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HP all-in-one printers work great in tests -- but not always in real life

HP all-in-one printers often excel in tests -- but owners get mixed results. A perfect example? The HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus e-All-in-One (Est. $215). It gets more expert recommendations than any other all-in-one printer covered in this report, and hundreds of owners rave about it as well. Still, a sizable minority of owners run into problems.

The HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus e-All-in-One delivers excellent quality output at a fast speed. This inkjet multifunction printer is suitable for home use, and considering its price tag, it's packed with a surprisingly full range of office-centric features as well. There's a duplexer (for automatic two-sided printing), an automatic document feeder for copying and scanning, and a scanning bed that's sized for legal paper. HP preloads web apps onto this printer so you can print pages directly from the Internet. You can also email documents from mobile or other devices directly to the 8600 Plus for printing.

The 4.3-inch touch screen and well-structured menus prove easy to use. Setup is simple and can be accomplished through Wi-Fi, a wired Ethernet connection or using the USB port.

The text print quality of the HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus e-All-in-One rivals the output from a laser printer, even in smaller fonts. Photos printed on glossy photo paper come out clear, with bright colors, and the colors from scanning are also of above-average quality. All of this is served up at what reviewers say is above-average speed.

Plenty of owners are thoroughly pleased with the 8600 Plus e-All-in-One. It's a top pick at BHPhotoVideo.com, and more than 1,850 owners at Staples.com give it nearly perfect average ratings (4.4 stars out of 5). But it's not all rosy: We found repeated complaints that the HP Officejet 8600 Plus guzzles ink, won't work wirelessly or simply breaks down, leading to hours-long ordeals with HP's "painful" customer service. At Amazon.com, one out of five reviewers (and there over 600 of them) slaps the 8600 Plus with the lowest possible 1-star rating.

If you plan to do a lot of photo printing, experts like the HP Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One (Est. $175) -- but again, we found plenty of owner complaints.

In tests, the HP Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One gets good reviews for all of its functions, but especially for photo printing. A dedicated photo paper tray and an extra ink cartridge -- photo black ink -- make this multifunction printer a photo-centric printer that can also scan, copy and fax.

Though its features are less business-centric -- for example, the paper tray holds only half as much paper as the Officejet Pro 8600 Plus -- the text and graphics quality of the 7520 e-All-in-One are also very good, making this printer suitable for an office environment as well as for home use. Setup and use are straightforward, using the 4.3-inch color touch screen and well-organized menus. Unfortunately, the same owner complaints rear their heads: wasted ink, wireless snafus and breakdowns.

One HP MFP does manage to impress both experts and owners -- but it's pricey. The HP Officejet Pro X576dw (Est. $700) is an inkjet all-in-one printer that's as fast as a laser.

"Printing is crazy fast," one Amazon.com reviewer says. "I don't think I've ever seen a color printer spit out pages this quickly." The terrific print speed (66 regular-quality text pages per minute in PCMag.com's test) comes courtesy of a special "PageWide" nozzle that spans the entire sheet of paper. And because it's an inkjet, photos look way better than a laser printer's -- about as good as a drugstore print. Best of all, the X576dw uses way less ink than a normal inkjet printer or MFP (and owners confirm that this is really true).

The HP Officejet Pro X576dw comes loaded with just about every feature a small business needs, too, including an auto-duplexer, legal-size scanning bed, hefty paper capacity and wireless printing. Although the same concerns about HP's tech support still apply, the X576dw otherwise ranks as an owner favorite.

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HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus e-All-in-One Wireless Color Printer with Scanner, Copier & Fax
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $367.00 $199.99   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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HP Photosmart 7520 Wireless Color Photo Printer with Scanner, Copier and Fax
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $246.00   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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HP OJPro x576dw Wireless All-in-One Color Inkjet Printer
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $1,022.21 $363.18   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  

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