Epson’s Expression range of all-in-ones stretches from a simple entry-level machine up to the Expression Photo XP-850, which has all the extras you are likely to ask for. Although it has the Photo tag, mainly indicating that it’s a six-ink printer, it also includes an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) for its scanner and full fax functions.
The printer has a surprisingly small footprint to its largely glossy black case and when you lift it you can tell that a lot is being packed inside, because of its solid and heavy make-up. The top cover has a slight wave to it, indicating Epson’s inclusion of a 30-sheet ADF, where the centre section folds into a feed tray.
The control panel hinges out from the front surface of the printer and has an 88mm touchscreen in the centre, with dedicated touch buttons down either side. Below this is a flip-down cover for the two, separate paper trays. The top one of these takes 20 sheets of photo paper, while the bottom one takes only 100 sheets of plain paper, which seems a very small amount, even for a home printer.
There’s no option for an extra tray, either, though a flip-down cover at the rear provides access to a single sheet feed for envelopes and special media. Lastly, right at the bottom is a CD/DVD carrier, which pulls out and slots in above the trays for direct disc printing.
The output tray and the touchscreen control panel above work in a similar way to HPs Envy lifestyle all-in-ones, but only do half the job. If you start printing without opening the machine up, it very intelligently folds out the control panel to a convenient angle and powers out the output tray.
However, like machines further down the Expression range, getting this tray back in again involves pressing on its front edge against quite a graunchy-feeling mechanism. This is crazy, as the tray is obviously capable of being driven back in, in the same way it was driven out.
A flip-open cover on the left-hand side reveals slots for SD, MemoryStick and Compact Flash cards and there’s a USB socket with PictBridge support below this.
Sockets at the rear support USB, 10/100 Ethernet and phone line connection for the fax. Epson’s software bundle handles printing, scanning and faxing and there’s a three month trial of Corel Draw X6.