back to article Ten... ADF-based inkjet all-in-one printers

Inkjet all-in-one printers have two different focuses: photos and documents. Those aimed at document handling often forsake things like card readers and twin paper trays, in favour of fax and Automatic Document Feeders (ADFs). With an ADF you can scan or copy multi-page documents unattended, giving you extra time to drink hot …


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  1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    So... can these devices print the entire surface of a sheet of paper (i.e. without non-printing margins)? The (photoshopped) imagery for most of them appears to imply that they can.

  2. Richard 72

    Would have liked a "does it scan without ink cartridges" option

    As I had a HP which was PURELY purchased just for ADF and sure enough, one cartridge went "dry", the printer failed to do anything demanding I purchase another cartridge (rinse and repeat).

    1. Cliff

      Re: Would have liked a "does it scan without ink cartridges" option

      Have to say, I don't trust HP any more. Even when unused, some (all?) consumer cartridges have a time out function, so a cartridge can be full, but expired.

      I also used a cheapo HP printer/scanner device which was obsessive about printing a test page and forcing me to scan it after every single (frequent) cartridge change, or even occasionally after a power cycle. It was extremely inconvenient being forced to scan in the middle of a print job, and apparently impossible to turn off.

      Both of these abuses of technology were somehow for my benefit, according to HP, although as a by product they sold more overpriced ink... As such I will never buy an HP printer ever again.

      1. Tapeador

        Re: Would have liked a "does it scan without ink cartridges" option

        I have a 4500 series, and I have to say I never run out of ink because it's been the easiest to refill of any of the printers I've owned. I acknowledge what you write about *some* HP models - my mother's 7200 series will only photocopy using all the colours! HP told me "it's so the black is more black" (tosh). But the 4500 does copy (slowly) using just the black, thank god.

        The starter cartridge doesn't refill properly but £16 for an extra capacity new black does. I would, however, advise when buying a refill kit to buy one with a 'primer' made specifically for the 901 cartridges (a £2 part which merely holds a rubber seal onto the bottom of the cartridge) enabling gentle vacuum extraction using a syringe, of a drop of ink from the cartridge, to get it started - such kits can be found on ebay. You'll also need a syringe with a needle to inject the ink into the sponge (lift the top left corner of the label off to reveal the hole). And some rubber gloves. Do it over your kitchen sink - and in crap clothes, as some day you will get sprayed.

        That and sellotape the top to hold the label back down; and when it runs out initially, and later on again, *immediately* place in 3mm of warm water, and refill *straightaway, particularly on the first refill, as HP formulated their ink to turn to jelly if it ever is left to dry. Also note that specifying your refill ink as 'pigment' rather than 'dye' for this model, makes your text print the proper dark black colour.

        It will tend not to recognise the cartridge at first - just remove from the machine, wipe the electronic contacts on the cartridge, switch off the machine for 30 seconds (removing cable at back?) and repeat until it does recognise - usually in 2 or 3 goes for myself. I've refilled the same cartridge 10 or 12 times now and probably saved £200.

        So much for black and white - for colour I haven't a clue, sorry.

    2. kain preacher

      Re: Would have liked a "does it scan without ink cartridges" option

      That must be a new thing. I an older HP all in one. I was thinking about upgrading but not now.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't the case for ink jets

    I just don't the case for ink jets. If you print lots of stuff, you'll go broke on ink. If you don't print lots of stuff, you go broke on ink because the cartridges dried up. If you occasionally need to print a photo, go to [Kinkos|Walgreens|WalMart|OfficeMax|Office Depot...]. If you print lots of photos, get a dye-sub rather than an inkjet. If you rarely need color, get a black and white laser printer and have one of the stores mentioned above print the color stuff. If you frequently need color, but not photographic quality, get a color laser.

    And really, unless you are space constrained, having a separate scanner and printer gives you more flexibility and will likely be cheaper than buying an all-in-one.

    1. karakalWitchOfTheWest

      Re: I don't the case for ink jets

      Nope. That's not true. I have the Officejet 8500Plus and I had the officejet 7600 Pro before. The costs are way lower than colour lasers and then a color mfp laser is very hard to find and very expensive.

      With high performance cartridges the cost per page is lower than the most economical laser printer and they don't use that much energy.

      I was against inkjets but was converted by my two officejets. (and the 7600 is at my parents house right now, working very well 6 years after buying....)

