The market for photo-oriented all-in-one printers is primarily shared between Canon and HP and HP's range is extensive. Towards the top of this is the new Photosmart C8180, a machine with all the photo printing bells and whistles and even a DVD-Rewriter for bulk photo storage.
Built into a stylish light grey and ice white case, with silver highlights and panels, the machine has all the standard features we've come to expect from an HP all-in-one, but with a few worthwhile extras. For a start, there's an 89mm touchscreen set into the control panel, which takes over the functions of many of the normal buttons. Indeed, there is some duplication between touchscreen selections and the few remaining physical buttons on the control panel.
To the right of the controls is a bank of memory card slots, taking all the current types. Below this, though, there's something much less ordinary, in the form of a notebook-style DVD+/-RW drive, which can be used for both recording and reading photo files through the machine. Further down the front panel is a PictBridge socket and an illuminated power button.
The paper tray can take up to 100 sheets of plain paper and a secondary, powered tray holds up to 20 photo blanks. Both can be filled at the same time. There are sockets at the back for USB 2.0 and Ethernet and the machine is fitted as standard with Wi-Fi, though there's no sign of an external aerial. There is, however, an external power supply, which is a slightly tacky way of doing things.
Connecting and running the machine via any of its three connections is straightforward. The Wi-Fi setup, which can be awkward on some machines, is handled here with a Wizard from the printer's touchscreen, before installing the drivers. HP software includes OCR for scanning text documents and a simplified photo editor to cover basic image tweaks.