HP Photosmart C5180

The HP Photosmart C5180 is a perfectly acceptable photo all-in-one, but you can get more features and faster print speeds for the same amount of money.


6.6
CNET Rating
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A reasonably priced, home hobbyist multifunction printer, the HP Photosmart C5180 All-in-One performs well and is fast enough for basic printer needs. Its one major fault is the lack of a PictBridge port for printing directly from a digital camera -- a must for any photo-oriented home printer. The AU$349 printer also has limited paper handling options and no fax function, but its overall print quality will satisfy anyone who wants to print snapshots.Still, for about the same price, the Canon PIXMA MP500 provides more features, faster speeds, and better print quality.

Design
The HP Photosmart C5180 is reasonably compact for a photo all-in-one with a flatbed scanner. Its glossy white-and-light-grey body measures 447mm wide, 386mm deep, and 188mm tall, and weighs only 11.4 kg. The scanner accepts original documents to as large as A4 size. The scanner lid tends to drop back down unless you push it all the way open, and its hinges don't lift to accommodate thick books or documents. Four media card slots accept most major types of media cards, though you'll need adapters for some of them. Noticeably absent from this photo-centric printer is a PictBridge port for direct printing from a digital camera. The vast majority of photo printers in this price range include the port (such as the Canon PIXMA MP500), as do some office-oriented single-function printers such as HP's own Deskjet 6940.

Another drawback is the Photosmart C5180's limited paper handling options. A single tray in the front handles both input and output. The input tray can hold paper as large as legal size and can fit about 100 sheets of plain paper. Just above the main paper tray sits a smaller tray specifically for 4 x 6 photo paper. Both input trays pull out partially for easy paper loading. While it's nice to be able to have both plain and photo paper loaded and ready at all times, a secondary input tray would go a long way to reduce the hassle of removing the plain paper when you want to print on a different type of paper such as cardstock, transparencies, or larger-size photo paper. The output tray sits above the input tray and features an extender that corrals long pages. The printer lacks a rear output for straight pass-through--a convenient feature if you do a lot of printing on heavy paper such as cardstock.

The control panel is mounted along the front edge of the printer. A 2.4-inch, colour LCD lets you navigate the menus and preview photos before printing. The LCD pivots through a 90-degree range, which lets you optimise viewing. The long row of buttons allows you to initiate a number of tasks directly from the printer. Each function -- copy, photo print and scan -- has a dedicated menu button from which you can make various changes. The menus are intuitive and easy to navigate using a four-way rocker button, an OK button, and a dedicated back button that lets you back out of menus.

You can connect the printer via USB to a single PC or via Ethernet on a network. Though it doesn't have wireless capability built-in, you could also connect it to a wireless router or a print server for a shared wireless connection. Even better, the Photosmart C5180 supports both Windows and Mac PCs, so if your household has mixed allegiances, everyone can share nicely.

Features
Each function of the HP Photosmart C5180 has a number of options that let you personalise your tasks, though the options aren't as extensive as those on other printers. The copy menu lets you resize, change the copy quality, specify number of copies (up to 99), as well as crop, designate paper size and type, and enhance copies according to the type of original (text, photo or mixed). What we didn't find was the ability to do 2-on-1 or 4-on-1 copies. Also, the printer lacks a duplexer; if you want double-sided prints or copies, you'll have to do it manually.

The scan menu differentiates between scanning documents and photos. When scanning a document, you can open the scan in a number of HP utilities including the HP Document Viewer or Photosmart Express, as well as save it as a file, attach it to an email or open it in a program such as Paint. When scanning photos, you can do all of the above, as well as save it to a memory card or reprint the photo.

Printing from a memory card presents the most options. The dedicated Photosmart Express button lets you view and print photos from a media card, reprint photos by scanning them, save photos from a media card to your PC, and share the photos over a network connection. The Photo Fix button lets you toggle between on and off. If you turn Photo Fix on, it will automatically optimise photos by reducing red-eye and enhancing lighting, contrast and sharpness. Additionally, when previewing the contents of a memory card, you can zoom in on a picture or zoom out to view multiple pictures at once. What you can't do is print the contents of a media card as a photo index sheet. This feature is common on Canon's photo-centric printers (such as the Canon PIXMA MP450). It allows you to print the contents of a card, bubble in the ones you want printed (as well as designate number of prints and type of paper), and scan the sheets to print only the images you designate. This tool is especially handy if you have a lot of photos on a card and don't want to click through them one by one.