      Ah: And it is more expensive to buy a good scanner with ADF and a printer with the same functionality.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't the case for ink jets

      I used to think that way too. The last laser that I owned was an multi-functional Samsung 3175 colour, scan, fax and a combination of high printing costs and poor quality made me re-think what to buy. I simply was not getting anywhere near the claimed pages per toner cartridge, so far from it that I realised it was nothing to do with my printing density which was low, but basically false statements from the marketing dept of Samsung, and others.

      My printing volumes are fairly low but for long runs of B&W i still have a trusty low tech HP1018 laser connected to another PC and not readily connectable on my home office network, but even that gets nowhere close on the claimed number of pages per toner cartridge.

      My needs were still for an MFC. I was desperate to print for a job and had no time to research fully, and ended up getting the Epson BX305FW mentioned here. That was about 6 months ago and it has turned out to be the best all round printer that I have owned. I don't agree with the colour printing costs here, I reckon I pay half that around 4-5p. At normal reading distance the black printing is indistinguishable from laser so not sure what the reviewers references are to jagged black, certainly nothing that I recognise. The only thing I wish it had was a dustcover on the paper feed, but most don't have that anyway. Having owned an Epson inkjet a few years ago I was worried about ink cartridges drying up, but they seem to have solved that problem since at one point I did not use it for 4 weeks and it was working perfectly when I next printed.

      Back to you point, I have no need to change drums, get covered in toner, empty overflow toner bins and other such nonsense that I had on my 3175, and my printing costs are low. Happy bunny.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does Such a Printer Exist

    I've been looking for a new ADF based inkjet for my home so this article seemed excellently timed. Except that... I don't think the product I want exists.

    I need

    * borderless printing on photo paper and standard printing on plain paper, from 2 different input trays

    * the ability to ADF scan a document and have it converted to PDF, attached to an email and sent to an SMTP server without a computer being involved at all (i.e. standalone scan-to-email).

    If anyone knows of such a product I would be delighted to hear about it!

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Does Such a Printer Exist

      The home Epson ones do the first. They only have one tray, but it has two sections, one for regular paper and one for photo.

      The second I have only ever seen on high end office printstations. They don't really do this "without a computer being involved at all" as they cheat by, er, having a computer inside them.......

    2. karakalWitchOfTheWest

      Re: Does Such a Printer Exist

      I think the officejet pro 8500plus with the optional paper tray fits your bill. I just need to check, if I can scan to PDF without a computer, but I am quite sure.

    3. Guz

      Re: Does Such a Printer Exist

      You would be looking at the following:

      HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus e-All-in-One

      But it only has a single tray, but you can purchase the extra tray later (pricey)


      HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 Premium e-All-in-One

      This one comes with the second tray by default.

      I have the 8600Plus, and I LOVE it!

      It has wired, USB AND wireless 802.11a/b/g/n so you aren't tied to it, and yes you can scan directly to computer, or a server share via wireless Also scan to PDF, email. You can also print to it remotely, by setting up an email address with HP. If you're out and about, you email your document to the HP address (you can restrict who can print this way), and it will printed to your printer.

      You can configure the printer via a web browser if it's on the network (just point to it's IP address). You can also update the firmware via it's web interface, or have it automatically check and update.

      The touch screen on the printer is nice. But I rarely use it except for scanning when I put in the source docs, and say Scan to my laptop.

      You can print borderless on photo-paper, and up to 8.5"x11" paper.

      It has several memory card slots for direct printing from them (I haven't used this yet).

      Supposedly, these use a newer type of ink, that doesn't dry up or clog as easily as their other inks. The downside is no one refills the cartridges, yet. I haven't had the printer long enough to verify this claim.

      Also, the full version of the print drivers/software is NOT bloated and naggy. It's just the drivers, and OCR. I believe this is because this is considered and Office product. To many times I have dealt with their Home printers that install mega bloatware (photo/document editing, sharing, etc). This one is simple and sweet.

      The ONE thing I find it lacking, is a single sheet feed tray. I don't like having to remove the tray and swap out the paper for a single photo or envelop.

      Also I found that it doesn't like just a single sheet of photo-paper or just one envelop in the tray. It has a hard time picking it up. So I have to put in a stack of what-ever. Once I figured this out, it's been acceptable.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Does Such a Printer Exist

        Wow thanks. Now I just have to wrestle with my internal "never ever buy an HP product again" demons. Encouraging to hear that the drivers are half-decent - that's always been my biggest objection to HP...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HP 4500

    I have the 4500 wireless and I find the paper handling in both the feeder and the printer atrocious. It simply fails to pick up regular 80gsm paper from the tray on average every 20 pages, and both mechanisms are very capable of jamming themselves solid. Removing the ruined paper from either is a real chore as access is very tight.

