Hewlett-Packard Australia Photosmart C7180
- Integrated 802.11b/g wireless networking, integrated Bluetooth, film adapter, easy installation
- Software takes a long time to install, doesn't come standard with an automatic duplex unit
If you're into photography and you want the convenience of wireless connectivity, this unit is hard to go past. It was easy to set up and its print quality is excellent.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
If you're an imaging enthusiast, the HP PhotoSmart C7180 should have plenty to tickle your fancy. It's one of the few units we've seen that comes with a film adapter, so that you can scan in your favourite negatives, and comes with a large LCD screen for viewing and manipulating photos located on memory cards. Most importantly, it's got a slew of networking features that make it easy to print and scan from anywhere.
The integrated 802.11b/g wireless adapter can either join an existing home network setup or can be used in ad-hoc mode with your notebook. Ad-hoc is handy if you don't already have a wireless network setup in your residence as the printer will initiate a point-to-point connection with your notebook.
Setting up the C7180 for usage on our wireless network was a painless task. The large LCD display allowed us to easily navigate the unit's menu system to change the network settings. All we had to do was tell the C7180 that we wanted to use it on a wireless network and it did the rest. It detected our access point and the type of encryption we were using and prompted us to enter our pass code to complete the connection. The unit supports WEP and WPA2, in addition to WPA, which was the encryption method we used in our tests.
Once the C7180 is connected to your wireless network, you have to install the drivers on all the machines that will be accessing the unit. The driver installation will ask if you want to install a local or network printer and will detect your printer automatically. You must make sure your notebook or PC is already connected to your wireless network, of course.
The exorbitantly long time it takes to install the complete HP software is frustrating and, as such, it is worth running a customised installation and deselecting features that you know you probably won't use.
The wireless functionality of the printer allows you to print as well as scan over the network. Scans initiated from the C7180's control panel can be sent to the destination PC of your choice but, depending on the type of scan, this can take a while.
While you won't be able to view the contents of a memory card from a computer on your network, photos located on a memory card can be sent from the C7180 to a computer on your network using the C7180's control panel.
A built-in Bluetooth adapter adds to the versatility of the C7180, as it allows you to easily print pictures from a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone. We used a Sony Ericsson V600i to print out a 4x6in image which took only 62sec.
The build quality of the C7180 is solid and the control panel buttons feel good to the touch. Individual ink tanks reside just under the lid of the unit and these feed the print head through capillary tubes.
We found the print quality of the C7180 clear and well-toned when printing in 'normal' mode. Text was only slightly feathery and our five-page document took 53sec to complete.
If you're after a wireless multi-function device with a penchant for imaging, this one is hard to pass up.
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