It's a lovely printer, the HP b9180 is. When I finally understood the printer's need for control and set the color management to "Printer controls color", the blacks came out smooth and velvety, the print always true to what I saw on the screen. Since that fateful discovery, I have yet to see a single horizontal track streaking across large fields of color in a print. Image quality is superb.
I was also impressed with HP's customer service. When my printer needed new print heads less than a week out of the box, HP overnighted me a new printer, requesting I send the old one back in the arriving box. They also offered 1 year product replacement insurance.
So, why would I get rid of such a great machine?
1. The ink has a shelf-life. No kidding. Like milk, hp vivera inks have an expiration date. If you try to use these inks past that specified date, you will get an ugly message that says that continuing to use said inks will void your warranty. I happened to buy inks last fall to have on hand, not realizing that they expired in January 2010. Until I installed them. Oh yeah, and by the way, the only way to know when the expiration date is? You have to open the sealed packaging. At least milk prints the date on the outside of the packaging.
2. Did I mention the ink is really expensive?
3. The Vivera inks are water and scratch resistant, fade resistant to over 100 years. The catch? Only when printed on HP products.
The Ultrachrome K3 Ink for my Epson 2400 also claims the same caveats- color permanence and stability on premium Epson products. The big surprise is that Epson Ultrachrome K3 inks are stable, water resistant, and produce true colors on just about any good quality paper and canvas stock I have tested.
Which leads me to my final and most important reason:
4. The Elegance Velvet Fine Art Paper and Lyve Canvas from BreathingColor.com. Order a trial quatity of any of their products and they will include a sample of their papers and canvas. The richness and depth of the colors are breathtaking.
So, I bid my HP 9180 a civil adieu. I can't say I will miss it much because I haven't used it much after having thrown out over $200 worth of inks in January of this year.