HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus: first real test

After using this printer for one week now, we are becoming more familiar with the device, and yet still finding there is so much more to learn. Overall, I am finding this printer to be so much more than just a printer/scanner/fax.

Document printing is so easy from anywhere within the business from any office. Just push the button. Scan to a file is standard fare, and very effective with two main formats (ie, PDF or JPEG), or you can scan directly to an email address. This I've found to be a mixed blessing, as more often than not, you tend to add content to the email before sending, although I've used this function more often than I thought I would, particularly where the client is expecting the scanned document, and doesn't necessarily require further input.

Faxes can be received on paper as usual, or you can set it up to be sent to your email inbox. This is a great option, as you can receive the email straight away (wherever you are) and if you need to print it, you can later — or via ePrint immediately. We are now finding that we can print directly from our mobile devices using the ePrint functionality by sending an email directly to the printer. This is an awesome feature, and I can see it saving quite a bit of time as we become more accustomed to it.

If you have a Gmail account, you can even link that to your printer so that using the cloud, you can print directly from anywhere. Quite easy, really; no need to sync your device or any other rigmarole. This is particularly easy to set up.

You don't even need to be in the office for either option.

There are the usual eco-friendly features, like double-sided printing, power off and screen-brightness adjust, which all help to conserve resources and limit greenhouse gas emission (either directly or by association, power saving).

Navigation of the touchscreen is very easy, although in some instances I found the previous model to be easier or more familiar (I don't know which). This will probably get easier with practice. The touchscreen can have multiple layers to navigate before you get to the function you are after. Having said that, it is only in some instances. This can also be confusing, as there are so many options for some things; again, this can only get easier with practice.

The touchscreen is also hinged, so if you have the printer sitting on your desk, you don't need to get up to use it; it can stay in a vertical position. Or if it's in your print room, you can pull the touchscreen out so that it is in an almost horizontal position and is easy to read. Nice touch.

There are apps that can be downloaded directly onto the printer, and are available via the touchscreen. There are apps for business templates for business cards or identity kits (just to name two; lots of options), personal greeting cards, family activities, puzzles and kids' colouring-in pages of your favourite Disney characters or others (many to chose from). I've not explored these extensively; however, my kids found the Disney apps pretty quickly, and started printing off pages straight from the printer (no computer needed) and spent the afternoon colouring in. Great baby sitter (wonder how long that will last!). As the kids get older, or you want a time-out, there are puzzles that can suit older kids or adults, like Sudoku, crosswords, etc.

The apps for the identity kits and business cards have software to download onto your computer so that it is compatible with the template on the printer. There are many options within each type of document, and the individual options are endless (depending on your needs). Quite a novel idea, although, again, I've not explored this fully. Definitely must look into this more, as there are some interesting ideas.

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