HP Officejet 4500 Wireless All-In-One Offers Print/Copy/Scan/Fax for Cheap, but It’s Slow
At a Glance
The HP Officejet 4500 Wireless All-In-One color inkjet multifunction printer gives small-office users a little bit of everything for a low price ($129 as of 02/11/2010), including Wi-Fi. This MFP is slow, however, and the ink costs are middling to pricey.
Features are plentiful, but minimal: The unit comes with a 20-sheet automatic document feeder, plus a 100-sheet input tray that also catches up to 20 sheets of printed output--an awkward, but common, design among low-cost units. Duplexing is manual, with helpful on-screen prompts. For connectivity, the Officejet 4500 Wireless has USB and Wi-Fi; ethernet (but not Wi-Fi) is included in its $99 cousin, the HP Officejet 4500. HP generously bundles USB and phone cables, as well as a line adapter, with the unit.
All of those features are very easy to use, thanks in large part to Flash-based animations that walk you through installation as well as common tasks and problems. You navigate options via the two-line, 16-character monochrome LCD and the usual arrow, OK, and back/cancel buttons; the device also has a numeric keypad. My one quibble is that the MFP gives no visual cue to confirm that you've selected a setting, just an overly subtle double-beep.
Given the low-volume design, perhaps it's not surprising that the Officejet 4500 Wireless is one of the slower MFPs we've tested: It generated just 5 pages per minute (ppm) when printing text, and 2.4 ppm when printing graphics. Copying and scanning speeds were also quite poky. The Epson Workforce 310 is a lot faster, but it lacks Wi-Fi and has overpriced inks.
In our tests on plain paper, text looked a little fuzzy but nicely black, while graphics seemed fairly smooth. On HP's own photo paper, images were slightly cloudy and yellow on occasion (especially in flesh tones), but they still fell within a natural range.
The inks for the Officejet 4500 Wireless are of mixed value. The standard-size black costs $15 for a 200-page yield, or a pricey 7.5 cents per page. The tricolor cartridge is $29 for a 360-page yield, or 8.1 cents per page. The high-yield black option costs $32 and lasts 700 pages, or a decent 4.6 cents per page. For the same price, however, HP's own Officejet 6500 Wireless offers a high-yield black cartridge that lasts for 1200 pages, or 2.7 cents per page.
The HP Officejet 4500 Wireless All-In-One could give a user or two just enough multifunction features to sustain a small, low-volume office or work-at-home situation. Anything more, it couldn't handle. Nevertheless, the Wi-Fi is a nice bonus for the price.