Epson Expression Premium XP-800
print speed, USB, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless, 191x390x339mm
As its name suggests, the Expression Premium XP-800 sits near the top of Epson's new range of home MFPs. It has a top-notch specification, with a highlight being a scanner with a 4,800x4,800dpi optical resolution - that's a lot of detail, so it's a shame that there's no backlight for scanning old film negatives or slides. It also has a fax, and a 30-page ADF that works in duplex, allowing double-sided copies and faxes.
This is an easy printer to use, with a large colour touchscreen flanked by touch-sensitive controls which light up only when applicable, helping to reduce clutter. We also had no problems setting up the printer on our wireless network, either using WPS or by entering a passkey with the onscreen keyboard.
When you send the first print job the MFP's large control panel motors upwards to reveal the paper output tray, which extends automatically from the front. It doesn't close automatically when you turn the printer off, however, and we couldn't find a menu option to shut it; we assume you're meant to close everything manually, but doing so didn't quite feel right, leaving us with the suspicion we'd missed a trick. This MFP has two paper trays in its belly, with the lower one holding 100 sheets of A4 and the upper good for 20 photos. It will also print to suitable CDs, although the supplied media holder slots in under the paper trays with its front sticking out awkwardly.
This is a quick device, spitting out more than 16 pages of draft text in a minute, and managing an impressive 13.2ppm at the default print quality. It's not bad in colour either, delivering our graphics-heavy test at 4.0ppm. While it wasn't unusually fast to print two 10x8in photos, it was extremely quick to deliver six, 6x4in borderless prints, reeling off each in just a minute and 16 seconds. Photocopies were rapid too, with a 10-page colour copy taking just two and a half minutes.
Overall we were quite happy with the results. Scans were sharp, with faithful colours and well-preserved fine detailing. Graphics prints on plain paper were impressive, with powerful colours and even fills in areas of solid colour, while photographs were excellent, reproducing fine details and very accurate colours with no obvious grain. Regular black text was fine, but draft prints were somewhat faint and blocky. We also noticed a tendency with colour duplex printing for images to bleed through the 80gsm paper we used for our testing.
We love the comprehensive Professional mode in Epson's scan interface, but there are more simple options if you prefer
While this is a good general-purpose MFP, it's just too expensive, particularly given its very high 11.4p-per-page running costs. If you need its office-oriented features, Epson's own WorkForce WF-3540DTWF has it beaten. If you don't, the Canon PIXMA MG6350 is far better value.