The PhotoSmart C6280 is one of the more expensive multifunction photo printers around, but it’s a well designed device that provides a good combination of performance, quality and features.

It’s not quite as fast as the more expensive Canon MP970, but the HP PhotoSmart C6280 takes a respectable second place to Canon when it comes to photo-printing performance. This makes it a good choice for people who need a really reliable workhorse printer, but who may not want to pay the MP970’s heftier £249 price tag.

Print quality is also very good, thanks to the HP PhotoSmart C6280's 4,800 x 1,200dpi resolution and six-colour printing process. However, the colours on some of our test prints were a little pale compared to prints from the Canon and Epson printers.

Fortunately, the printer driver software does provide plenty of control over the colour settings, allowing you to modify settings such as saturation and individual colour balance. Even so, we would have liked the HP PhotoSmart C6280 to provide slightly bolder colours using just its default settings, as home users won’t want to correct the colour settings for each and every photo they need to print.

The HP PhotoSmart C6280 is the most solidly built printer in this group, and is also very quiet when running. It can do double-sided printing, and its ethernet interface lets you share the printer with other people on a home or office network. We also like the attention to detail that HP has put into its Mac support.

When you’re scanning documents, the LCD display on the printer displays a menu that includes options such as scanning a photo straight into iPhoto on your Mac or attaching the scanned file to an email in either Apple Mail or Microsoft’s Entourage. They even include a little Dashboard widget that you can use to check the ink levels in the printer, and to perform tasks such as cleaning the print-head and printing a test page.


There’s a little room for improvement in photo-print quality, but even so, the HP PhotoSmart C6280's all-round performance, quality and good Mac support make it a good choice for anyone that needs a reliable, high-quality printer for their office.