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Epson Expression Home XP-212 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £45
inc VAT

Great photo prints, a low price and tons of features make this an attractive all-in-one printer, but it can be slow

Recent additions to Epson’s Expression Home range of inkjet all-in-one printers have been cheap and cheerful by nature, but the Epson Expression Home XP-212 really works hard to keep your buying costs low. It’s not much to look at, but under the surface it has a lot to offer.

As well as its awkwardly recessed USB port, the MFP has built-in Wi-Fi and supports Epson’s iPrint apps for Android and iOS, making it easy to print whatever you need from popular mobile devices as well as desktop computers. The lack of a screen on an MFP with standalone printing and copying features does throw up a few limitations, though.

Epson Expression Home XP-212

With just one mono and one colour copy button, making multiple photocopies is a lot trickier than with MFPs that have a screen. The XP-212 has a tiny rear paper tray, too, capable of holding just 50 sheets of standard A4 printer paper, but we were pleased to find that it uses four individual ink cartridges, rather than a tri-colour cartridge system of the kind often used in budget printers and MFPs.

While the cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges use dye-based ink for optimal photo printing performance, the black ink cartridge is filled with pigment-based ink, designed to produce sharp text that doesn’t bleed. Even if you buy high yield ink cartridges, print costs are rather high at 11.5p per page of mixed black and colour, while a mono page is a somewhat more reasonable 3p.

Epson Expression Home XP-212

When it comes to the MFP’s core features, it’s fairly well specified, if slightly slow. Epson uses the realistic ipm (images per minute) standard in its quoted speeds and lists the all-in-one as having a mono print speed of 6.2ipm and a colour speed of 3.1ipm. Using our test documents, we saw speeds of 6ppm for a mono print job and a sluggish 1.6ppm for an admittedly challenging set of heavily illustrated colour documents.

Epson Expression Home XP-212 Print Quality

It might be slow, but the XP-212 is rather good and handling brightly coloured illustrations and charts. Some dark areas showed marks left by the print head, but in generally we were pleased by its sharp, vivid reproduction of our graphical document. Unfortunately, its reproduction of text in the same document, particularly at small sizes, left something to be desired. 8pt serif text was legible, which is the critical point, but lettering was visibly jagged. Fortunately, this improves when it comes to larger point sizes and sans serif text.

The 12pt text of our mono letter looks as we’d expect from a budget inkjet. There are some flaws visible upon close examination, but nothing that makes it any way jarring or uncomfortable to read. You’ll want to avoid draft mode, though. It is admittedly very fast at 14.9ppm, but we can think of few situations in which most people would want to put up with the very pale with several white lines running through each letter.

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Basic Specifications

Maximum native print resolution5,760×1,440dpi
Max optical resolution1,200×2,400dpi
Output bit depth24-bit

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A46ppm
Quoted speed, colour A43ppm

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.012m 37s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.022m 43s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB, 802.11n wireless
Optional printer interfacesnone
Noise (in normal use)53dB(A)

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeup to A4
Maximum paper weight255gsm
Standard paper inputs1
Standard paper input capacity50
Maximum paper inputs1
Maximum paper input capacity50
Duplex (code, cost if option)No


Printer technologypiezo inkjet
Supported operating systemsWindows XP/Vista/7/8, Mac OS X 10.5.8+, Android, iOS
Other inkjet featurescloud printing
Other inkjet optionsnone

Buying Information

Consumable parts and prices£13 each
Price per colour A4 page8.5p
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge175 (ISO/IEC 24711)
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)180 (ISO/IEC 24711)
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s)N/A
Warrantyone year RTB

Print Quality

Number of ink colours4
Number of ink cartridges4
Maximum number of ink colours4
Maximum number of cartridges4
Quoted photo durability98 years
Quoted photo durability sourceEpson

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview14s
A4 document at 150dpi14s
A4 document at 300dpi33s
6x4in photo at 600dpi35s
6x4in photo at 1200dpi2m 15s

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.017s
Time for single A4 colour copy 1.047s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.0N/A

Photo Features

PictBridge supportNo
Borderless printingup to A4
Direct (PC-less) printingYes
Supported memory cardsSDXC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo, microSDXC, Memory Stick Micro (M2)
CD printingNo

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies20
Max mono copy resolution1,200dpi
Max colour copy resolution1,200dpi

Fax Features

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