The truth is that a lot of new AirPrint enabled HP printers are not particularly reliable, and the OfficeJet 6500a isn’t particularly different from this tend. As with all new things there’s always an initial wave of products which are inferior and it’s the later designs which iron out the mistakes. In this case when you’re talking about a mix of HP, Apple, ePrint and AirPrint then there were bound to be some issues. Find out more below.
The OfficeJet 6500a AirPrint printer just isn’t that good. It’s got some decent specifications, and it’s enabled with AirPrint and ePrint but when it gets down to the grit, what you’re buying a printer for is to be able to print, and AirPrint and ePrint just aren’t necessary – certainly not at the expense of the printer’s core functions and capabilities itself.
Taking a look at its specifications it’s a reasonable size for what it is, it’s not too big which is a definite plus. It’s 21 x 13 x 22 inches which is quite big but there are certainly bigger out there. It weights 26.8 pounds and it’s definitely not anything you’ll want to be casually carrying around.
It prints black and white to resolutions up to 600 dots per inch, and it’s a photo printer as well allowing 4800 x 1200 dpi for glossy color photos. Neither of these specifications are incredible, they’re decent and will cater to practically everyone’s needs but they’re nothing to shout about. It prints reasonably quickly, 31ppm for color and 32 ppm for black and white – the color printing speed is actually very impressive because they tend to be much lower than that. Generally the black and white printing speed tends to be around double if not triple that of color so the fact that they’re so close together is a pleasant surprise.
It’s a versatile printer and prints (to name a few) letter, legal, statement sizes for regular printing and for photos it prints 3 x 5 in, 4 x 6 in, 5 x 7 in, 5 x 8 in, 4 x 10 in, 4 x 11 in, 4 x 12 in, 8 x 10 which means it’s incredibly versatile when it comes to printing a wide variety of different detailed graphical photos.
Finally it comes with a scanner which is very detailed, allowing up to 4800 dpi which is incredibly impressive and is the same as photo quality. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the scanner.
Well there are actually quite a lot of really bad things about this HP AirPrint design. To start with it’s not reliable whatsoever with regards to many key functions and capabilities. Let’s start from the infamous software perspective. The drivers for this printer are not complete so when you’re trying to install the software be warned that depending on what operating system your mac uses there could be plenty of problems you encounter. Sometimes you may not be able to print from your device full stop, other times you’ll have to spend hours searching for what should have come packaged already – it’s hassle and it could be the end of your HP printer experience before you’ve even got started.
Assuming you do get everything running, then don’t expect things to run completely smoothly. Its wireless connectivity is plagued with issues which make it unusable to some people. Some people are lucky and they won’t have any issues, many people are not. Sometimes if you want to print out something from your Ipad or other Apple device the wireless connection is so sporadic that perhaps half a page will print of and then the rest will print 30 minutes later. Sometimes you may not be able to find your device. Maybe you have to restart the printer every time you want to print something new. These are all problems I’ve read about and I only write down issues I’ve seen if I’ve seen them mentioned by at least 2-3 people. Think of all the people who will experience it and not bother writing about it.
The hardware itself has been repeatedly described as poor, it’s meant to print very slowly from what I’ve read (despite the reasonable ppm figures), and its connection issues seem minor compared to when paper gets stuck a long with numerous people complaining that it doesn’t work with the Ipad.
Some people cannot even use it when connecting the USB 2.0 cable, other people find that the printer’s ink cartridges ‘run out’ after just 1/4 of the amount claimed by HP.
On paper this printer has decent specifications which are boosted by a recommendation from Apple as well as (what used to be a great company) HP. It’s decent specifications are not worthy of the price but considering the ePrint and AirPrint features it’s worth it, and understandably so, to many people.
Unfortunately this is poorly designed on every level, and ultimately you’re taking a risk because you may not suffer any faults whatsoever. On the other hand you could easily find yourself unable to print wirelessly (or even with wires). You could find yourself with paper jams, two sheets of paper being fed through, non-operational for certain firmwares or operating systems. It seems like it was released far before any of the kinks had been worked out and this really shows by the massive swathes of people complaining about a variety of issues that seem to have been avoidable. Disappointing that Apple recommends some of these HP AirPrint Printers considering they range from mediocre to outright bad.
I would save yourself time, effort and disappointment and go for another AirPrint printer. I personally would question whether I needed one at all. Just remember that if you were unlucky and you’re one of the ones who encounters numerous problems you’ll have to jump through the HP customer support hoops and this is a long, tiring and stressful process for all involved.