The Epson PictureMate was one of the best of the industry’s first round of dedicated 10x15cm photo printers when it debuted in the second half of last year. I reviewed it myself back in August and its excellent, durable reproductions and good built quality set it apart from hp’s Photosmart 375 and Lexmark’s P315, though Canon’s Selphy CP500 was also top notch. Well, now there’s an update.
The Epson PictureMate 500 is more of a revision than a replacement. It has a faster output speed (77 verses 114 seconds, thanks to USB2.0), and slightly smaller ink droplets (2pl against 2.5pl) but the print resolution (5760 x 1440 dpi), paper handing (20 sheets), measurements, weight, noise and even power consumption remain virtually identical.
The major change is the new 2.4in colour LCD screen, an invaluable feature to anyone who likes to edit and choose their pictures independent of a PC or on the move (a Lithium ion battery is built in so it can work away from the mains). The downside is it does bump the price up to £179 including VAT (a sizeable cost for mini printer).
In its favour though, it takes a huge range of media cards including SD, Memory Stick,
Compact Flash and SmartMedia and supports PictBridge, USB Direct Print, DPOF output and Print Image Matching. An optional Bluetooth adapter allows prints to be taken directly from devices such as Bluetooth enabled camera phones.
Epson also quotes reduced costs of 29p per photo, but this pretty much matches the costs I calculated for the original PictureMate.
Should the screen and faster output be important factors for you (and you can afford the extra expense) then you'll be able to trot down to the stores for one at the end of the month.