In many ways Epson’s Expression Premium XP-800 is similar to the Expression Photo XP-850 we reviewed a couple of months back and yet is nearly £60 cheaper. There’s one primary difference though; whereas the XP-850 uses six colours, with light cyan and light magenta added to the standard CMYK set, the XP-800 employs five, adding a photo black instead.
The Epson Expression Premium XP-800 is a good-looking all-in-one, with a surprisingly small footprint, due to Epson's Small-in-One redesign. Although it's a bit deeper than its predecessors, it’s width that counts and the XP-800 takes up less of your desk than most of its rivals.
The shallow S-curve to its top conceals a 30-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) while the flatbed scanner lid triggers a change on the 88mm colour LCD when lifted, showing scan, copy and fax options. The 8.8cm LCD display offers touch-screen control albeit without gesture support, which is ably supported by six dedicated touch icons ranged down each side of the display.
The control panel powers out to a convenient angle when the machine starts printing, though it then feels a little flimsy when touched, as you're pushing against the drive mechanism.
The output tray powers out at the same time, though it's a mystery why tray and screen don't power in again when you turn the printer off – it would only mean reversing the motors. Instead, you have to push them back against their mechanisms, which feels rough, as if you're forcing something.
At the bottom are two feed trays, one for up to 100 sheets of plain paper and the other for 20 photo blanks. Projecting from the front at desk level is a CD/DVD carrier, which can be slid into place for direct disc printing and, at the back, there's a single-sheet feed for special media with a rather flimsy, fold-up paper support.
To the left of the output trays, a flip-open cover reveals memory card slots for SD and MemoryStick cards and, unusually, CompactFlash too. Below this is a front-panel USB socket, which can also handle Pictbridge cameras.
USB and 10/100 Ethernet connections are provided and a quick-setup wireless link is also available. The five cartridges plug in once the scanner section has been folded up and software includes ABBYY FineReader Sprint OCR.