HP's latest targets the small office market with an attractive feature set.
A quiet achiever for the small office, the Pro 8100 is an inkjet printer with USB, Ethernet and Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n) interfaces.
Minimal hardware setup is required (basically plugging in, attaching the duplexer and fitting the four ink cartridges), and the lack of any significant bundled software apart from the Bing Bar means software installation is relatively speedy.
A useful feature for the busy office is that each user has the choice of being notified of ink alerts as soon as the condition arises (if they’re responsible for the care and feeding of the device) or only when they print. Alerts can also be emailed.
Our test document took a total of 28 seconds, with a run-on speed of approximately 6ppm. Duplex printing increased that to 39 seconds, so saving paper comes at a price. Also, ink show-through was noticeable on 80gsm office paper. That’s a common problem among inkjets, especially when there are graphic elements on a page. The 8100 is no worse in this regard than other models we’ve tested recently, and the blackness of its ink and sharp character outlines help the clarity of back-to-back text. HP’s water and highlighter-resistant inks used in this model are another plus.
Although the 8100 is an ePrint model, it does not support the print apps found on other models with this designation. The function is limited to remote printing via email (e.g. attach a PDF to an email and send it to the address associated with the printer) and Google Cloud Print support. Both of these aspects worked well in our testing.
The 8100 also supports AirPrint for direct printing from iOS devices via Wi-Fi. We found this feature easy to use, but only one network interface can be active at a time so you may need to position the printer in a strong signal area to get good throughput. Available from HP, retailing for $199.APC rating: 7/10