Product Type: Hewlett-Packard All in one Printer
Newest Review: ... trying several times before it starts printing. The clunking sound the printer makes while printing is like a printer from 20 years ago. ... more
HP Photosmart C3180 All-in-One
Member Name: womblebatman
HP Photosmart C3180 All-in-One
Advantages: Excellent print and scan quality, Reliable and cheap to buy
Disadvantages: No built in LCD to view photos, USB lead not supplied
To run this printer you need to be running either Vista,98SE, Me,2000 or XP,it will also run on Mac's. You will need a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive and an available USB port and USBcable. It helps if you have a 16 bit colour monitor (32-bit colour recommended) with a minimum resolution of 800 x 600 monitor HP recomemd that you have Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 5 or higher. There's quite alot of software with the HP and therefore you need at least 1.2 GB available hard disk space for software installation, you also need an additional 50 MB hard disk space for full colour scanning. Despite the fact that the HP works as a stand alone it does still require a computer to set it up, it's also helpful to have internet access.
IN THE BOX : Power lead, Ink cartridge, Software CD Windows Vista, 98SE, Me, 2000, XP, Mac, Book of instructions
SETTING UP THE ALL IN ONE HP PRINTER
Set up is pretty easy. I'm running Vista on my system and encountered no problems. Once you've inserted the 'Set Up' CD into your computer drive it's just a question of following the on screen pronts. One thing to remember during set up is to only connect the printer to your computer when requested to do so otherwise you might have problems with operating the software and will need to re-do the set up. As expected with a multi purpose printer there's quite alot of software to install fortunately HP's install program has a 'Custom' option that lets you choose which programs to install - perfect if you already have good photo software. The main HP software is HP PhotoSmart Essential & HP Solution Centre
HP PHOTOSMART ESSENTIALS : This is the software through which you can add, edit and share your photographs. You can also : send photographs with windows mail or through Photosmart share, store & manage photos online, order photo gifts for friends and family, ie :MemoryBooks, calendars and mugs - (With Snapfish, a service of HP)
HP SOLUTION CENTRE : This is the software which allows you to adjust your print, scan and copy settings. It also has a shopping, help and support and create section.
To insert the Ink cartridges you open the printer door on the front of the printer, the printer needs to be on, the printer cartridge holder should slide to the right when you open the front door and from there you can insert the cartridges. The Photosmart uses the following ink cartridges:
BLACK - 336 RRP 14.89 (7ml) 338 RRP 15.59 (11ml)
TRI - COLOUR - 342 RRP 14.99 (7ml) 343 RRP 17.99 (11ml)
PHOTO - 348 RRP 17.89
From the standard black and white cartridge you can get around 680 pages with the colour it's around 440, obviously dependant on what you are printing and which size cartridge you are using. I would personally recommend using the larger size cartridges which can be brought alot cheaper than the above stated RRP. You can save alot of money buying equivalent Hp cartridges, I've used these in the past but now tend to buy reduced price Vivera HP inks. I personally found that some of the equivalent ink cartridges don't work that well with the on board HP Ink level indicator. My most recent purchase was through Amazon where I brought a 343 Tri Colour (7ml) and a 338 Balck (11ml) for £18.22.
THE PRINTER : The HP can print at a maximun resolution of 1,200x2,400dpi. HP quoted print speeds are on the optimistic side (B=22ppm C=20ppm) this will obviously be dependant on the complexities of the document but I've found a more realistic figure to be - 11ppm in black and white, and 7ppm in colour.
TEXT & GRAPHICS
There are three print settings on the HP the quoted print speeds above are for the lowest quality setting if you require decent text quality then I would plump for the second highest, it's slower printing but produces sharper text. On graphics the HP speeds ahead, producing 7.0ppm in its lowest quality mode. At its best setting the HP's text is very good, but you'll have to settle for just 1.9ppm. At the second-fastest setting, it achieves very bright and vivid results at the rate of around 3ppm, while the best quality is available at around 1.5ppm.
PHOTO PRINTING & QUALITY
As mentioned above the printer will print directly from a camera (via USB) or from a photo card using one of the 6 in 1 card reader inputs which are located front left of the unit. The HP has something called Photosmart Express on the front left edge with three card slots below, these support CompactFlash, Sony MemoryStick and MemoryStick Duo, Secure Digital and MMC and XD. I printed my first photo using the standard colour and black and white and I have to say that I was really happy with the results. Before I brought my parents a little photo printer I use to do all the family photo's on the HP and it coped very well. On HP's photo paper it printed competent photos using its standard cartridges. For even better photo quality use a Tri colour and photo cartridge together and use the premier hp photo paper which has a 100 year shelf life.
The scanner's optical resolution of 1,200x2,400 (at up to 48-bit colour, 8 bit grayscale (256 levels of grey) is quite good for this price. Since having the HP I've scanned in most of my parents old family photo's, birth certificates and other documents obviously you need to adjust the resolution for what you are scanning.The scanner includes an image editor and the integrated OCR software will convert scanned text to edititable text (if you choose to install). One other thing to note is that you need use your computer to scan document.
The copier can copy to 4800x1200 dpi. I've used it quite a bit, its saved me numerous trips into town just to photocopy few documents and was really useful when doing my college work. Again you can photocopy without the use of a PC if needed or you can use the built in software and edit your images on the computer. It's easy to operate the HP as a stand alone unit buttons are clearly marked on the top left hand side of the printer. To copy there's one button for black and white and one for colour, it's that's simple.
The HP all-in-one has been the most reliable printer I've ever owned and I'm more than happy with it. PC advisor was singing it's praises back in 2002 when it was £70 but now you can buy it for £50 or less, if you shop around. If you want one with a built in LCD to view photo's check out the C4280 which you can buy for around £50.
Summary: An excellent muti-purpose printer !
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