Last week HP Aus­tria sent me one of their multipurpose-flagships for test­ing pur­poses. Since five days the one they call 8500 thrones amidst my other hard­ware, ever-obiently serv­ing scans and var­i­ous kinds of prints. What­ever Deskjet-printer fea­ture you’ve ever read about, this huge box packs all the heat: auto­matic duplex prints, a touch screen dis­play, LAN– and WLAN-integration and much more. HP says it’s a real ink-saver, too, but since the head­quar­ters of datadirt media group have become a paper­less office long ago, I lack comparison.

The Deskjet 3500 comes with four sep­a­rate ink slots and a sticker on top of the printer claims that the “cost per page and energy use are 50% less than lasers”, but your aver­age cus­tomer has prob­a­bly by now learned the les­son “don’t believe prod­uct stick­ers, espe­cially when they come with a foot­note” the hard way by now. But still, there are fac­tors which can be mea­sured by an ama­teur like me: speed, print qual­ity, usabil­ity — there’s one thing I didn’t test though and that’s the fax capa­bil­i­ties. Run­ning a paper­less office, I’m not much of a fax-guy either, but if you’re into fax-machines (in a non-vindictive way), this is prob­a­bly a cool one.

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And if size does mat­ter, this device rocks almost any other home-office printer I’ve seen. I’m not sure though about the kind of cus­tomers HP is tar­get­ing with this machine: for really huge offices a laser printer is def­i­nitely a faster choice, while for a small home office this huge mon­u­ment of HP entre­pre­neur­ship might seem a lit­tle over­sized. And it’s really loud, too, so if you’re print­ing a lot, you don’t want to put it any­where near your desk.

And that’s the part where the WLAN might come in handy: the instal­la­tion is done in a cou­ple of moments via the touch screen-display. The HP “solu­tion disk” is one behe­moth of a driver-setup. In my case, the ESET Smart Secu­rity didn’t play along well with HP’s soft­ware. To cut a long story short: even though the instal­la­tion rou­tine advised me to set my fire­wall to “rule based” (which is the mode I use any­ways) and grant Mr. 8500 all access, it just wouldn’t work out. The instal­la­tion rou­tine stopped, the sec­ond time around I dis­abled all secu­rity fea­tures and was able to install (and use) the printer. But here comes the tricky part: since my fire­wall wouldn’t pop a the rules wiz­ard, I was instructed to man­u­ally add a rule for a cer­tain UDP port which I wasn’t able to do prop­erly. So like a true myth-buster I smiled dan­ger in the face and knew that from now on it was either secu­rity or printed paper.

Apart from this lit­tle fire­wall inci­dent, every­thing worked just fine — in duplex mode, it took about 7 min­utes to print an 80-page eBook, and pho­tos printed on HPs inkjet paper looked great. But even though the idea of hav­ing all those pos­si­bil­i­ties at my fin­ger­tips does sound tempt­ing, I wouldn’t buy the 8500 Wire­less: I have never ever in my whole dig­i­tal life used any direct-printing func­tions from USB-sticks or cards (yes, everything’s on board), I don’t need a copier and I never send a fax. In this kind of usage sce­nario, the fancy touch screen becomes extremely obso­lete once the WLAN con­nec­tion is set up and work­ing. Sta­tus mes­sages might as well be deliv­ered via dri­ver and pop up on the screen. On Ama­zon, the lit­tle brother named Hewlett-Packard Office­Jet Pro 8500 costs about €250 (with­out WLAN and touch screen), while the price of <a href=“the ver­sion I tested is €100 higher. But both print­ers have the same cover on their blank paper case — and this con­struc­tion doesn’t look too sturdy at all. Espe­cially under harsh daily office wars con­di­tions this might turn into an annoy­ance, but unfor­tu­nately I have no means of recre­at­ing test con­di­tions like two pub­lic rela­tions assis­tants fight­ing over who gets to pick up their Google SERP page prints first. While the Deskjet Pro 8500 might be a good choice for medium-sized offices, I’d pre­fer an A3 printer with WLAN and a big­ger scan area. So luck­ily, it’s not going to be that hard to part when I send the printer back to HP next week.