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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Review - New Printer-Epson Artisan 700

I would give this printer 4 out of 5 stars. Why only 4? Some of the parts, particularly in the paper trays, seem pretty light duty and I'm half afraid of breaking them every time I touch them. Now for the rest of my review.

I bought the Epson Artisan 700 because of two major features - Networking (Wireless or wired) and CD/DVD printing. All of my previous color printers have been HP and I've had photo and all-in-one versions. I still own one of each, but I needed new ink and for not much more than twice the price of a complete set of ink I could get this printer and get those two major features I mentioned and it looks like they include a full ink pack, not a just a "starter" like some companies. What the heck, I wanted to help stimulate the economy and who can resist a new toy? I chose to hook it up in the network using the cable, since it is only a few feet from the router, and set-up on all three computers including the laptop (which is in the network wirelessly) was a piece of cake. They all work perfectly so far. I'm very happy with the prints for photos, presentation papers, DVDs and normal documents. I've printed from the computers and from an SD card and also made a quick copy on cheap all-purpose paper. I wish all computer components and accessories worked this well right out of the box!!! Ink usage has been a big issue in several reviews. I've only had mine for a week or so, but I've printed a fair amount including quite a few test photos and if the ink levels graphic is accurate then the ink usage is about what I'm used to. According to the display very little ink was used in the initialization of the printer. And, OBTW, in my box there was a bonus cartridge of black ink which I have not needed yet. Epson is not going to like this next part, but I will tell you there is a photo paper called Ilford Galerie that works extremely well with this printer and makes absolutely beautiful prints. It comes out of the printer apparently smudge proof (I didn't try it with wet fingers or water) and is bright and vibrant. It's about 1/3 the cost of Epson Ultra Premium photo paper and looks equally good (my Baccalaureate degree is in Art/Photography). I read some independent reviews on the web that say that in direct sun tests the Ilford actually holds up better. Speaking of paper. I had a couple hundred sheets of HP photo paper and so naturally I tried that. Oops - that would be a definite NO-GO! Think of oil and water. Epson and HP use totally different systems and they are not compatible.

BOTTOM LINE: I always keep my box and all packing materials for a few weeks - just in case. The box went to the trash today. This one is a keeper!

I bought the printer and the paper at Sam's Club. Amazon recently dropped their price on the printer to the same as Sam's but the paper is still significantly more at Amazon than Sam's. $20.88 for a box of 100 sheets of 8.5 X 11 inch at Sam's - Almost 3 times that amount at Amazon. Looking at prices today it appears that Amazon might be - by far - the best place to get the Epson brand replacement ink.

Addendum:  Posted Oct. 10, 2009

The printer is still great, but it is a bit of an ink hog.  If you buy it, and I suspect the newere models may be similar, prepare to spend money on ink.  Also, sometimes it can be hard to find, other than on the Epson site, where you will pay full retail.  Just a heads up. 

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