Product Type: Hewlett-Packard fax machines
Newest Review: ... redundant (but it could have been option in install and spare us trouble), and rest of it will satisfy most of the needs, if not all. CO... more
ALL-IN-ONE with all the Features you could want and More
HP Photosmart C6180 All-in-One
Member Name: Deru
HP Photosmart C6180 All-in-One
Date: 21/10/07, updated on 24/10/07 (1799 review reads)
Advantages: Printer, Fax, Scanner, Copy, Card Reader, ADF, Print Quality, Multiple cartridges, Wireless, Network
Disadvantages: Price, bit slow and noisy sometimes
The unit is mainly white with gray in places, lots of buttons at the front with an adjustable 2.4Ē colour LCD display. The buttons on the front panel allow you to use functions such as copying, print pictures from memory cards, crop pictures without a PC as well, as for configuring the settings. The device is quite bit and chunky looking but not as big as some of the HP OfficeJet models Iíve seen.
Setting up the printer is very easy just as it is any other HP printer. I simply inserted the CD that came with the printer in my computer and followed the on screen instructions and plugged a USB cable (not included with the printer) from my PC to the printer. It does take a while to install all the software as they do bundle a lot of software but you can choose a ĎCustomí and only install what you think youíll use.
The printer, as all new printers do, comes with a complete set of ink cartridges consisting of black, yellow, cyan, dark blue, pink and magenta. Installing the cartridges is quick and painless. All I had to do was pull up the bracket lock, shove the cartridges in the appropriate position according to the colours and close the bracket.
Setting up the network on the printer just involves plugging the printer into your network and then adding the printer to your computer via the Add Printer wizard in Windows. For the network function, you are required to have a home network so you would need an Ethernet hub as a minimum and preferably a router to accompany it or your printer would need to be given an IP address manually. Quite straight forward if you have a basic knowledge of networking otherwise, reading the manual should help. Setting up the wireless is also quite straight forward if you have a wireless router as the printer looks for your router if you use the wizard. You do need to enter your WEP or WPA wireless security key if you have one set up (which you should!). The printer menus show Bluetooth as an option but the options inside are greyed out, which was a bit disappointing as it got my hopes up! Iíve seen the function with some higher end functions and it seems they use the same software in this printer as those.
Aside from, scanning and copying like youíd expect, it can also be used as a fax machine. Iíve not used this function but itís there if you need it. Like most consumer multifunctional machines, the C6180 also has a built-in card read for you to print pictures directly from a memory card out of your digital camera, as well as just load the pictures to your PC. It supports most of the common memory card formats with the exception of the new smaller mini and micro ones (would work with an adapter). With the LCD display, it makes it very easy to print pictures this way by following the step by step on screen instructions.
As for connectivity, the printer can be connected via USB 2.0, but it stands out from most consumer printers and even has an Ethernet (network) port so that you can plug the printer into a network to be used as a network printer. The advantage of this form of connectivity is that you can plug the printer into your network (assuming you have one) and use it as a network printer. This means that it does not need to be plugged into a PC so it does not rely on a PC to be switched on to be able to print to the printer. However, scanning wouldnít work over the network. To top even that, it has Wireless connectivity so that you can print straight to it from a wireless enabled laptop or mobile device.
The ADF is a very useful feature if you have lots of documents to scan or copy in one go. Simply place your pile of documents into the feeder and it will feed each one through the printer. This saves you from having to place each document under the scanner one at a time which can be very time consuming.
It has a small 6Ēx4Ē tray for photograph prints, which slides out. I thought this was quite a nice feature as it let me print straight to the photograph sized paper easily. It did require a bit of fiddling but it wasnít too difficult. Although itís a nice feature I would have preferred something like a CD printer but that aside, this printer has some great features. The LCD displays the date and time and it even makes noises when you turn it on/off and choose options as it has its built-in own speaker for this.
