It seems we’ve all been there, we want to move up from our old color ink jet printer to a nice shiny new color laser jet printer. Problem is up to now the price of a quality color laser was just out of our reach. Well the ink jet printer manufactures have heard our cries of dismay. Latley they have come out with affordable color ink jets that rival the laser printer on many fronts and at prices a small business or house hold can live with.
Out of five ink jet printers tested by PC World they voted the Best Buy to be the HP Officejet Pro 8100 ePrinter. For a mere $150 you can obtain high-speed, good-quality color printing. It has Wi-Fi, USB, and ethernet, can handle up to 1250 pages of printing per month and let’s not forget that the inks for this machine are cheaper per page than the toner supplies from any comparably price color laser.
Setting up the Officejet Pro on a PC is simple: insert the CD and follow the prompts, that’s it. It sports a nice control panel in the form of a small front LCD for showing ink levels, Wi-Fi status and when you;re out of paper. Paper handling on the 8100 is sufficient for medium volume printing with a 250 sheet bottom mounted main tray, a 150 sheet output tray and automatic duplexing. Comes with a 12 month warranty and HP offers a two year extended service/warranty plan for only $25, now that’s a deal.
Printing speed is fast at 12.5 pages per minute for Monochrome pages that have mostly text with a few simple grayscale graphics. Your 4 X 6 inch photos print at 4.6 ppm which is well above average using plain paper and 1.2 ppm when printing to glossy photo paper which is about normal. Printing photos to a glossy full page paper gives you 0.6 ppm which is slightly above average.
Now for the ink story, this printer takes the HP 950Xl black and the 951XL series for the colors. Once you go through the cartridges that come with the printer we recommend you stick with the XL versions as it’s a better value. The 950XL black goes for $36.99 and cost 1.6 cents per page. The 951XL Cyan, Magenta and Yellow go for $27.99 each and will cost you 7.3 cents for a four color page which is cheap.
The HP Officjet Pro 8100 is fast and competent and more economical than a color laser printer with photo quality being much better that the laser. There are other business class ink jet printers out there now so do your homework before committing.