The HP Photosmart C8180 is a colour inkjet multifunction printer that's designed to be a one-stop photo-processing shop rather than an office workhorse. Its wealth of features - most notably, a DVD-rewritable drive - comes at a significant cost, however.

Inserting photo media into one of the HP Photosmart C8180's front slots summons the Photosmart Express menu on the control panel's LCD. You can even send an image from a Bluetooth-equipped phone.

Printing options include simple album formats, various layouts, and even video-frame capture (which we didn't try). The bundled HP Photosmart Essentials software offers more tools. The HP Photosmart C8180 has a dedicated input tray for 4-by-6-inch photo paper - that's the size you normally get family snaps printed out at.

The scanner platen (with an included holder for slides and negatives) digitizes such hard photo media. The HP Photosmart C8180's six total inks include light cyan and light magenta, for a broader palette when printing photos.

Included is a rewritable DVD drive with LightScribe - that means it can etch a design on to one side of a LightScribe-compatible disc. You can type out a simple word label from the HP Photosmart C8180's control panel, or you can use the bundled Roxio Creator Basic application to create more complex images.

The process is more straightforward from the HP Photosmart C8180; in the Roxio software, the LightScribe features are buried in a submenu. The etching time varies with the complexity of the design.

One note: the drive works with your PC only if the HP Photosmart C8180 is connected directly to the PC via USB; if it's networked via the machine's ethernet or Wi-Fi ports, you can use it only through the control panel.

NEXT PAGE: the tiltable touchscreen, print quality > >