As the price tag indicates, this semi-pro inkjet is no budget office accessory – but it’s a serious tool for the discerning photographer…
Standing head and shoulders about the lesser inkjets in our top 10, the B9180 is a prosumer model designed to plug the gap between normal inkjets and your first coffee-table book. It's loaded with advanced tech to give the best possible print quality, and isn’t ashamed to reflect that in the price.
Not a pretty face
The rather dour grey design might not look a million dollars, but it's reassuringly hefty, with fittings made from metal rather than the usual plastic. More significant circuitry lies within.
The advanced eight-ink Vivera system produces images larger than A3 size that have been rated as having a 200-year lifespan (rather than the much more questionable longevity of cheap digital prints) and requires careful setup. You've got to manually fit the print heads and leave it to run an hour-long self-diagnosis before it's ready to start work.
The Ferrari of photo-printers
Once set up, you can see where the money went: it automatically detects paper quality and size (if you're using proper HP paper) and adjusts output accordingly, and photo quality is exemplary. Print speeds aren't quite as impressive, lagging slightly behind comparable models, but not enough to be a significant problem.
Switch to plain paper and it handles less impressive text documents without fuss, although using this to produce text feels like using a Ferrari to nip down the shops: it's something designed to lovingly reproduce your Photoshop creations, not run off a shopping list.
Most importantly, despite the hefty price tag, it's still cheaper than its immediate competition. If you want the best possible prints, this is the one to go for.
HP Photosmart Pro B9180 review
If you're serious about your photography habit, then this printer is what you need to do it justice