Epson Expression Premium XP-800 review

Pros

  • Compact device
  • Fast printing speeds
  • Good photo printing quality
  • Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct support

Cons

  • Sub-par text quality
  • Limited paper capacity

As you can probably guess from its full name, the Epson Expression Premium XP-800 Small-in-One Printer (£199.99) is compact for a multifunction printer (MFP). But although small in size – which allows the device to fit in spaces that most other MFPs can't – it's large in terms of features and performance. Though primarily a home MFP, it adds enough business features to make it suitable for light-duty use in a home office as well.

The XP-800 prints, copies, faxes, and scans. You can fax either from the printer or from your computer (PC Fax). You can print from or scan to a USB drive or memory card, and scan to a PC or network folder, to email, and the cloud. It supports Google Cloud Print, Epson Connect – which lets you print by emailing the job to your printer – and Apple AirPrint.

The all-black XP-800 measures 390 x 340 x 190mm (WxDxH) when closed, and it weighs 9.5kg. The adjustable-tilt front panel includes a 3.5in gesture-based colour touchscreen. On top is a 30-page reversing automatic document feeder (ADF) for copying, scanning, and faxing two-sided documents.

The main paper tray is 100 sheets, fine for home use but low for a home office, and it adds a 20-sheet photo-paper tray, as well as the capacity to print on CDs and DVDs. There's also a rear paper feed for card stock and envelopes. The device has an automatic duplexer for printing on both sides of a sheet of paper.

To help with photo printing, in addition to cyan, magenta, yellow, and black cartridges, the XP-800 includes a photo black cartridge, and this produces good results, which we’ll come onto later in this review.

The XP-800 connects to a computer via USB, or to a network by Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or Wi-Fi Direct, which lets you quickly connect with any Wi-Fi-enabled mobile device. I tested it over an Ethernet connection with a PC running Windows Vista.

The XP-800 zipped through our business applications suite (as timed with QualityLogic’s hardware and software) at 5.2 effective pages per minute (ppm), a very nippy performance. It was equally fast at photo printing, averaging 26 seconds per 4 x 6 print.

The XP-800's overall output quality was average for an inkjet. Text quality was below par for an inkjet, fine for schoolwork or in-house business use but not for resumes or documents requiring smaller fonts. Graphics quality was typical of inkjets; issues included dithering (graininess, and in some places fine dot patterns). Also, some thin coloured lines were barely visible. Photos were above par; a photo with a dark background showed some tinting, but most of the prints were true photo quality, suitable for framing.

The XP-800's running costs of 4.6 cents (2.9 pence) per monochrome page and 13.4 cents (8.4 pence) per colour page, based on Epson's prices and yields of its most economical ink cartridges, are slightly on the high side, particularly when it comes to colour printing.

That said, the Epson Expression Premium XP-800 certainly has much to recommend it. The device boasts a good mix of home features and office-friendly features like fax, a wide range of connectivity choices, and a 30-sheet reversing ADF to give it some home office chops, though the 100-sheet standard paper capacity limits it to light-duty use in a home office.

Verdict

The XP-800 is fast at printing, flush with features, and has the convenience of a 3.5in touchscreen on board. Its paper capacity, text quality and running costs are slight weak spots, but the XP-800’s actual asking price represents good value for money. On the whole, this is a great package for home and home office use, and it’s worthy of a Best Buy award.

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