At around £260, the Photosmart C8180 sits in Hewlett-Packard's lineup as one of its most expensive all-in-one (AIO) players. This printer, scanner and copier has a suite of features for the amateur photo enthusiast that includes a touchscreen display, built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth connectivity, a slide scanner and a dual paper feed tray.
The design of the C8180 is similar to the rest of the printers in the Photosmart series, but this particular model has a few notable hardware additions that you won't find in most all-in-ones. Unlike most printers, the C8180 has a swiveled touchscreen that lets you control all the software functions including photo editing, wireless setup and management, and scanning jobs.
The touchscreen eliminates button clutter and frees up the rest of the front panel for simple buttons that control one-touch red-eye removal as well as a few others for start, stop and cancel. The front of the C8180 also has a memory card bay with slots for Compact Flash, xD, SD/MMC and Memory Stick cards.
Although HP flaunts the C8180 as a full-featured AIO for the home and office, it lacks a fax machine and an auto-document feeder that you can find on for less money. You'll also notice a unique hardware feature on the front of the C8180: a LightScribe drive that lets you archive your data directly from a USB key or an external memory card to a CD/DVD.
We're not disputing its utility, but we wish HP could've found a way to include the drive alongside an ADF and fax instead of omitting them entirely. In either case, we must compliment HP on the build quality and design of the C8180. The rounded corners and silver/white overlay contribute to its overall appeal; this printer will look great alongside any desk setup.
You have three options for connecting your computer to the printer: wired via the included USB cable, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. We can confidently state that the Photosmart C8180 is the easiest Wi-Fi printer we've used to date. Other printers make you pour through pages and pages of instructions and ultimately force you to set up the connection via an ad-hoc network, but the C8180 distills the process down to a simple pairing between the printer and your computer.
In fact, there are no onscreen instructions; you set everything up through the digital LCD on the faceplate itself. From open box to first print, the entire Wi-Fi setup took less than five minutes.
Another unique feature to the C8180 is its dual paper input tray. This is bound to be one of those "Why didn't we think of that?" headaches for HP's competitors, and it really is genius. The C8180 has two separate paper trays: one for larger A4 paper and another for smaller A6 media. This small hardware addition saves time and desk space by allowing the user to manually select which paper tray will spool from the device, but most of the time the C8180 will choose automatically depending on the job.