faxes in memory at all times or only during error conditions. There are limitations with this machine’s implementation is that you cannot set the fax machine to receive “only to memory”, a feature which could come in handy for secure “out-of-hours” fax reception; and you cannot schedule multiple outgoing fax jobs, which may be a pain in the neck for people who do a lot of overseas business.

It also supports transmission and reception of colour faxes with compatible fax endpoints and can work in high-resolution modes for “best-case” fax operation. There is a 100-number “speed-dial” list with the first three entries being available for “one-push” access from the control panel.

The unit supports “fax-from-computer” with a dedicated fax print driver and this can be done from any computers that exist on the network. It can also support “fax-to-computer” with jobs ending up at one computer on the network. The “fax-to-computer” mod is limited to monochrome faxes and requires a computer to be alive and running the supplied software all the time.

Output Speed And Quality

The output quality is very typical of a good business inkjet printer and it takes a few seconds per page to print a typical business document. You don’t lose any extra speed when you print colour documents, especially now that most business documents now have some form of colour on them.

If you do double-sided printing, you will have a speed penalty of 10 seconds per sheet of paper to allow the ink to dry on the “first” side of the paper.

Photos printed with this printer have a good dynamic range and the flesh-tones being accurate even when handling a group shot with people of different races. This is on a par with the Photosmart Wireless printer that I reviewed previously and it certainly says that the unit could make a satisfactory effort for printing photos in a “general-purpose” office environment.


The unit is easy to use for most tasks and offers a capability set at a price that most small business owners and home-office owners will appreciate. Here, you have functions like an automatic document feeder, double-sided printing and wired / wireless network connectivity as well as separate cartridges for each colour that will be appreciated by the cost-conscious business user.

Limitations and Points of Improvement

I will always be saying this with all consumer and small-business network-ready inkjet printers, especially multifunction printers, is that the manufacturers could improve on the provision of non-volatile onboard memory. This will certainly increase user productivity for improved multi-source print queue management, failed-job recovery, improved fax functionality – more delayed fax sends, receive-to-memory, etc. It can also cater for “CD-free” network printer setup through the Web interface.

Another point of improvement that I would like to see is support for Internet-based (NTP) time synchronisation. This would avoid the need to manually set the time and date whenever ther is a power failure or as part of setting it up. It could then be based on time-zone settings with automatically-updated daylight-savings rules similar to what happens with most computer operating systems.

It can also benefit from the SD card slot supporting SDHC cards in order to work with the newer digital cameras that can use these cards. As well, it could benefit from a USB host port for connection to PictBridge-enabled digital cameras.

Conclusion and Placement

From what I have see, I have described this unit as a capable general-purpose workhorse that suits most small-business and home-office requirements. So I would recommend it be used in a home office or “back office” or “reception-area” in most small organisations. As well, it could work as a colour “general-purpose” multifunction printer for a place like a clinic where one or more monochrome laser printers may be used for receipt printing and similar applications.

The best price that I could get for this printer was AUD$178 from the Officeworks office-supplies chain in Australia. As well, the ink cartridges cost $22.26 each for the colour cartridges and $45 for the black cartridge assuming you are using the 920XL high-capacity cartridges. There is the option of using the cheaper “920” standard-yield cartridges but I would suggest using the 920XL high-yield cartridge for the black ink if you do receive faxes on a regular basis.