Gadling gear review – Epson Artisan 810 printer

Last year, we took the time to review the Epson Artisan 700 printer. Just like in that article, I’ll explain why I feel a good printer deserves some attention here on Gadling. Photos are an essential part of traveling – virtually ever traveler has made the switch to digital, so having access to a professional quality printer is a must in my opinion. If you are going to invest in a photo printer, it really does pay to pick the best you can get.

The Epson Artisan 810 is the newest member of the Artisan lineup, and it offers an amazing array of features.

The Artisan 810 combines a pro-grade printer with a very impressive scanner/copier and a fax machine. Inside the device is WiFi, ethernet and USB connectivity as well as a multifunction card reader and a USB port for camera connectivity and device charging.

Unlike most printers, the Artisan 810 offers the print sources – it can hold regular paper and photo paper at the same time. In addition to this, it also offers a built in CD printing tray. And to top it all off, the Artisan 810 even features a duplex unit, for double sided printing.

The Artisan 810 uses the same print cartridges as the Artisan 700 we reviewed, and as with that one, the quality is simply astounding. With the right color settings, I can’t see a difference between prints made on the Artisan 810, and those printed at my local warehouse store.

The scanner portion of the Artisan 810 is better than anything I’ve ever seen on any all-in-one device. Normally, these scanners feel like a cheap afterthought, and really only work for the occasional scan. The scanning unit in the 810 is brilliant – not only does it make fantastic scans, it also offers professional options like dust removal, color correction and back light settings. The Epson Easy Photo Fix feature can help restore old photos and make them look like new again. For the first time in my life, I actually had fun playing with a scanner. The scanner works using the USB connection on the printer, or the ethernet / WiFi networking connection.

You can scan to your PC or directly to an inserted memory card. The scanner can also produce PDF files without the need to convert anything.

Controlling the Artisan 810 is a real treat – on the front of the unit is a massive tilting touch panel. All the various features of the unit can be controlled through this panel. There are even various functions you can perform without the need for your computer. One of the neatest features is the “coloring book” setting – this scans a photo, and actually turns it into a coloring page for your kid(s). I went through about 30 photos making a personalized coloring book for my daughter.

The included software package includes a CD printing application, scanning application, printer driver update manager, settings application and a printer networking tool.

The Epson Artisan 810 retails for $299.99, but you can sometimes find it on sale at your electronics store for under $200, making it a real bargain. Especially this holiday season, I can highly recommend finding one as a gift for the photographer in your life.

Of course, as with most inkjet printers, the Artisan 810 has a real appetite for ink. The included cartridges are starter size, so you’ll need to invest in more ink after about 500 pages. These cartridges don’t come cheap – you need 5 colors and a black, and a total set will cost about $65 (or $85 for a high capacity set). This is in line with the ink cost of most printers nowadays.

PROS: Outstanding print quality, built in networking, double paper source, duplex unit, large touch screen
Hungry for ink, pricey

All in all, anyone who makes a lot of photos will get really good quality prints out of the Artisan 810. The scanner, copier and fax functions are outstanding, and its ability to connect over USB, WiFi and Ethernet make it a real all-rounder.