HP's Officejet 6500A Plus is a more feature-rich version of the vanilla Officejet 6500A. It adds Wi-Fi support and a duplexer that allows you to automatically print on two sides of a page. Best of all, it will only cost you an extra tenner, as you can buy this printer online from HP for £100.
The 6500A Plus looks identical to its lesser-featured sibling, so like that model it's housed in a big and bulky chassis. At 409mm high it's certainly tall, and its footprint is also large at 476x258mm, so it'll take up a fair amount of space in the average sized home office. Nevertheless, the glossy black finish makes it look more stylish than your average business printer.
On the sloping panel at the front you'll find the 6cm touchscreen, as well as a numerical touchpad for dialling fax numbers. The touchscreen really helps make the printer easy to use, especially when you're setting it up to work with Wi-Fi or want to quickly change the number of photocopies.
Sitting on top of the scanner lid there's an automatic document feeder that lets you quickly copy or fax multi-page documents, while the bottom of the printer is home to a 250-sheet feeder. Next to this you'll find the memory card reader that caters for Memory Stick Duo, MMC, SD and XD cards, but sadly the printer lacks a PictBridge USB port.
Getting the 6500A Plus up and running is very straightforward, largely thanks to the touchscreen, which guides you through the process on a step by step basis with clear instructions and handy animations. You can choose to connect the printer directly to your PC via USB, or instead hook it into your network using either a wired Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi.
It's best to use one of the networking options, as you can then take advantage of the printer's Web features. This includes support for HP's ePrint service that sets the printer up with its own unique email address, so you can email documents and photos to it from any Internet-connected device anywhere in the world. You can also use this email address to sign up the printer with Google's newservice.
Along with this, the 6500A Plus also supports HP's Web Apps, which gives you quick access to online content such as Yahoo and Reuters news services or Disney and DreamWorks printouts, so you can print a round-up of the day's news or colouring materials for the kids.
Scanning and copying
The automatic document feeder that sits on top of the printer can handle up to 35 sheets at a time and allows you to copy or fax multi-page documents without the hassle of manually placing each sheet on the scanner's glass surface.