The third way is for thick media, and here you fold down the front cover of the printer, which has a paper feed attached to its back. You feed paper or card from front to back, making sure there’s sufficient room behind the machine for it to feed fully out.
Colour quality from this printer was a bit variable. We started with some black text, not the main task for a printer like this, but something it might still get called on to produce. Black text came through dark grey, even though the printer offers a full photo black. When we printed the text and graphics page, again a plain paper print, the colours came out pale and washed-out, too.
Switching to glossy photo paper for our colour photo print produced an excellent result, with a very natural rendition; plenty of foreground detail and a beautifully smooth gradation from light to dark blue in the sky. Good shadow detail, too.
We printed a couple of A3 photos, one in greyscale and the other full colour. There are two photo settings in the driver, marked Photo and Best Photo. Both took the same time to print, within a second, but the Best Photo output is noticeably more neutral in its greys and has higher contrast – the straight Photo print had a slight brown cast in some light.
Finally, the colour image we printed, of a Caribbean T-shirt and trinket shop, was a riot of well-reproduced reds and yellows, at both 15 x 10cm and A3 sizes.
We had to go with Epson published figures for page use on this machine, which give the cost of a 10.5 per cent black A4 page, using the three black inks, at just under 39p and a full-colour, 35.5 per cent A4 page at just over 46p. Both of these figures are very reasonable, given the quality of colour we obtained, but the test cartridge ink-levels appeared to fall faster than we would have expected. We suspect A3 photo prints will empty them rather quickly. Each cartridge cost just under £8, so over £60 for a full set.
Epson has really tried with this machine to provide a semi-pro finishing printer or a professional-level proofing machine. The flexibility of its paper handling, combined with its three-black greyscale printing, will see it adopted in a number of different business and creative offices, where its undoubted high print quality will shine through.