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Crystal clear scanning
Duplex automatic document feeder
High-speed printing for an inkjet
Rich and accurate color printing
Slight inconsistency in printing text
The HP OfficeJet Pro 8720 has one of the best values for a fully-featured color printing all-in-one, providing an array of professional productivity features and rated for high-volume work.
HP’s OfficeJet Pro 8720 may be a bit of a monster sitting on your desk, but with good reason. Sturdy materials and some smart design choices make for one of the most fully-featured printers we’ve ever seen that remains reasonable for home use. It boasts duplex printing and scanning with its automatic document feeder, fast printing (particularly for color), and a full software ecosystem for PC and mobile. This all comes with one of the easiest and most automatic setup processes we’ve ever seen for an all-in-one.
We thoroughly tested the OfficeJet Pro 8720’s printing and scanning capabilities. We found it to be more than capable enough for all but the most elaborate and high-volume printing, scanning, copying, and faxing jobs.
Hewlett-Packard’s long-established expertise in consumer office products is on full display with the OfficeJet Pro 8720. This all-in-one has a friendly aesthetic, with soft, beveled edges. There are smooth, slight angles replacing 90-degree transitions, giving it the nuanced form-factor more reminiscent of a modern car than conventional office equipment. The matte, off-white body with a slate-grey accent is clean, elegant, and generally resistant to smudges from regular handling.
In terms of functional design, the OfficeJet Pro 8720 is similarly refined. The paper tray opens from the front and adjusts for alternate stock sizes very easily and intuitively. It supports printing on envelopes and paper up to legal size, though as shipped it only has a single feed, so you will need to swap out and adjust every time you switch between media types. The 4.3-inch color touchscreen is bright, very responsive, and easy to use. It compromises the entire user interface aside from the Home, Help, and Return buttons which are directly adjacent to it for easy navigation.
Setting up the OfficeJet Pro 8720 was a breeze--perhaps the most straight-forward set-up process we’ve seen for a printer.
Our favorite practical design choice is that printed documents are expelled back towards the printer instead of the standard extendable trays that often quickly spill documents to the ground. Not to mention that they tend to get jammed when being extended and collapsed. It’s a small change that you’ll find on more expensive printers, but it’s absolutely refreshing to see on a home printer.
One unfortunate trade-off of these design choices is that the Pro 8270 is quite large. The desktop footprint is a commanding 19.7 by 17.7 by 13.4 inches (HWD), ballooning out slightly more above the base. While this is an otherwise excellent all-in-one for home use, it does demand a fair amount of desk real estate, which could be an issue for home offices where space is a premium. An optional, second paper tray (not included) can be installed, though it essentially serves as a base onto which the whole printer is installed, increasing the overall height by another 3.5 inches or so.
Setting up the OfficeJet Pro 8720 was a breeze—perhaps the most straight-forward set-up process we’ve seen for a printer. From opening the box to printing a test page (of our choosing) took roughly twenty-five minutes. For this, we relied on the included quick set-up guide, which fits onto one double-sided, language-agnostic sheet. Once plugged in and physically set up, on-screen prompts from the printer’s touchscreen easily facilitated the rest of the process. You’ll be provided the link to HP’s website for an easy, single download that sets up all the drivers and software necessary on your PC’s end. The printer also comes with a CD containing the necessary software as well, if internet connectivity is an issue.
One particularly nice touch that we appreciated was that the automatic setup process printed two pages: a color calibration sheet, as well as a confirmation page once the Wi-Fi was connected. The latter served as a nice test document before we even got to our own, more rigorous testing process.
The HP OfficeJet Pro 8720 is an inkjet, but with a theoretical maximum printing efficiency that rivals that of many more expensive laser printers. It is rated for up to 24 pages per minute on black and white. For color, this slows down slightly to 20 pages per minute. We were not able to quite match those speeds in our testing, often falling closer in the range of 11-14 pages per minute. We were still impressed by how little it slowed down when switching to double-sided documents, only losing a page or two per minute in overall efficiency. There was also very little lag between hitting print on our Wi-Fi-connected PC and when the printer started to actually work. This adds up to a lot of time saved over many smaller printing jobs.
One of the most frequent complaints about the OfficeJet Pro 8720 that we discovered in our research is that the text quality is a little sub-par, particularly on small italic typefaces. We did not find this to be the case nearly as much in our own testing, with no notable pixelation or distortion in text as small as four points. It seems possible that software or hardware improvements have mitigated these issues from previous iterations of the printer. Although we did regularly notice tiny, stray ink spots showing up in large text documents, they did not affect overall legibility at all.
For color printing, the OfficeJet Pro 8720 was fast, producing rich and consistent colors that matched the screen image very well.
