The market for A3 inkjet printers is much smaller than for A4 ones, but there are still a lot of people, mainly photographers and graphic artists, who need the extra size. Epson's Stylus Photo 1400 is a replacement for the Stylus Photo 1290 and has a number of improvements over its predecessor.
Styled in black and silver, this is a large machine, but Epson has done what it can to reduce the size when it's not in use. The large telescopic paper-out tray folds right back into the front of the machine and a similar telescopic feed tray folds down and completes the clean lines of its top surface. The front cover folds down to reveal access for printing CDs.
There are the standard three buttons down the right-hand side of the machine for controlling paper feed, cartridge replacement and power, but there’s also a PictBridge socket on the left-hand side, so you can directly connect a digital camera. A socket at the rear takes a USB 2.0 cable for connection to a PC.
The large print head carrier takes six ink cartridges, with light cyan and light magenta added to the regular four. They all clip into place easily and, after a short period of priming, are ready to use. Although there are no statistics to support this, the printer appears to go through fewer cleaning cycles than previous wide carriage inkjet machines, so less ink is wasted when you print intermittently.
Installation is very easy and takes little time – halfway through the setup you’re instructed to connect the printer and it’s seen as soon as you plug-in the cable. Epson provides its Creativity Suite and a CD print utility, as well as the driver. Paper from 15 x 10cm blanks all the way up to A3+ sheets can be loaded in the feed tray and although the printer is designed for photos, it will happily print to plain paper as well.
This is not a particularly quick plain paper machine, but it's still faster than the Stylus Photo 1290 was. It completed our five-page, black text print in 2:02, which gives it a real-world print speed of 2.45ppm, rather slower than the 15ppm in the spec sheet, but faster than the 2.14ppm recorded for the five-page, mixed text and graphics test. The final plain paper test is five pages of A3 and here the Stylus Photo 1400 took 3:54.