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HP quotes both draft and normal mode print speeds, claiming 8.9ppm in black and 5.3ppm in colour. Printing our 20-page black text document took 3:16, which equates to 6.12ppm and the five-page text and colour graphics test took 2:21, or 2.13ppm. Neither of these results is particularly quick, but they do well against similarly-priced competition.
A colour photo took 1:50 from a PC and 2:02 from an SD memory card, both of which are reasonable speeds for high quality photos, like the ones the C4580 produces. Colours are natural and definition is good, with foreground detail matched by subtle variations in backgrounds, where required. Using HP Advanced photo paper, results are superior to conventional photography and a good example of why the market has switched to digital prints.
Black text on plain paper looks good, too and while it will never rank with the dense blackness of laser print, it's more than adequate for home and most business documents. Colour business graphics are sharp and well defined and HP's Vivera inks do a good job of looking bright on uncoated paper. Text over colour is well registered and there's little sign of ink running along the paper fibres.
It's worth also mentioning colour photocopies, which come out very close in colour to the originals, with less of the fading so prevalent in this type of digital copy.
There are two ink cartridges in the C4580, one black and the other tri-colour. You can replace the black cartridge with a three-colour photo one, but from the photo results we saw, you would have to be very fastidious to need the extra tones. The best prices we could find for the two main cartridges, which are available in Standard and high yield Value versions, gives costs per page of 2.7p and 9.0p for black and colour, respectively.
The black page price is good, lower than several all-in-ones we've looked at recently, though the colour price is on the high side, unless you can find cartridges at lower prices than we could.
Unusually, it's not all plain sailing with this HP machine and the problems with loading paper can make the machine awkward, particularly as it doesn't have permanent paper trays and you need to load paper each time you use it. However, print quality is well up to HP's high standards and print times are nothing untoward for an all-in-one in this price bracket. Wireless connectivity is a useful bonus, though setup is no easier than with other printers.
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