Photosmart B8550*

Hewlett Packard Photosmart B8550 Inkjet Printer:

Photosmart B8550 Inkjet Printer From HP Hewlett Packard

How exciting, a large format printer with individual ink tanks from HP. Print paper sizes up to 13 x 19 inches!

CI system available for this printer.

Why we like it? Will work with CI system. HP uses a dual cartridge marketing strategy on this printer series (Photosmart 6388, C6350, D5460, D7560, 7000). Can use either a half full of ink 564 cartridge, or the more full 564XL series ink cartridge. Uses 5 individual ink cartridges – the large black cartridge contains pigment base ink, and the 4 other cartridges contain dye based inks (copies of the Canon inkjet printer configuration, cartridges even look the same). XL stands for the price (higher) and amount of ink in the cartridge (full).

HP 564 Cartridges used in this printer.

The 564 and 564XL cartridges are the exact same physical size – HP just puts less ink in the cheaper cartridges.

HP 564 Cartridges:

That is $51.96 for a full set of these “half-full” inks.

HP 564XL Cartridges:

That is $104.08 for a full set of FULL inks.  Wow.  And this printer does use the ink – check out a review from Amazon that confirms our fears about large prints and ink usage:

…if you have visions of printing more than five or six full color brochures using this device, plan to have a BUNCH of extra print cartridges on hand…

*Please. We seriously doubt those page count numbers. Even HP will not stand behind them:

Actual yield varies considerably based on content of printed pages and other factors. Some ink from included cartridge is used to start up the printer.


Photosmart B8550 Large Format HP PrinterBest thing about this printer is that it will handle large paper sizes.  Can print as big as 13×19 inches, and as small as 3.5 x 5 inches.  If you are doing a comparison among tabloid size printers, this HP offering is similar to the Epson Workforce 1100.  With only 4 colors to choose from, we would not recommend this as a “serious” photo printer.  There are better options out there that are 6-color printers, Stylus Photo 1400.

  • Black print speed – 32ppm, color print speed 31ppm (again, not buying it)
  • Print resolution black 1200 x 1200 dpi, color up to 1200 x 1200
  • 2.4 inch LCD (color graphics) touchscreen
  • Borderless printing up to 13  x 44 inches (banner paper)
  • Supported paper sizes – Tray: Main Tray: Letter, legal, tabloid, executive, 4 x 6 in, 4 x 12 in, 5 x 7 in, 8 x 10 in, 11 x 14 in, 12 x 12 in, B, 11 x 17 in, B+, 13 x 19 in, No. 10 envelopes; Photo Tray: 3.5 x 5 in, 4 x 6 in, 5 x 7 in
  • Memory card support – CompactFlash, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Duo, Secure Digital/MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital High Capacity Card, xD-Picture Card
  • 125-sheet input tray, 20-sheet automated photo tray
  • OS supported – Windows XP or higher, Mac OS 10.4 or higher
  • Prints to CDs or DVDs with included tray device (we prefer the Epson Artisan series printable CD/DVD tray, very cool)
  • Uses 5 individual ink cartridges – Large black, small photo black, cyan, magenta, yellow – 564 series carts
  • Big printer – dimensions 22.83 x 15.31 x 7.13 in, and the weight is 17 pounds.

Photosmart B8550 Large Format HP Printer

Detailed pdf specifications can be found here.


Features missing that we would like to have –

  • Duplexing – print to both sides automatically (not an option)
  • Wireless networking – optional add-on, none built in
  • No fax capabilities
  • This is NOT an all-in-one printer, no scanner

What’s in the box:

  • Photosmart B8550 Printer
  • Power cord
  • Print head assembly
  • HP 564 black (approx. 250 pages), photo black (approx. 120 4 x 6″ photos), cyan (approx. 300 pages), magenta (approx. 300 pages), and yellow (approx. 300 pages) cartridges
  • CD with software
  • Photo media sample pack
  • Creative projects guide, User guide, and “Start here” poster

Price Range:

Prices vary widely – however check google products, or Amazon for the most recent prices. Expect to pay $128-$299 for this “specialty” printer.  Ink for this baby is gonna kill you.  This thing will suck the ink fast if you are printing large format prints (larger than 8.5×11).  HP page estimates are based on the smaller sized paper.  A better option would be the Epson Stylus Photo 1400, with CI system.  For about the same price.  If you intend on printing less than 300 (large 11×17 or higher) per year, this would be the printer for you.

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