Hewlett-Packard Australia Photosmart Pro B9180

Hewlett-Packard Australia Photosmart Pro B9180
  • Hewlett-Packard Australia Photosmart Pro B9180
  • Hewlett-Packard Australia Photosmart Pro B9180
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • Colour calibrator, pigment-based inks, HP Printer Utility allows you to install custom paper profiles directly into the printer's driver, excellent prints with colours coming out almost perfect

Cons

  • It sometimes crimps one end of very thick paper when fed through the manual-feed slot

Bottom Line

Try as we might, we couldn't come up with any significant defects in the HP Photosmart Pro B9180. The only thing we didn't like is how the printer can sometimes crimp one end of very thick paper when fed through the manual-feed slot. While we think there are definite reasons for purchasing some of the higher-priced Epson and Canon printers -- roll support, larger paper sizes, higher-production print runs -- the B9180 sits at an amazing price point for what you get. Combine the great print quality with any two of its standout features -- closed-loop calibration, sturdy construction, smartly designed software, broad media support, efficient ink life, archival print quality -- and you'd have a very good printer, indeed. But when you wrap them all up into the package that is the HP Photosmart Pro B9180, you have a great professional-quality photo printer that's priced around $1499.

Would you buy this?

It's rare indeed to come across a product so well thought out and so perfectly integrated with both Mac and Windows PC that you wonder how you lived without it. Hewlett-Packard has done just that with the HP Photosmart Pro B9180, a $1499 high-end photo inkjet printer that brings the feature set and print quality of $2000 printers to the desktop of any serious digital photographer or graphic artist.

HP has been the dominant presence in the consumer and business printer markets, but it hasn't been as successful in the high-end photo market, which has more demanding users. Photographers, graphic artists, and imaging specialists want consistent colour, print longevity, efficient ink usage, and support for many different types of papers, and Epson has long been the market leader in this category.

The HP Photosmart Pro B9180 is substantially built, and has a heft and feel that conveys the seriousness of its purpose. The output tray, for example, is made of metal, which is almost unheard of in this age of flimsy plastic designs. It is a large unit, however, weighing nearly 18kg; while printing, it can shake a less-than-sturdy table or stand.

Setting up the HP Photosmart Pro B9180 is a snap -- you can be printing 30 minutes after getting it out of the box. You install the print cartridges and printheads, plug the printer in, let it do its initial calibration, and hook it to your computer directly via a USB cable. You can optionally use the HP Photosmart Pro B9180's Ethernet port to plug it into your network.

The HP Photosmart Pro B9180 can handle paper from 3x5in index cards up to 13x19in sheets, and it supports borderless printing for all paper types and sizes.

The HP Photosmart Pro B9180 has two paper paths -- a paper tray that holds about 100 sheets of photo paper (or 200 sheets of plain paper), and a manual-feed, straight-through path for handling media types up to 1.5mm thick. The manual feed slot is a simple tray that folds down from the front of the printer, and includes silk-screened guides for aligning the paper.

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