One of the major complaints about the iPad when it was first introduced was that one could not print from it. Apple heard us and with the release of IOS (iPhone Operating System) 4.2 the company included Apple Air Print a technology that allows, or is supposed to allow the iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch to print wirelessly from the device to an ever-increasing number of Hewlett Packard printers like the "HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus Inkjet Printer."
Hewlett Packard upped the ante with this All-n-One (AIO) unit by including wireless and giving the HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus Inkjet Printer an e-mail address (@hpeprint.com address) from which one can print from any computer, iPad--or other mobile device--via a technology called "HP e-Print." One can also print wirelessly to an Apple mobile device like an iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone etc. via Apple Air Print.
Make no mistake the "HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus" is a hefty printer checking in a 21 pounds. And while the unit does not require a two-man lift, it will require some finesse to get it out of the box and onto a flat surface. One unboxed it took me a little less than 15 minutes to completely assemble the printer including the duplexer unit. Thankfully the power supply is built-in, so no heavy power brick to find a place for.
Before connecting the HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus network via Ethernet (RJ-45), or Wireless the decision must be made to utilize one or the other communications medium, but not both. USB can be utilized with either configuration. Since I wanted my iPad to "speak" to the printer and print I installed the HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus utilizing wireless and USB and I can print either way as well as utilize the scanner to print-to-computer. Wireless set-up was effortless using DHCP; all I needed to know was the network WPA2 passcode.
Wireless Printing & e-Print
One of the selling points of the HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus e-AIO is of course the ability of the iPad to print to the device either wirelessly (Air Print) or via e-Print. I am happy to report that both work!
As I stated above Apple IOS version 4.2 shipped with Air Print, which allows the iPad to wirelessly "talk" to Air Print enabled printers like the HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus. Once the printer was set up on the wireless network I could see the printer on the iPad from Air Print enabled applications like Safari, select the printer and print. G that was it, no setup needed on the iPad.
HP's e-Print also works like a charm, most of the time. With e-Print the HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus is assigned a customizable e-mail address to which one can forward e-mail's to be printed from iPad, iMac, iPod, or PC as long as the printer is connected to the Internet. This feature works reasonably well; it is supposed to be able to print attachments, but this is a hit or miss proposition; i.e. sometimes it works, sometime not, sometimes it print half a page. However, overall, I am pleased with e-print.
My HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus is connected primarily to an Apple iMac 2.7GHz machine with 4GB RAM, 1TB hard drive running OS X Lion Version 10.7.2. Out of the box the software disc will not work with Lion 10.7.2, so I had to download a software update from Apple and another from HP, but both worked seamlessly and I was able to get up and running with full functionality (including scan-to-computer) in under 15 minutes. And I have to say for the record I like the iMac interface for the printer better than the Windows 7 interface.
Pretty straight forward; the software installation process installed a full set of print drivers which in turn give you complete control over the printing process, including two-sided printing. The HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus can also print from inserted USB flash drives and or MMC/SD Media cards.
The HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus offers up both a 50-sheet ADF and flatbed scanner for use. Initialing the scanning process can be accomplished from the included software, inserting a page(s) into the ADF, or the units control panel. Once an item is placed into the ADF or on the flatbed scanner glass surface, you can push the Scan button on the front panel, at which time you choose where to scan to: Computer, USB Flash Drive, or Memory Card. Once a destination is chosen, you can then chose to scan to file (.PDF is an option), e-mail, or photo.
This process, like printing is pretty straight forward; both color and black & white copies can be made, up to 99 at a time. Because there is a duplexer installed two-sided copies can be made in a number of different configurations, including 1-side original/ 1-side copy; 1-side original/ 2-side copy; 2-side original/ 1-side copy; 2-side original/ 2-side copy. Copies can also be enlarged up to 144%, or reduced down to 25% of original.
Working with Photos
As stated above, the HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus will accept input from a number of commercially available portable memory storage devices, slots for which are located on the left hand side of the printer underneath the cartridge insertion flip down panel. Simply insert the memory card and the photos it contains are displayed on the small 4.6" touch-screen color display on the right hand side of the unit.
Overall I like the HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus e-AIO, because it works seamlessly with my iMac and I can print to it from my iPad. The design is a little austere; there are no buttons to push because everything is controlled from the color (touch screen) display panel, which might prove problematic if it ever decides not to work. But, there is always the control set on the computer, so...
The built-in wired Ethernet capability, coupled with USB and wireless make the HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus e-AIO Inkjet Printer a versatile, flexible unit that is ideal for a small home office setting and well as workgroup setting. If you or your small workgroup need a scanner/ copier/ printer/ fax, and need to print from your iPad--or other mobile device--in some form or fashion the HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus should be given serious consideration.