For color printing, the OfficeJet Pro 8720 was fast, producing rich and consistent colors that matched the screen image very well. While very strong for more discrete graphics, we did find consistent light banding every 1.25 inches on solid color images and particularly photographs (when printed at default quality). The effect is subtle enough that it’s easy for your eyes to tune out, particularly on busier images. We found that it disappeared entirely when we opted to print at maximum quality, but this slowed printing speed down to an absolute crawl and used more ink. For graphics and casual images, the OfficeJet Pro 8720 is more than adequate, though it understandably can’t match the consistency of a dedicated photo printer.
Scanning was fast and high-quality with both the top-mounted automatic document feeder (ADF) and the flatbed scanner. The ADF (which holds up to 50 pages at a time), can automatically scan double-sided documents, though not with a single pass like some higher-end all-in-ones. We found that it scanned pages at a rate of 10 sides per minute, which is plenty fast for most home applications.
The quality was consistently high, with no noticeable artifacts gained in the process. The flatbed scanner was especially crisp for photos and books, outputting up to 1200dpi. One feature that we particularly liked was the ability to quickly preview flatbed scans directly on the built-in touchscreen, allowing for easy last-second adjustments to get your source lined up correctly.
Although fax is rapidly becoming obsolete outside of certain niche business applications, the OfficeJet Pro 8720 still supports it with the same high quality as its printing and scanning. It boasts a buffer of up to 100 pages stored in memory in case you run out of paper while receiving faxes.
It requires a standard phone line, with a jack located on the back, transmitting at a rate of four seconds per page, supporting color as well. The menu provides an array of deeper customization options such as call forwarding, spam filtering, or HP Digital Fax, which allows you to automatically forward faxes to a computer on the printer’s network.
The OfficeJet Pro 8720 supports every standard connectivity option, including wireless, Ethernet, USB and NFC. It is worth noting that it does not ship with a USB cable for directly connecting to a PC via the included port. However, it supports printing directly from a USB stick, but only for photos and not for PDFs or documents.
As mentioned above in the setup process, it was easy to download the HP Smart software to our PC, which immediately identified and connected with the printer through our wireless network. This software was clean and intuitive, allowing us to quickly configure and adjust any and all settings, monitor ink levels, and troubleshoot any printing issues that might arise.
Our favorite practical design choice is that printed documents are expelled back towards the printer instead of the standard extendable trays that often quickly spill documents to the ground.
We also used the HP Smart mobile app, which offers the exact same convenience and functionality from a smartphone. It additionally supports other standard document and printing management platforms, such as Apple AirPrint and Mopria. The printer’s UI through the large, bright touchscreen is also exceptionally clear and easy to use.
The OfficeJet Pro 8720 retails new for $299.99 (MSRP), though being several years old it is frequently available at a lower price. For the features, print, and build quality, this is quite reasonable. Buying HP’s own high-yield ink cartridge replacements yields roughly 1.8 cents per page for black and white and 8.4 cents per page for color.
HP’s Instant Ink subscription service, which automatically orders replacements when you need them for a fixed monthly cost, can bring that cost down slightly for color cartridges. It does not help at all with savings in black and white printing, making it only practical for users that anticipate printing a lot of photos and colorful graphics on the regular. It is also Energy Star certified, ensuring relatively low power usage to keep ongoing operating costs down as well.
Brother’s MFC-J995DW is popular color inkjet all-in-one, retailing for $200 from the manufacturer. It ships with a one-year ink supply, and Brother’s super high-yield ink replacements help keep operating costs generally low. Although it supports duplex printing, its ADF doesn’t allow for duplex scanning or copying like the OfficeJet Pro 8720 does. The MFC-J995DW also prints at nearly half the speed as the OfficeJet Pro 8720. For more casual users, Brother’s alternative is potentially a bit more cost-effective, but in exchange for a major drop in efficiency.
Canon’s Pixma MX920 offers a very comparable feature set to the OfficeJet Pro 8720, including duplex scanning and copying through the ADF, at a reasonable MSRP of $180. However, customer reviews on Canon’s website rate it poorly, with the preponderance of low reviews citing poor ink efficiency and a tendency to break down over extended use. Canon classifies it as a consumer product, so it’s not rated to handle a small business volume of work like the OfficeJet Pro 8720. This makes it a potentially less-expensive alternative for people that only plan on light home office use.
A fantastic mid-range printer for offices and home users.
HP’s OfficeJet Pro 8720 remains the best middle ground between a consumer-grade inkjet printer and a small-business-ready all-in-one. It offers many of the same productivity features and efficiencies as a laser printer, but at a much more accessible price. Simply put, this is one of the best values you can find for a home office or small business printer that’s rated to do serious, high-volume work.
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