Epson Expression Home XP-445 and XP-442

Score

Pros

  • Decent print quality
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Standard and XL cartridge options
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Low-capacity paper tray
  • Slow colour prints
  • High long-term running costs

Key Features

  • Review Price: £50
  • Push-button controls
  • 100 standard A4 sheet capacity, 20 photo sheet capacity
  • USB and Wi-Fi connections
  • Flatbed scanner
  • Print from apps

What is the Epson Expression Home XP-445?

The Expression Home XP-445 is the white version of the XP-442. Both models can be had for around £50 from various UK high street retailers. It comes equipped with a flatbed scanner, separate inks and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Related: Best printers

Epson Expression Home XP-445 – Design and features

This neat white box has a small footprint, though this is enlarged when printing, as you have to pull out the paper feed and output trays. Even then, Epson’s catchphrase ‘small-in-one’ is deserved.

You can load up to 100 sheets of plain paper into the near-vertical tray at the back of the printer, and this can be exchanged for photo paper when necessary. The flat lid of the machine folds up to reveal a flatbed scanner and at the bottom of the front panel is a pull-out tray, with a flip-over paper stop.

Epson Expression Home XP-445 open

Higher up at the front is a hinged control panel, with a 68mm colour LCD. This isn’t a touchscreen, but the straightforward press button controls next to the display are easy to use and offer good tactile feedback.

Hinge up the scanner section of the machine and you have access to the four separate ink cartridges, which clip easily into their holders in the print head, so maintenance is simple.

At the back is a single USB port, but all the best features of the machine work through wireless, so this is the preferred link. As well as being able to connect to a local network, the machine works with iOS and Android Epson apps to print directly from portable devices and can print remotely though the company’s own software.

Epson Expression Home XP-445 – Print speed, quality and running costs

Epson claims spectacular print speeds for the Expression Home XP-445, with 33ppm for mono and 15ppm for colour. Under test, I couldn’t get close to either figure. Our 5-page mono document gave 5.8ppm, though this increased to 12.5ppm for the 20-page, long document. This is still only just over a third of the claimed speed.

The colour speed is slower still, measured at 2.7ppm, which is again below Epson’s claims.

A single-page copy completed in 39s and 15 x 10cm photo prints took around 1:30, both of which are good times.

Print quality on plain paper is good, though not as clean as from thermal-printhead printers from Canon and HP. Colours are also fair, with fills in graphics looking solid – no signs of dithering. Epson has always had a good name for photo prints and that’s carried on here. Both pastel and bright hues are reproduced as they should be and look natural, though there’s some loss of detail in darker and shadowed areas of images.

The four separate ink cartridges are available in standard and XL versions, and using the XL products from the cheapest sources I could find gives running costs of 4.8p per mono page and 14.4p for colour, including 0.7p for paper in both cases.

Both of these figures are high with, for comparison, the more expensive MAXIFY MB2050 costing 1.7p and 3.7p on the same measure. Those figures were using multipack cartridges on the Canon, however. Multipacks are available for the Expression Home XP-445, too, but appear very little cheaper than four individual cartridges.

Should I buy the Epson Expression Home XP-445?

This is a nicely made little printer, with a compact footprint, but there are rivals, like Canon’s £40 PIXMA MG4250 and HP’s Officejet 3831. The Canon machine has a flip-up LCD, and is cheaper to run. The print quality on plain paper is also crisper than from this Epson.

HP’s £35 Officejet has running costs of 4p per page, even for A4 colour photos, if you use Instant Ink. It also has an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) as standard, so you can scan and copy multi-page documents easily. Its 55mm LCD display is mono, though and its paper tray can take only 60 sheets at a time. Still, with the Officejet 3831, HP has the sub-£40 market rather well cornered.

Verdict

A compact, well-featured all-in-one that’s good at working with PCs and mobile devices alike, but lacking in unique features to set it apart from rivals.

Score

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