Hewlett-Packard Australia Photosmart Pro B9180
- 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
- It sometimes crimps one end of very thick paper when fed through the manual-feed slot
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 $1499.
Price$ 1,499.00 (AUD)
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How's the output?
HP's efforts wouldn't amount to much if the output wasn't great, and here the company succeeds. The prints we got from the HP Photosmart Pro B9180 were the best we've ever seen out of an HP printer. In addition to providing an excellent tonal range, it was extremely hard to see any dots on most prints, and even then they were only visible with certain paper types and under close scrutiny with a loupe.
And for photographers interested in black-and-white images, the HP Photosmart Pro B9180's prints were neutral in appearance, without any evidence of metameric failure (colour casts visible under different lighting conditions).
Performance and ink efficiency
The HP Photosmart Pro B9180's print speeds are good. In our tests a 4x6in photo printed in 1 minute, 23 seconds; an 8x10in in 3 minutes, 11 seconds; and a 13x19in print took 6 minutes, 51 seconds to come out of the printer. All of these times were done in the Best mode, although there is a Maximum DPI setting that wasn't really needed for most of the images we printed; it only took more time and used up additional ink.
Ink usage was quite good. It does cost almost a third of the printer's price to fill it with ink, but we were very impressed with the efficiency of the HP Photosmart Pro B9180. Our light grey ink ran out after 107 prints of varying size (all letter-size or larger), and we were doing quite a bit of monochrome printing. We didn't need to replace any other ink cartridges until after 200 prints ran through the HP Photosmart Pro B9180, and even then, it was a single ink colour. At 240 prints, we had replaced four of the eight inks, and one of them was the light grey ink again.
This was quite a bit more ink life than we got out of the HP Photosmart Pro B9180's primary competitor, the Epson Stylus Photo R2400, which has smaller ink cartridges, but a slightly lower cost per millilitre of ink.
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