Nowadays, £176 is a lot of money for an inkjet printer but, as a multi-function device (and more besides), this Photosmart really delivers on all fronts. At its heart, the C6180 has HP's latest generation six-ink printer that relies on separate cartridges for each colour.
The black ink is pigment-based, so you can be sure of crisp black text, while running costs for mono printing are reasonably low at 2p per A4 text page - closer to 1.5p if you buy HP's optional high-capacity black cartridge. Making more of the six-ink arsenal, colour A4 documents and 10x15cm photo prints work out at a less impressive 6p and 14.5p per print respectively.
Up on top, the A4 flatbed scanner in the printer's lid has a 4,800dpi maximum resolution, ideal for creating mono or colour enlargements of documents or photos, either in standalone photocopier mode or via the PC. The scanning quality is sharp, with sufficiently accurate colour and contrast for photo use.
Up close, the C6180 offers a PictBridge port and a multiformat card reader for direct photo printing, with the added attractions of a clear 2.4in LCD and wide-ranging, easy-to-use controls. From a distance, the printer is equally useful thanks to network connections that include wired Ethernet and wireless 802.11g/b, which come as standard, and there's optional Bluetooth.
For communication further afield, there's a built-in colour fax that works fully in standalone mode. To make this even more useful, the icing on the C6180's cake is a 50-sheet auto document feeder that, in our tests, worked flawlessly every time.
Print speeds can be as fast as 32ppm in mono and 31ppm for colour but they slow to a more pedestrian 8ppm and 6ppm respectively in normal quality mode. In our tests, photo prints took longer than expected, at 1m 51s for a 10x15cm print in normal quality photo mode.