Published on November 28th, 2012 | by Greg0
Epson Expression Premium XP-800: A Printer With Everything
We’re approaching the holidays, the time of year when our printers kick into overdrive. Every day, it’s something new: brochures and pamphlets advertising the sites, photos of the gadgets and gear we’re testing, and of course the ever-essential Christmas cards. Sometimes. we’re printing from our iPads or iPhones- see the just-published review of the xPrintServer Home Edition- but today’s printer model makes it easier than ever. And we scan plenty of documents as well, from bills to business cards.
And while we’ve seen many printers, our favorite general-purpose models tend to come from Epson. Today, we present their latest: the Expression Premium XP-800. As with most all of their recent models, wi-fi connectivity as well as ethernet is built-in and this one is one of the “all-in-ones” that can scan, copy, print, as well as fax and even handle two-sided printing. We didn’t test the fax portion, but did take the printer out for a few hundred page test spin.
Here’s what we found: not a lot has changed, but where the updates are noticeable, they are positive. A year ago, we checked out the Artisan series, which as the name suggests, was targeted primarily at photographers or those who want solid photo printing. Before that, it was the WorkForce 840, which offered speed and a quite reasonable price point for small and home office users. This new model comes in between the two for black and white printing speeds, at a round 12 pages per minute (ISO)- but color printing is improved actually to 11 ppm. This is also a five-cartridge device, with CMYK and a photo black, and there is support for both Windows and PCs (though no Windows 8 support is listed, and the included disk does not include the appropriate drivers, we had no trouble downloading and installing them from Epson’s website).
As always, we were impressed by the photos that Epson manages: deep, dark black and bright colors, with nice balance and no visible dots or streaking. Resolution is impressive: they claim up to 5760 x 1440. Text was not quite as sharp. It’s also quite compact- everything slides together and hides away for a nice visual appearance, and the 3.5 inch touchscreen is responsive and attractive. This part has definitely improved, using the touchscreen is now easy and convenient. The primary paper tray holds up to 100 sheets- some folks might want more, but we were satisfied, especially considering the footprint. The last factor to consider is the cost over time, and while we end up basing these largely on manufacturer numbers, they seem on par with other competitive inkjet models.
Overall, the Expression series might be the wrong choice for those who print mostly text, or for users who only need to print an occasional document. Epson offers other models better suited to those purposes, but this general-use, utility printer is great for all-around medium-level use. If you need a solid performer that’s a decent value, the Expression Premium Xp-800 is a great pick. Available now for just under $300.