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.

Product review – Epson Artisan 700 all-in-one inkjet printer

In this product review, I’m going to give you a quick look at the newest generation color all-in-one unit from Epson.

The Artisan 700 combines a photo printer, regular printer, scanner and CD printer in one stylish unit. As you can see from the photo above, the Artisan 700 does not look as boring as most other printers, and will certainly help brighten up your office/desk area.

The printer can be connected to your computer using three different methods; USB, Wi-Fi or Ethernet (wired). This also means it can be shared by multiple computers in the household, which is perfect if you have a personal computer as well as a work PC that needs access to a printer.
The front of the Artisan 700 has a tilting control panel with a fairly large display. On the panel you’ll also find 16 buttons, used to select the various features of the printer, and take advantage of the printing and scanning options that can be performed without a computer. To the right of the panel is a card reader and USB connector for connecting to a digital camera. The card reader accepts Compact Flash, SD, XD and Memory Stick formats.

Below the control panel is the paper tray, and that brings me to one of the best features of the Artisan 700; the paper tray holds both regular paper and photo paper at the same time, which means you will no longer have to keep replacing paper every time you want to switch between media.

The third printing tray is hidden inside the printer, and holds CD’s. When you press the CD tray button on the control panel, the machine makes a bunch of clicking noises, and out pops a CD printing tray. To print on a CD or DVD, you will need to purchase special printable discs, these are fairly easy to find, and only cost a few bucks more than a normal 25 or 50 pack.

As I mentioned earlier, the printer has several features built in that can be performed without a PC, these include a copy function, photo viewer (with greeting card option and CD print option), scan to memory card and an option to print ruled papers or graph paper.

Of course, the most important thing a printer can do, is print. And that is one thing the Artisan 700 does quite phenomenally. The machine impressed me both in speed, noise and print quality. Regular documents (I used a full page Word document) print in under 10 seconds, photos on 4×6 or 5×7 photo paper are done in about a minute, full page photos take about 3 minutes when printed on premium paper in the best quality setting.

Included in the retail package is of course the printer itself, as well as 7 ink cartridges. The printer holds 5 color cartridges and one black cartridge, and Epson includes one spare black cartridge as it tends to run out first.

The ink retails for just under $50 for the color multipack and $25 for the black cartridge. After several hundred prints, in various sizes, the printer is down to about half its ink capacity.

The scanner on the Artisan 700 was equally impressive, Epson has a long history of making high quality scanners, and it shows in this product. Photo scans are vibrant and very sharp.

Despite all the great features, there is one area where the Artisan 700 does not always perform as it should – the Ethernet and Wi-Fi interfaces are no very reliable, and I regularly ran into problems connecting with the printer, or kept getting errors that the printer was in use by someone else (I was the only user connected to it at the time).

Of course, these issues could be resolved by a software update in the future, or by connecting the unit to USB and ignoring the network ports.

The Artisan 700 has an MSRP of $199, but can often be found for as little as $149.99. At this price point, it is one of the cheapest network enabled all-in-one machines on the market. The Artisan 700 has a big sister, the Artisan 800. The 800 adds the ability to send and receive fax messages, as well as a sheet-feed scanner.

I’m quite impressed with the Artisan 700, there is no denying that the cost of ink may be a deal breaker for many, but for day to day work at home with the occasional photo or CD print, it will not disappoint you. The print quality is outstanding, and almost on par with the commercial prints you pick up at the local drugstore. CD prints are absolutely fantastic, and allow you to do quite a bit more with your photos than just let them collect dust.