One odd feature we noticed -- and were endlessly amused by -- is the ability to print so-called school documents: Lined paper (both college rule and wide rule), graph paper and a task list. Clearly, doing so is more expensive than just buying a pack of lined paper, but in a pinch, this is a useful tool. HP even got the colours right: The blue of the horizontal lines and the magenta of the single vertical line on the left.

The Photosmart C5180 uses a six-ink system, with individual ink cartridges, a feature we like because it's cost effective -- just replace each colour as it runs out. It uses the standard cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK), plus a light magenta and light cyan. The same ink is used for regular and photo prints, so you don't have to switch tanks for different task. The tanks are easy to swap out and the print head is prelabeled, so you know which tank goes where.

Performance
The HP Photosmart C5180's speed is about what we expect from a photo all-in-one in this price range. It printed text at a rate of 5.17ppm, a bit slower than the Canon PIXMA MP500. It was pretty quick with photos, printing 4 x 6s at a rate of 0.56ppm. The Canon also scored a 0.56ppm for photo printing, but that was for 8 x 10 photos. The C5180 is a quick greyscale scanner at 7.8ppm, but it slowed down for colour scanning -- 3.68ppm. Because it doesn't have an automatic document feeder, we can't test copy speed.

CNET Labs multifunction printer performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Copy speed
Color scan speed
Grayscale scan speed
Photo speed
Text speed
Canon PIXMA MP500
4.25
5.31
5.17
0.56
7.08
HP Photosmart C5180*
N/A
3.68
7.81
0.56
5.17
Epson Stylus CX7800
1.7
2.72
6.14
0.48
1.57
Lexmark P6250
1.57
3.08
4.15
0.18
1.15
Note: The photo speed for the HP is for a 4 x 6 print. The photo speed scores for the other three printers are for 8 x 10 prints.

Image Quality
The Photosmart C5180 also showed decent print quality. We didn't expect much from its text prints (photo inkjets tend to have mediocre text quality), but it surprised us. Text was well formed and mostly clean, with minor jagginess marring the page, and it was legible down to very small point sizes. The colour graphics print looked good, too: The text was about the same as on the text-only page, and colours were well replicated. We saw some minor banding in colour gradients, but the greyscale gradient was smooth. We did see some graininess in colour blocks, though.

The photographic elements on the page were just slightly washed out. The same applies for the photo print. It showed solid detail and realistic colours, but overall, it had a slightly flat, dull quality to it. Still, it should suffice for the snapshots. Both greyscale and colour scans were sharp, with good details. The colours in the colour scan were off, though. Overall, the Canon PIXMA MP500 showed better print quality, particularly with photos. Colors were bright and true, and the prints showed excellent detail.

CNET Labs multifunction printer performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Copy speed
Color scan speed
Grayscale scan speed
Photo speed
Text speed
Canon PIXMA MP500
4.25
5.31
5.17
0.56
7.08
HP Photosmart C5180*
N/A
3.68
7.81
0.56
5.17
Epson Stylus CX7800
1.7
2.72
6.14
0.48
1.57
Lexmark P6250
1.57
3.08
4.15
0.18
1.15
Note: The photo speed for the HP is for a 4 x 6 print. The photo speed scores for the other three printers are for 8 x 10 prints.

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fm2006
1
Rating
 

fm2006 posted a review   

absolutely hate it !

michelle21
2
Rating
 

michelle21 posted a review   

The Good:Cheaper than most

The Bad:Constant paper jams, margin issues, envelop issues, color quality is poor

I have more issues with paper jams and margins than I've ever had with a printer. SO FRUSTRATING

Qtech
9
Rating
 

Qtech posted a review   

The Good:got it under 90 bucks au

The Bad:none fro me

I just bought this and it is mad




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User Reviews / Comments  HP Photosmart C5180

  • fm2006

    fm2006

    Rating1

    "absolutely hate it !"

  • michelle21

    michelle21

    Rating2

    "I have more issues with paper jams and margins than I've ever had with a printer. SO FRUSTRATING"

  • Qtech

    Qtech

    Rating9

    "I just bought this and it is mad"

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