Another drawback is the Photosmart C5180's limited paper handling options. A single tray in the front handles both input and output. The input tray can hold paper as large as legal size and can fit about 100 sheets of plain paper. Just above the main paper tray sits a smaller tray specifically for 4x6 photo paper. Both input trays pull out partially for easy paper loading. While it's nice to be able to have both plain and photo paper loaded and ready at all times, a secondary input tray would go a long way to reduce the hassle of removing the plain paper when you want to print on a different type of paper such as cardstock, transparencies, or larger-size photo paper. The output tray sits above the input tray and features an extender that corrals long pages. The printer lacks a rear output for straight pass-through--a convenient feature if you do a lot of printing on heavy paper such as cardstock.
The control panel is mounted along the front edge of the printer. A 2.4-inch, color LCD lets you navigate the menus and preview photos before printing. The LCD pivots through a 90-degree range, which lets you optimize viewing. The long row of buttons allows you to initiate a number of tasks directly from the printer. Each function--copy, photo print, and scan--has a dedicated menu button from which you can make various changes. The menus are intuitive and easy to navigate using a four-way rocker button, an OK button, and a dedicated back button that lets you back out of menus.
You can connect the printer via USB to a single PC or via Ethernet on a network. Though it doesn't have wireless capability built-in, you could also connect it to a wireless router or a print server for a shared wireless connection. Even better, the Photosmart C5180 supports both Windows and Mac PCs, so if your household has mixed allegiances, everyone can share nicely. Each function of the HP Photosmart C5180 has a number of options that let you personalize your tasks, though the options aren't as extensive as those on other printers. The copy menu lets you resize, change the copy quality, specify number of copies (up to 99), as well as crop, designate paper size and type, and enhance copies according to the type of original (text, photo, or mixed). What we didn't find was the ability to do 2-on-1 or 4-on-1 copies. Also, the printer lacks a duplexer; if you want double-sided prints or copies, you'll have to do it manually.
The scan menu differentiates between scanning documents and photos. When scanning a document, you can open the scan in a number of HP utilities including the HP Document Viewer or Photosmart Express, as well as save it as a file, attach it to an e-mail, or open it in a program such as Paint. When scanning photos, you can do all of the above, as well as save it to a memory card or reprint the photo.