    In fact, the ADF can be made to reliably jam by simply feeding the same bit of paper though it a few times. The path is to tight, it puts a bit of a curl into the sheet which causes it to get caught up on subsequent passes.

    The firmware is also flaky. More than a few days in standby means that the HP tools won't connect to it without pulling and reconnecting the power cord.

  6. Audrey S. Thackeray

    Disappointing review

    I can't imagine using this review in any purchasing decision, there's just not enough info - it would be good as a minimum to include the dimensions of the device and some samples of the printing / scanning. Also would want to know if the print cost figures have been calculated from actual use or (as I suspect) quoted from manufacturer's specs.

    I quite like this quick round-up style for reviews of toys and gadgets but it needs more depth for things like this.

    1. Arctic fox

      @Audrey S. Thackeray. Re: Disappointing review

      I think that with a 10 product round-up it is fairly clear that unless the author were to write a humungous review (after spending a couple of months trialling all of them) it was always going to be 3 - 4 paragraphs or so per product. Surely the use of such "portmanteau" reviews is to enable the reader to pick out one or two products for consideration followed by a bit of googling to see if there are any more extensive reviews of the individual product available out there?

  7. Andrew Norton


    For something like this, remember, it's spread over 5 pages.

    Would it be so much to have a little data table at the end, where we can see the facts again, but in a format that allows comparison?

    Also, the cost average, is that average for this batch of 10, for all printers, or just printers of this rough class-range?

  8. matt_p

    Scan to email

    Do any of these low end machines scan to email?

    I notice some will scan to a memory stick, but I'd really like scan to email for the wife.

  9. david 12 Silver badge

    small factory

    Canon told us catagorically that they do not support printer sharing. (where you connect a printer to a computer and share it) If you need to share a printer you must buy a networked printer.

    Our replacement HP printer won't print A4 if it has A3 in it, but doesn't refuse: it tries, ejects a sheet of paper, then stops with a meaningless error.

    1. Tim Brown 1

      Re: small factory

      There's no issue for me sharing my Canon MX420 between two computers. It also has wireless capability (which I don't use) if you want to share it across a network that way. All that is required is that you make sure you have the drivers installed on whichever machine wants to use it.

      That said, I'm slightly disappointed in the MX420 since it doesn't really have what I'd call a 100-sheet paper tray, as mentioned in the review, at all. What it has is a sheet feeder that could possibly take up to 100 sheets (I haven't tested the capacity). The important difference for me between a sheet feeder and a paper tray is that I expect a paper tray to be enclosed, thus protecting the paper from dust. As I only use my printer on an occasional basis (sometimes days or even weeks between prints), paper left in the sheet feeder would inevitably accumulate dust. Thus I can't leave the printer stocked with paper but must put some in each time I want to print.

    2. Rex di Bona

      Re: small factory

      Oh my, I've probably voided the warranty then. My Canon is shared amongst five machines. Quick! Hide. It works fine for me, both Windows and CUPS clients.

      Although I wish to also say if you are doing few prints then a B&W laser is the way to go, with the occasional colour at a high street store. The canon is almost purely for CD/DVD printing, although the feed mechanism seems to be wearing out now (2 years), and seems to need help for every disc to align the tray correctly into the feed mechanism.

    3. streaky

      Re: small factory

      Not that you can't do it, they don't *support it* as in phoning them up and asking how to do it.

      Not the same.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Some Beggar

    Reg != Which

    Given that you can't really compete with sites/magazines like "Which" in terms of depth and breadth of reviews, would it not be better to take the Top Gear approach of "Here is some cool stuff we've been sent to play with this week" or "Here is a range of reviews by actual owners"?

    A lot of these Top Tens occupy an awkward and arguably pointless middle ground.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Reg != Which

      Actually, Which? is a bit pointless anyway: they usually only test one of each model as if there was no such thing as production line variation. It's always bugged me that the sample-size-of-one approach can be held up as the acme of consumer testing - I'd rather read 50 online reviews and make up my own mind.

  12. Curtis Crowson

    Since these are all in ones...

    How is the scanner? Did I miss details on the resolutions of the scanners?

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