Epson Expression Home XP-102 review

A cheap MFP, but it's not that cheerful

17 Jan 2013
Our Rating 
2/5
Price when reviewed 
40
inc VAT

Specifications

print speed, USB, 145x390x300mm

Epson's Expression Home XP-102 is one of the cheapest MFPs you can buy. Accordingly, it's rather basic; there's no fax, the scanner is limited to a modest 600x1,200dpi resolution and Epson claims only a 6.2ipm maximum print speed in mono, and half that in colour. There's no support for wired or wireless networking, and the printer misses out on a fancy colour screen and associated features such as direct photo printing.

Epson Expression Home XP-102

Basic doesn't necessarily mean bad, however, and the XP-102 certainly doesn't feel cheap. The single paper input tray at the rear folds shut when not in use to prevent dust getting into the mechanism, and there's a small guard to prevent objects placed on the scanner lid rolling into the paper feed at other times, which could prove useful. The scanner lid itself is thin and flexible and its hinges allow only a millimetre or two of give for thick originals, but otherwise this MFP seems tough and functional.

The XP-105 takes cartridges from Epson's new Claria Home range and, unusually for an entry-level printer, they're available in regular and XL versions that are good for 470 pages (black) and 450 pages for each colour (up from 180 for the standard versions). Using the XL cartridges gives a cost per page of 9.6p, which is not unreasonable for such a cheap device, but Canon's similar PIXMA MP230 manages an even lower 8.5p. You fit the Epson's cartridges by tilting up the scanner bed, which is propped up by a plastic stay that's a little fiddly to release. There's only a single ink status light on the printer itself, so when a cartridge needs replacing you need the PC driver to tell you which one it is.

Epson Expression Home XP-102

We don't expect miracles from budget MFPs, but even so the XP-102 was disappointing in our tests. Its draft text speed of nearly 15ppm would be impressive if the results hadn't been so faint and blocky that they were near useless. At the default print quality the MFP was as slow as Epson's figures suggest, reaching 6ppm, and while the results were dark enough they still suffered from a sketchy outline, clearly visible to those with sharp eyes. At 1.6ppm colour prints were very slow, and again the results were a little sketchy. We could also see a couple of faint vertical lines running through large graphics.

Epson Expression Home XP-102 PhotoEnhance by default

The XP-102 offers borderless 6x4in photos, but can't do the same for A4 prints

Unfortunately these lines were also visible in photo prints. The prints also exhibited more grain than we'd prefer, but otherwise they weren't bad for a budget printer, with accurate colours and sharp details. Borderless photo prints are possible up to 6x4in, but not on A4. The XP-102 has a remarkably quiet scanner that's swift when operating within its modest optical resolution. The results weren't as sharp and detailed as we tend to expect from Epson scanners, but they were a match for other budget devices. Sadly, photocopies weren't so impressive, with our colour page taking on a wan, sickly tinge, and all copies appearing a little fuzzy.

Epson Expression Home XP-102 full auto mode

With the Full Auto mode it's possible to load original documents and scan them with a single click...

Epson Expression Home XP-102 mid-scan

...but for those who want it, Professional mode offers more features and excellent usability

With such lacklustre results, we can't recommend the XP-102. Although the Canon PIXMA MP230 doesn't allow any borderless printing, it's otherwise comprehensively better, and is slightly cheaper to buy and run.

Basic Specifications

Rating **
Maximum native print resolution 5,760x1,440dpi
Max optical resolution 600x1,200dpi
Output bit depth 24-bit

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.0 1h 6m 7s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.0 22m 24s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfaces USB
Optional printer interfaces none
Size 145x390x300mm
Weight 3.9kg
Noise (in normal use) 41dB(A)

Paper Handling

Maximum paper size A4/legal
Maximum paper weight 255gsm
Standard paper inputs 1
Standard paper input capacity 50
Maximum paper inputs 1
Maximum paper input capacity 50
Duplex (code, cost if option) No

General

Printer technology piezo inkjet
Supported operating systems Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later
Other inkjet features none
Other inkjet options none

Buying Information

Price £40
Consumable parts and prices £10
Price per colour A4 page 6.7p
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge 175 pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s) 180 pages each (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s) N/A
Warranty one year carry-in
Supplier http://www.amazon.co.uk
Details www.epson.co.uk

Print Quality

Number of ink colours 4
Number of ink cartridges 4
Maximum number of ink colours 4
Maximum number of cartridges 4
Quoted photo durability 98 years

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview 14s
A4 document at 150dpi 15s
A4 document at 300dpi 40s
6x4in photo at 600dpi 37s
6x4in photo at 1200dpi 1m 43s

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.0 16s
Time for single A4 colour copy 1.0 59s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.0 N/A

Photo Features

PictBridge support No
Borderless printing 6x4in, postcard
Direct (PC-less) printing No
Supported memory cards none
CD printing No

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies 1

Fax Features

Max mono fax resolution N/A
Fax memory (maximum mono pages) N/A