It is hard to believe that 17 years have passed since HP first introduced the Officejet All-in-One Printer . Through those years much has changed, but the apparent formula of HP’s success in providing feature-rich, reliable products at affordable prices is still apparent throughout its long-standing line of multifunction peripherals. The Officejet 4500 proves to be no exception.
The Officejet 4500 provides full-featured performance — basic print, scanning and fax functions, built-in Wi-Fi, a 20-page automatic document feeder and a generous 100-page fax memory — at an entry-level cost. Plus, the unit comes with a one-year limited warranty. While the 4500 is probably not the best printer for day-to-day use in large offices, it should be more than capable of satisfying the needs of small workgroups and individual clients who work from home.
The printer’s wireless capability further adds to its versatility, affording users the ability to print from multiple workstations without the need to go through a separate print server or swap out USB cables. Also, teleworkers who have both a home computer and a work notebook no longer have to worry about making room for two printing devices. Additionally, the printer is a good fit for small workgroups or in conference room situations where granting visitors and consultants access to a networked printer isn't otherwise practical.
Both the software and built-in control panel are predictable and straightforward. Users already familiar with Officejet products and menu structures will find few surprises here and should be able to hit the ground running. Those new to the platform will learn how to use the product quickly as well, because everything from scanning to faxing is simple and intuitive.
Because the Officejet product line is a mainstay in businesses around the world, consumables are relatively easy to find for this product. This means users won’t have to worry about driving all over town looking for oddball cartridges at the worst possible time. Also, black ink can be purchased in high-capacity cartridges at a greater cost savings.
This multifunction device comes packaged with everything a user needs, including an easy-to-understand “Start Here” guide, an in-depth manual on how to configure the product, two print cartridges, a 10-foot phone line, a phone line splitter and an actual honest-to-goodness USB cable. (This is probably going to create confusion in many IT departments, because everyone is so accustomed to ordering USB cables separately.) Installing the software is straightforward as well, requiring a few prompts that most users should understand.
While the 4500 offers basic functionality, its speed lags behind several competing products. According to HP, the actual print speed is up to 28 pages per minute when printing in black and white and 22 pages per minute in color. With similar devices printing about 35 pages per minute for both black and white and color, this is a bit disappointing.
Also, as I’ve pointed out on other HP product reviews, the driver software that comes with the device is quite substantial. For this model, the recommended installation demands more than 300 megabytes on the hard drive and invokes two running processes, whether the unit is in use or not.
It is hard to reconcile allowing any peripheral to demand that much overhead for day-to-day functionality. However, in an unusual departure from many other products, HP does offer a Minimum Install option on the provided CD, weighing in at just under 70MB, which should satisfy most practical needs if end users already have software in place to import their scanned images.