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Published on December 15th, 2010 | by Heather

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Epson: Bang For Your Buck This Holiday

Epson has really made a name for itself in the world of technology- for printers like those that we’ve checked out before, but also for a few categories of products that we have not. Today, we not only check out two of their newest printers, but also one of their best and brightest projectors. Each product fulfills a particular niche in the market and all have ideal reasons to make them a part of your home or work station. You can check out any of the “Epson”:http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/jsp/index.do products on their website.

We’ll start with the “Epson WorkForce 635 All-in-One Printer”:http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/jsp/Product.do?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&sku=C11CA69201- a small business or home office printer that is perfect for the person printing mostly text and in need of flexible options and speed. What we particularly loved about this model was the no strings attached, easy set-up and go. Simpletons could handle the configuration and our laptop found the printer instantly with no manual settings. However, Mac systems are not quite as straightforward and might take a little finessing.

You can easily scan multiple pages at 2400 dpi, single or two-sided, and have them sent directly to email with the automatic document feeder (in specific settings, to a computer connected via USB only). The fax, scanner, and copier all seem to be up to typical Epson standards and we have no complaint with the features. The sizable paper tray fits up to 250 sheets and a front USB port is fairly standard these days but allows convenient access to photos or documents from a thumb drive. Wireless connectivity is built-in- and it’s not just 802.11b or g, but 802.11 (still new, but made printing and wireless scanning remarkably fast). 15 pages per minute, at black ISO standard, is quite good and make this printer the best bang-for-the-buck small office inkjet printer we’ve seen.

Our only suggestion to Epson is to bring back the larger buttons that were on the 500. These seem a little small and hard to read/see. “We were able to find the WorkForce 635 on Amazon for around $160″:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003XDU8PI?ie=UTF8&tag=trulyobscure-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B003XDU8PI- an incredible deal considering the broad feature set, low cost per page, and Epson build.

 

The “Epson Artisan 835 Inkjet”:http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/jsp/Product.do?sku=C11CA73201 is pretty much what it sounds like- built distinctly for artists, photographers, and home users who have the need for electrifying color photos from a fairly small, wireless-N printer. What’s unique about Epson’s photographic Claria Hi-Definition ink is the six different color cartridges, each of which can be changed and purchased separately. A bit of technical trivia: the DX5 MicroPiezo print head can divulge as little as 1.5 picoliters- which means smoother gradations providing you with the clarity and grain-free photos you can treasure.

We were blown away by how fast a 4×6 print came whizzing out of this machine. Not only did the 4800 dpi resolution spirit us away, we had a color photo in about 10 seconds. Software is included that lets you create coloring books, invitations and greeting cards from your own pictures, and we particularly liked the main panel on the 835- the 7.8in touch panel replaces most of the buttons and includes a 3.5in LCD screen to preview your work.

We also decided to pull some photos from storage that were not framed or hung around the house due to some major red eye. As a blue-eyed individual, red eye seems to be my worst nightmare where photographs are concerned. The 835 allows you to correct red eye onboard and our results were a lot better than expected. Though not entirely perfect, the pictures are at least coming out of the album. The auto photo correction can help with correcting over or under exposed photos, as well as those faded or worn.

You can “purchase this printer from Amazon for around $160″:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003XDU8OE?ie=UTF8&tag=trulyobscure-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B003XDU8OE, the same price as the WorkForce. Deciding between them is easy- are you printing photos, or mostly text? And would you like a larger paper tray, automatic document feeder and faster printing or a nifty touch screen and crisper scanning at double the resolution?

We can’t speak for you but we enjoy watching things on the largest possible screen- something that projectors do best. Sure, they have their downsides, requiring a fair bit of throw distance, a fairly dark room, and that you not block the source. But they offer distinct advantages as well- lighter and typically less expensive, you can have a giant wall covered in the glow of your entertainment in moments. Epson has unveiled their new projector, “the EX7200 Multimedia”:http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/jsp/Product.do?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&sku=V11H367120. It provides that theatre feel in the comfort of our own home. The WXGA (1280×800) resolution projects a 16:10 image and they claim that entails about 30% more image area than with your typical projector. The EX7200 delivers 2600 lumens of output, more than enough to watch during the day in a dim room, and plenty to impress in the evenings.

There are a few different connectivity options- typical RCA video, S-video, or VGA, as well as HDMI, but no component on this model (or mini-jack in or out). You can also connect simply by plugging a USB cable into your computer- easy for taking your laptop on the go for presentations. You can also watch PC-free slideshows so if you feel the need to re-live your 21st birthday and tequila shots all in one night, simply use any USB drive and regal your friends with tales about how that was your first time. This is an LCD, not a DLP, projector- some prefer one over the other, for various reasons like color balance and artifacting and refresh rates that don’t matter so much anymore. Blacks weren’t great here, but

The instant-off function allowed power to be shut off instantaneously, so there was no cool down process to speak of- instant-on allows basically the same thing on startup. We remember our old projector and the fear of burning out bulbs and ruining the whole darned thing, which can be quite costly. Also, the bulbs are claimed to have up to a 5000 hour lifetime, but of course assume the lowest brightness settings and such- real-world use is likely to be a bit under 4000, which is still excellent. And replacement bulbs are reasonably priced, comparatively. Throw distance was impressive, and fan noise decent- 37 decibels officially, but we found closer to 35, and an Eco mode can reduce that to under 30. The built-in speakers were… well, barely audible really, but that’s to be expected from a fairly lightweight unit (about 5 pounds).

Epson thought of everything, even including a nylon carrying case, beyond the typical remote. The velcro strap secures the projector into the case and it was a nice touch. And a sliding lens cover protects the lens nicely, something that many projectors lack. For “about $700 online, the Epson”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00433SN7M?ie=UTF8&tag=trulyobscure-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00433SN7M is an excellent business-class projector that also serves as a decent TV, gaming, and movie projector at home- a balance between portable and feature-rich, with excellent brightness and bulb life. Our only real complaint was the slightly loud fan and lack of audio options- important when dealing with HDMI.

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About the Author

Heather Millward is a contributor to the website as well as a stay-at-home wife (not by choice). She has lived in Iowa, San Francisco, and most recently, Arizona. Her goal is to travel, write a book, and quit killing Zombies as she has become quite obsessed with "Call of Duty" and might need an intervention. She enjoys food, wine, reading, and the return of Arrested Development. Heather considers herself to be a fashionista and though she didn't end up at FIDM as originally planned, she considers Trina Turk, Tory Burch, Burberry, and Chanel to be among her favorites. After she wins the powerball jackpot, she has planned a lengthy shopping trip to Neiman Marcus. Though she graduated from a University with the mascot of a Peacock and has never worked in Public Administration, she has done her fair share of sales and advertising.



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