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HP claims its new A4 OfficeJet Pro 8720 has up to 50% less print cost than a comparable workgroup laser providing speeds of up to 20/24ppm in colour and black. It is right!

It represents a new thinking at HP and a new bold design with what is best described as a “baby bump” on the front housing the paper tray, a 4.3” touchscreen and the rear-facing paper output tray, reflecting the need for a small width footprint in crowded offices.

HP 8720 bump

It is a full, multi-function business device and can print, scan, fax, and copy with a duty cycle of up to 30,000 pages a month. That means a recommended 2000 pages so it is good for home, small office, and smaller workgroups of up to five users. The main limiting feature in supporting more users is the 250-sheet paper tray, but you can get a second 250-sheet tray (recommended).

At a recommended price of $299 and a street price of around $230, it’s a no-brainer, offering HP quality and reliability and good running costs. A great all-around SOHO/Workgroup printer that produces good inkjet prints and reasonable cost. It will last many years.

Out of the box

The OfficeJet Pro 8720 is quite a heavy printer at 15kg and a package weight of 18.51kg. Desk size is 49.95 x 53.01 x 33.91cm, allowing a few cm at the back for the access panel.

It comes with set-up cartridges — my favourite gripe — HP955 black (800 pages) and separate HP955 cyan, magenta and yellow (combined for a typical yield of 490 pages). These will run out in a ream or so – buy the XL cartridges at the same time.

It comes with a USB-A to USB-B printer cable, Ethernet cable, phone cable and a power cable.

It supports Wi-Fi, Wi-Di and wired Ethernet.

HP 9720 all

Print/Paper

From A4 (210x297mm) to business card (typically 55 x 90mm) and handles paper (60-105gsm), card (163-200gsm) and photo (220-280gsm). It will produce up to A4 borderless prints.

Print speed depends on colour, the complexity of graphics and mode. Print quality depends on stock — 80gsm bond is like printing on a sponge which is fine for office use — and with all inkjets, you will only get presentation quality on slightly heavier coated or photo stock.

In normal office use (black text and a low-res photo) it produced the first page in under 10 seconds and consistently printed at speeds from 20-24 pages per minute. There was no banding typical of many inkjets.

You have the option to select draft (37ppm and surprisingly good) or high-quality (medium-to-high-res up to 10 ppm). I also tested on 120g HP premium presentation paper, and HP 180 Brochure paper and the results were excellent.

In photo mode on 4 x 6” prints allow a minute each. The prints were vibrant, could be edgeless, and certainly matched quick print kiosks. It will also do envelopes.

All prints were reasonably water- and smear-resistant.

Both the printer and scanner support duplexing, so one can print, scan, copy or fax double-sided documents.

Ink costs

There are no third-party cartridges or inks and the cartridges are chipped.

A set of HP 955 standard cartridges (1000 black and 700 pages’ colour combined yield) is $134.60 (all consumable prices are from Inkstation.com.au) and a set of 955XL (2000 pages black and 1600 pages colour combined yield) costs $187.35. For office use, one can buy in bulk and save.

Based on XL cartridges that means 2.35 cents per page in black around 10 cents in colour, although I suspect the latter may be significantly less in practice.

The 955XL cartridges and a super high yield 959XL Black (3000 pages) make the printer a good buy for small office use.

Scanning/copying/fax – duplex is standard

A single colour scan and print took 13 seconds and a 10-page copy took 60 seconds in black and 90 seconds in colour at 600DPI (keeps file sizes manageable). You can scan up to 1200DPI and the flatbed takes up to 216 x 315mm.

The ADF holds 50 sheets. It can scan to email, fax, network folders, memory etc. It will create editable PDFs.

A one-page test fax took about nine seconds per page (it scans first then dials) – about 4 seconds overall per multiple page.

USB/NFC

It can only print photos, not PDFs or other document files from a FAT-32 formatted USB. On the more expensive 8730/8740, it will print these files.

It will, however, pair to a mobile/tablet with NFC and prints documents, photos and PDFs.

e-PRINT

The OfficeJet Pro 8720 supports printing from HP ePrint, Dropbox, Google Drive and Cloud Print, Microsoft DotNet, Apple AirPrint, and other clouds.

Usability

A 4.3” LCD touch screen has HP’s familiar interface that allows you to do everything from the panel.

The HP software (Windows and macOS) allows 100% control as well and shows ink levels, allows for changes to IP address and has HP Print and Scan Doctor if you encounter any issues.

It has administrator mode and Web JetAdmin software, that is presumably for a managed print environment and a 168-page manual for those inclined. It will also queue network print jobs and has an inbuilt Web server.

It also has a range of enterprise software incluing Digital Filing and Digital Fax.

Conclusion

There is a lot to like, especially as HP has included most of the enterprise print features in a lower cost device – love the duplex scan and borderless A4 at this price. Although I would probably go to the 8730 or 8740 for single-pass two-sided copying and PCL5/PCL6/PS support.

It looks and feels solid, capable of standing up to workgroup use.

And ink costs are lower than a comparable laser.

What's not to like?

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

 

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