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Epson Expression Photo XP-850: Performance and Verdict

By Simon Williams



Our Score:


Epson Expression Photo XP-850: Performance

Epson rates the Expression Photo XP-850 at 32 pages in mono and colour, though it does also publish ISO figures of 9.5ppm mono and 9.0ppm colour. Where it gets 32ppm from we guess only Epson knows. Our five-page black text document gave 6.7ppm and this rose to 11.5ppm in draft mode.

The 20 page document, printed in normal mode, gave 7.9ppm, so not too far off the ISO figures. Automatic duplex is standard on this machine and our 20 page document printed as 10 duplex pages produced 4.6 sides per minute, which is quite a bit quicker than, for example, Canon's high-end all-in-one, the PIXMA MG8250.

Epson Expression Photo XP-850 - Speeds and Costs

A single-page colour copy took 27s from the flatbed and a five-page black text copy fed from the ADF completed in 56s. 15 x 10cm photos took from a very speedy 35s to a still more than respectable 1:03, depending on the print source. Printing from Epson’s Android application is quick and easy and gives a bit more control than many apps of this type.

Epson Expression Photo XP-850 - Open

Print quality is Epson’s usual mixture, with rather heavy-looking black text showing some ink feathering counterbalanced by superb photos, with plenty of intricate detail and near ideal colour rendition, even in those darker shadowed areas.

In between, colour graphics are reasonably solid and black over colour registration is good, though a colour photocopy looked washed out, with reversed text very muddy against a black which was only dark grey.

Epson Expression Photo XP-850 - Cartridges

Epson’s Elephant inks come in two yields, though even the high yield is comparatively low. Page costs come out at a reasonable 3.3p for black and slightly pricey but still acceptable 10.4p for colour - all told, not bad for a six-ink printer.


As a top-of-the-range photo all-in-one, the Epson Expression Photo XP-850 is a bit of a mixed bag. While it has a lot of the functions you would expect from a premium machine, some design choices, such as its inability to fold its trays away, and it’s indifferent print quality on plain paper, don’t fit expectations. You need to compare it against high-end offerings from Canon and HP.


November 30, 2012, 6:59 pm

I had looked forward to this as a replacement for my PX720WD. I had understood that it had a single sheet facility. However, according to the specification in the review, the maximum 'paper' weight is 255gsm. If that is right, it is no better than the 'round the bend' printing of the 720.

Is it so limited? I was looking forward to a printer that would deal with heavier stock for greeting cards and the like. 255 is only moderate weight for that purpose.


January 21, 2013, 10:13 pm

I just purchased the XP 800 unit which overall I am very pleased with but I agree with this review on the outoput tray retraction issue which is shares with the 850. It is very odd that the motorised control panel and output tray opens automatically but will not retract, having to be closed manually. I have read various reviews on the web that say this is normal but I can't quite believe it I'm afraid. The tray is clearly motorised and could retract after printing and removal of print job just as easily as it opens. It feels odd to push the tray back in and you can clearly feel the resistance of the motorised mechanism. I have also seen this review that stated clearly that in the review model the output tray "When idle, the control panel and output tray retract automatically,...." http://www.computershopper....

I have seen the control panel close once automatically but never again since.

What has gone wrong with the firmware/drivers etc that means that this no longer happens? Has this been disabled in the driver software updates for some reason since that review?

The FAQ on the US support webpage has also only just appeared as it is flagged as new on 09/01/2013; it does not appear on the UK webpage. In addition, the manual explicitly mentions the manual opening and adjustment of the control panel but does not mention the output tray has to be manually closed.

What are you not telling us Epson?


August 28, 2013, 8:46 pm

If Darth Vader had a printer it would look like this...


December 20, 2013, 8:51 pm

Although I love the quality photo prints of epson I am ready to go postal on the tech & customer support - in over 6 years of printers I've only had 1 exceed it's warentee and have frequently had to have replacements replaced within a few weeks or even days. Less than a month ago I had to have my xp-850 replaced due to ink output the replacement didn't work and I could not take a chance of getting another lemon so I purchased a BRAND NEW one along with the replacement and now in just a few weeks neither one of them work - AGAIN!!! Same problem - ink nozzles. I really don't know why I continue with this company other than I just dont' know what other printer in this price range is any better with the same quality of photo prints. The minor things like tray retractions do not bother me one bit compared with other problems that require replacements and replacements of replacements.

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