Epson claims a modest 8.5ppm for the Expression Photo XP-950 printing black and 8.0ppm printing colour pages. We got pretty close to these speeds in our tests, with 6.4ppm on the 5-page black text, rising to 7.5ppm on the 20-page test. In its fairly pale draft mode, the printer managed 10.3ppm.
A 20-side duplex print gave 4.7 sides per minute. A single page of A3 print took 47s, though the loading procedure is a bit fiddly. You have to set the print job running and then follow instructions on the touchscreen to load a single sheet before the print begins.
An A4 copy took 29s and 15 x 10cm photos ranged between 39s and 1:09, depending on source. We printed from a PC, an SD card, a PictBridge camera and a Samsung Galaxy Young Android phone, using Epson’s iPrint utility. This is a much better featured phone and tablet app than most provided by printer companies. An A3 photo from a PC took 2:50.
The prints we obtained were generally good, though black text on plain paper looks slightly fuzzy, compared with the best Canon and HP can produce. Colours are bright and black text over colour is well registered, though a colour copy lost some definition and was particularly poor in reproducing reversed text, white on black.
Photo prints, as you would expect from Epson, are very good. They’re exceptionally clear, with smooth colour gradations, plenty of detail in bright and shadowed areas of images and good rendition of natural tones.
There has been a trend in recent months for cartridge multipacks to offer less of a saving over individual cartridges, but here it’s the cheapest way of buying your inks, by a couple of pounds. We calculate page costs at 2.8p for black and 9.3p for colour, both of which are better than average, though perhaps expected on a premium priced machine.
This machine goes up directly against models such as Brother’s MFC-J4710DW, though the Brother machine costs £100 less. Although it has the same occasional A3 print, prints nearly 50 percent faster than this Epson and includes an ADF and fax, it uses a four-colour print engine and doesn’t have the CD/DVD print. It’s not as geared to the photo enthusiast as this machine.
The Epson Expression Photo XP-950 is a well-made, high-end all-in-one for home use, where photographs form a noticeable part of the print mix. While it may not offer the best overall feature-set for general use, it brings together many of the features required in a modern, wireless printer and its photo output is superb.