PRINT QUALITY AND SPEED
On turning on the printer, the start up time is quite slow as it take about 30 seconds for it to get ready the first time to prepare the ink. It doesnít always need to do this but I do find it sometimes does this again and the LCD display does tell me not to shut down the printer so it must be an important process. Usually, switching on the printer is quite quick for it to become ready (less than 10 seconds). Itís also quite noisy when itís preparing itself and so is printing and scanning. Scan speed is quite quick with the USB 2.0 connection but scanning at high resolutions can take a lot longer.
I scanned in a passport photo printed from one of those photo booths at a high resolution and then printed copies of it with the ĎBestí quality setting, and printing on glossy photo paper, the results were amazing! The colour was a bit different from the original but that was because of the light from the scanner. I couldnít quite get my face the same colour as the original in Photoshop but it was passable. I managed to use two of the copies to renew my passport. There is also a Maximum dpi (1480 x 1200 dpi) setting but that takes up a lot of memory and takes a long time to print. I tried it but didnít manage to get it to come out even with my powerful PC but I think the printer may not have much memory for the job either as there was a response from the printer. The ĎBestí setting is 600 x 600 dpi, which still produces excellent prints. However, I do find that printing black text bleeds a little when looking closely at the text.
The print speed isnít bad at all. Printing at draft quality shoots the page right out but it doesnít look too great. Normal quality takes about 10 seconds for a page full of text. Printing images takes longer and printing at higher quality settings can take even longer, which is normal with all inkjet printers.
In terms of software, HP gives you everything you could possibly need to use the scanning and printing of pictures and documents. The HP Solution centre lets me do things like scan pictures, scan documents, send faxes from the computer, transfer images from memory cards or a digital camera to the computer and make copies so itís very comprehensive. Each of the programs are intuitive to use but you can still use your own software to do things like scan as the driver is on the computer. For example, I can scan pictures by going through the Import > Acquire > Twain menu in Photoshop.
It also has an OCR program called IRIS included, which is for scanning text documents and converting the text into editable text so that you can change the text. This, as usual, has a 1% margin of error and I did find it quite tricky get the result that I wanted with a scanned document containing some handwritten text as well as printed text. Even though this software solution isnít that sought after, HP have included it, which can only be a good thing.
I bid and won mine on eBay for £160 including delivery but it turned out it had a German control panel (which you attach to the printer when you set it up). I had to spend another £15 to get an English panel straight from HP so it cost me £175 but this printer currently ranges from £200 from places like Staples and PC World.
As mentioned earlier, the C6180 uses separate ink cartridges. The colour cartridges cost £6.99 each in most shops but a bit cheaper online. Buying them in a set also gives you a further discount. The black cartridge costs around £11 for a standard one or £21 for the high capacity version. The colour cartridges are quite small whereas the black is twice the size, which is the size Iím used to seeing with HP printers.
The reason I prefer separate colour cartridges for colour is because if all of the colour were in a single cartridge, I would have to change the cartridge if even only one colour had run out. These cartridges usually cost £15 up to £26 each so not only would I waste the remaining colour in the cartridge; I would be wasting money for having to spend so much each time. With separate colour cartridges, I only have to replace the colour I run out of and pay a lot less for them.
- ADF (Automatic Document Feeder)
- Excellent quality photo prints
- Card reader
- Ethernet port
- Copy documents without a PC
- Print from memory cards and even a digital camera without a PC
- Separate colour ink cartridges to reduce ink and money waste
- Text prints bleed a bit
- Quite noisy
- A bit slow to get ready sometimes
- Slow to print in higher quality compared to colour laser printers
- Quite expensive at £200 (but price will eventually drop)
This printer has plenty of features and the wireless connectivity wasnít even a reason for the purchase but it makes the printer seem all that much more impressive. I find the ink quite long lasting for this printer, even after printing a number of photographs, Iíve not noticed the ink levels dropping at all according to the ink monitoring software. Despite the few minor niggles, I am very content with the performance of this printer so I can highly recommend it but if you need to print more, and do not require a printer for photograph printing, the HP OfficeJet series of printers may also be a good choice as they do boast a higher monthly duty cycle, meaning they are capable of printing more before they break down.
Thanks for reading!
Summary: Great All-In-One printer with plenty of neat features
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