AutoMatters & More: HP OfficeJet Pro 8740 Printer & Kensington Expert Mouse Wireless Trackball


A printer is an essential tool for a writer – not just for archiving but for editing too. Before I submit a column for publication, no matter how close I am cutting it to my publication deadline, I print it and then proofread the hard copy. Years of experience have proven, beyond any doubt whatsoever, that errors tend to stand out more on paper than on a computer screen. It’s true. Try it and see for yourself.

That is not the only reason why I need a high quality business printer that prints quickly and easily. I also use it for printing color business cards and color photos, making copies from the flatbed scanner and document feeder, and more.

My most recent HP office printer had provided reliable service for years, but it was well and truly worn out. It could no longer move paper reliably without jamming, it skewed text and its document output shelf had been broken off twice. It was time for a new office printer.

HP OfficeJet Pro 8740

HP sent me a new, office-ready printer to review. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8740 all-in-one inkjet (print, fax, scan, copy and web) is by far the most capable all-around printer that I have ever owned. Its recommended page volume is 250 to 2000 pages. It has every feature I had before and then some, prints quickly, consistently provides excellent printed output and, in its new color (white instead of gray) it looks bright and beautiful on my desk. It works with Macs and Windows computers too.

It is intuitive to use, so other than for the initial setup there is no need to refer to the printer’s manual. Its color touch screen easily provides context-related help.

HP finally engineered a way to output the printed pages to trays that are within the boundaries of the printer, instead of to trays or fragile arms that protrude out and are prone to being accidentally broken off.

Here are some of its other many useful features: fast (up to 24 ppm black, 20 color), two-sided printing and scanning; 500-sheet paper capacity thanks to two 250-sheet paper trays; legal size flatbed; effective paper handling; 50-page automatic document feeder; printing directly from a variety of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices; color faxing (4 seconds per page after the initial page); and up to 99 copies.

I have been using and recommend the HP Instant Ink program. For a low monthly fee HP will monitor your ink usage and send you replacement ink cartridges as you need them. There are several plans available, depending on your usage.

This printer’s price on HP’s website ( is $299.99, a significant reduction from the list price of $399.99.

Kensington Expert Mouse Wireless Trackball

One of the most common and yet critical tasks on any computer is navigating around the screen. I used to use a two-button mouse exclusively – wired at first and then wireless. My MacBook Pro laptop has a trackpad so sometimes I use that too, but it does not work very well at its edges.

A recurring problem that I have when using a mouse is that my desk tends to get cluttered as I work. A mouse needs clear space to move around, so I often need to shove papers out of the way. A very convenient feature of the Kensington Expert Mouse Wireless Trackball is that it stays put on the desk. To move the pointer around, just rotate the large, round trackball. Surrounding it are a fast and convenient scrolling ring, as well as four programmable buttons (the two lower ones are set up like those on a two-button mouse). It works on Windows and Mac, via Bluetooth or a USB receiver. For Mac users the TrackballWorks software (to program the buttons, adjust the speed of the pointer and more) requires the use of the USB receiver.

Another especially appreciated feature is once the pointer is in position and if I then take my fingers off of the ball, the pointer does not move. With a track pad, my finger often moves slightly just before I click, causing the execution of unintended commands.

The Kensington trackball includes a removable, padded wrist rest, making it very comfortable to use. It is available for $99.99 from the website.

That’s all for now. Join in the conversation. Send your comments and suggestions to

Copyright © 2016 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #440