HP Officejet 6500 Wireless Inkjet MFP
At a Glance
HP's Officejet 6500 Wireless color inkjet multifunction printer (MFP) finally offers some serious competition to the Pixma MX700 and other Canon models that habitually dominate our chart rankings. The two machines are comparable in speed and price (at this writing, $199 for the HP and $180 for the Canon), but the Officejet 6500 Wireless wins hands-down in design and in ink cost per page.
In our speed tests, the Officejet 6500 Wireless printed plain text at a speed of 11.7 pages per minute (ppm), and its color output was as fast as 3.2 ppm--faster than average, though far short of HP's advertised engine speeds of 32 ppm for monochrome and 31 ppm for graphics. Photos looked smooth and detailed. Some colors fell on the dark side of the natural range, and flesh tones often appeared orangey. Scans happened slowly and lacked some crispness, but the color balance was generally good.
The control panel looks busy, but grouping buttons by function prevents confusion. A two-line, 16-character monochrome LCD shows menu options and messages. Media slots take MMC/SD, xD, and MS/Duomedia cards; absent is any PictBridge port. The bundled HP Solutions Center and Photosmart Essentials applications add to the feature set. Photosmart Essentials offers photo-editing and organizing tools. The Solutions Center's help section includes an extensive library of how-to and troubleshooting animations.
Features of the Officejet 6500 Wireless unit we looked at included a 250-sheet input tray, a 35-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF), and an automatic duplexer. The input tray can handle a variety of media, from 4-by-6-inch photo paper to legal-size sheets. The 150-sheet output tray (on the lid of the input tray) supports legal paper--although the extensions to support the added length are a bit flimsy. All the other components are sturdy and well-constructed. Ethernet, USB, and wireless connectors are standard. The Canon Pixma MX700 has dual 150-sheet input trays, but it lacks duplexing or wireless.
HP sells replacement ink cartridges for the Officejet 6500 in standard and high-yield sizes (the printer ships with the standard size). All are keyed by color to their slots. The prices for the standard-cartridge inks are average, but the high-yield versions are impressively cheap: 2.7 cents per page for black text and 9.1 cents per page for color.
The HP Officejet 6500 strikes an impressive balance of performance, ease of use, and features at an aggressive price. It's robust enough to support a small office with moderate output needs, and it's easy to install and use, with excellent software support.