HP OfficeJet Pro 8135e review: home office printing on a budget

HP's OfficeJet Pro 8135e has a mix of rounded and sharp corners, dark and light shades.

HP OfficeJet Pro 8135e

MSRP $225.00

“The HP OfficeJet Pro 8135e is a home office printer that tries to do everything — and mostly succeeds.”

Pros

  • Fast monochrome prints
  • Good quality color prints
  • Includes fax and thumb drive support
  • Good borderless photo prints
  • Good support for iPhone and Android

Cons

  • Ink costs will add up
  • Color prints are half-speed
  • Automatic document feeder lacks duplex

HP’s OfficeJet Pro 8135e is an all-in-one printer with print, scan, copy, and fax capabilities. It also has a USB-A port for walk-up printing. Those capabilities put it firmly in the business category, but the price makes it attractive for home use.

That means the OfficeJet Pro 8135e tries to fill the difficult position of a home office printer that needs to do a little bit of everything well. We ran it through several tests to find out how it handles that challenge and whether it’s worth the short-term and long-term costs.

Design

The HP OfficeJet Pro 8135e has a single paper that holds 225 sheets.
The HP OfficeJet Pro 8135e has a single paper tray that holds 225 sheets. Photo by Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

HP’s OfficeJet Pro line features contrasting design elements. There’s a mix of rounded and sharp angles, and a colorway that’s both dark and light. The OfficeJet Pro 8135e, however, is a distinctive and attractive printer with a big footprint and a low profile.

A 2.7-inch color touchscreen placed a little left of center provides easy access when making copies with the 35-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) or when using the USB-A port on the left side. The single paper tray holds 225 sheets.

You’ll need to make sure you have enough desk space because the width is a little over 18 inches and the depth extends to 20 inches with the output tray extended. Don’t expect it to look big, however. The height is just 9.2 inches and the tray retracts, making the depth 13.3 inches when it’s not in use.

HP’s OfficeJet Pro 8135e is a sturdy printer, but it weighs just 17.6 pounds, making it easy to move around.

Print performance

The OfficeJet Pro 8135e prints color documents at half the speed of monochrome.
The OfficeJet Pro 8135e prints color documents at half the speed of monochrome. Alan Truly / Digital Trends

The OfficeJet Pro 8135e is built for speed and durability. It can output up to 20 pages per minute (ppm) in monochrome, but that’s cut by half for color documents. If you need faster color printing, the HP OfficeJet Pro 9125e is a nice upgrade for only a little bit more money. If you’ve got a sizable budget, HP’s Color LaserJet Pro 4301fdw outpaces both OfficeJet Pro models with speds up to 35 ppm, even when printing in color.

Quick printing doesn’t matter unless your prints retain quality. The OfficeJet Pro 8135e handles black-and-white printing with ease and most color prints look great. I did notice banding on some color documents when printing in normal mode, even after a printhead alignment. If you’re printing an important report, choose best quality to remove the likelihood of lines or bands in color documents.

Despite running a head alignment, banding is visible on plain paper when printing in normal mode.
Despite running a head alignment, banding is visible on plain paper when printing in normal mode. Photo by Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

Borderless printing is supported for photo paper and pictures have good quality. If you can afford to spend a bit more, the midrange Canon Maxify GX2020 offers better color prints. For photographic quality, a six-ink printer like Epson’s EcoTank ET-8500 provides the best quality at a significantly higher price.

HP’s OfficeJet Pro 8135e can’t print borderless on plain paper, but I tried a workaround and selected photo paper. The result was a good, full-size borderless print on standard paper.

Special features

The OfficeJet Pro 8135e doesn't have automatic duplex, but you can flip pages manually.
The OfficeJet Pro 8135e doesn’t have automatic duplex, but you can flip pages manually. Alan Truly / Digital Trends

The OfficeJet Pro 8135e can handle anything I need for my home office. I can print labels, documents, and photos. I can make color copies, scan to a thumb drive, and even send and receive faxes.

However, it’s not as functional as a business printer. The single paper tray means you have to visit the printer to switch paper size or type. There’s no media tray, so all paper must come out before adding a different type.

The ADF is a bit slow and can’t handle double-sided documents. You can use the flatbed scanner and manually flip pages if that’s an infrequent need. For a busy office, that will be too slow. The best all-in-one printers support full duplex copying, scanning, and printing.

For a home office, double-sided copying might not matter. The quality of the ADF and flatbed scanners is very good, supporting up to 1,200 dots-per-inch. That means even fine print is captured with good detail.

Software and compatibility

HP provides a QR code to set up the OfficeJet Pro 8135e.
HP provides a QR code to set up the OfficeJet Pro 8135e. Photo by Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

It didn’t take long to set up the OfficeJet Pro 8135e, but it wasn’t as easy as it usually is with HP printers. A small Quick Start guide includes a QR code that directed me to HP’s website with the latest information about setting up the OfficeJet Pro 8135e.

Everything was going smoothly until it was time to remove the orange plastic covers on the four ink cartridges. I had to twist with a significant force. I asked my wife to try removing one to double-check, and she couldn’t do it by hand. Some people might need a tool to pop the covers off.

It's hard to remove the OfficeJet Pro 8135e's orange ink cartridge covers.
It’s hard to remove the OfficeJet Pro 8135e’s ink cartridge covers. Photo by Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

Despite this issue, I completed setup in about 15 minutes. After installing the cartridges, I aligned the printheads with HP’s simple print and scan method.

Windows and macOS support is good and both found and connected to the printer as expected. HP recommends installing the HP Smart app for mobile devices and everything worked from my iPhone and Android phone, even printing envelopes.

Is it a bargain?

At $225, HP’s OfficeJet Pro 8135e is priced low for a robust all-in-one with fax and walk-up printing capabilities. HP rates the monthly duty cycle at up to 20,000 pages with a sustained volume of 800 pages per month. That sounds like a bargain, but ink costs will add up with this cartridge-based printer.

The OfficeJet Pro 8135e can use EvoMore 923e ink cartridges that are more eco-friendly and last twice as long as the standard HP 923. EvoMore black cartridges provide 1,000 pages, while color inks last for about 800 pages. HP includes starter cartridges that could last for a few weeks, but they ran low quicker than I expected. It’s wise to start the free three-month Instant Ink trial immediately, so more ink will arrive soon.

The cost per page is the same for each type of cartridge, so choose the EvoMore to help reduce your carbon footprint. For black, you’ll pay roughly six cents per page. Printing in color always costs more since each pixel can contain cyan, magenta, and yellow. HP estimates an average color page will cost 12 cents.

That’s not unusual for a printer that uses cartridges, but you’ll get a much lower cost per page with an inkjet tank printer like HP’s Smart Tank 5101. The trade-off is speed. If you want both, the more expensive HP Smart Tank 7602 is a good choice.

Is this the printer for you?

The HP OfficeJet Pro 8135e could be the right choice for your home office. It’s a fast and sturdy printer that can handle any size job. There are a few weaknesses, however.

If you print in color frequently, you’ll prefer a printer with low-cost ink. If you’re a photographer, you’ll want a printer optimized for great picture quality.

The best color laser printers are made for the diverse needs of a busy business. Still, there’s a place for a low-cost home office printer, and that’s where HP’s OfficeJet Pro 8135e fits in.

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