- Three paper feed sources
- Touch panel controls
- Unusually small footprint
- Tray and display won’t auto-retract
- Much slower print than claims
- 100-sheet main paper tray
- Review Price: £188.00
- 6-colour photo printing
- Direct CD/DVD print
- Wireless print from mobiles
- 30-sheet ADF
- Fax functions
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.
Epson Expression Photo XP-850: Design
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.
Epson Expression Photo XP-850: Performance
Epson rates the Expression Photo XP-850 at 32 pages in mono and colour, though it does also publish ISO figures of 9.5ppm mono and 9.0ppm colour. Where it gets 32ppm from we guess only Epson knows. Our five-page black text document gave 6.7ppm and this rose to 11.5ppm in draft mode.
The 20 page document, printed in normal mode, gave 7.9ppm, so not too far off the ISO figures. Automatic duplex is standard on this machine and our 20 page document printed as 10 duplex pages produced 4.6 sides per minute, which is quite a bit quicker than, for example, Canon’s high-end all-in-one, the https://www.trustedreviews.com/canon-pixma-mg8250_Printer_review PIXMA MG8250.
A single-page colour copy took 27s from the flatbed and a five-page black text copy fed from the ADF completed in 56s. 15 x 10cm photos took from a very speedy 35s to a still more than respectable 1:03, depending on the print source. Printing from Epson’s Android application is quick and easy and gives a bit more control than many apps of this type.
Print quality is Epson’s usual mixture, with rather heavy-looking black text showing some ink feathering counterbalanced by superb photos, with plenty of intricate detail and near ideal colour rendition, even in those darker shadowed areas.
In between, colour graphics are reasonably solid and black over colour registration is good, though a colour photocopy looked washed out, with reversed text very muddy against a black which was only dark grey.
Epson’s Elephant inks come in two yields, though even the high yield is comparatively low. Page costs come out at a reasonable 3.3p for black and slightly pricey but still acceptable 10.4p for colour – all told, not bad for a six-ink printer.
As a top-of-the-range photo all-in-one, the Epson Expression Photo XP-850 is a bit of a mixed bag. While it has a lot of the functions you would expect from a premium machine, some design choices, such as its inability to fold its trays away, and it’s indifferent print quality on plain paper, don’t fit expectations. You need to compare it against high-end offerings from Canon and HP.
Score in detail
Print Speed 8
Print Quality 7
|Card slot||SD, MemoryStick, CompactFlash, USB drive|
|Connection Type||Ethernet, USB|
|Extra Features||88mm touchscreen with touch panel, duplex print, CD/DVD print, fax|
|Number of Catridges||6|
|Sheet Capacity||100-sheet tray + 20-sheet photo tray|
|Print Resolution (Dots per inch)||5760 x 1440 (enhanced)dpi|
|Rated Black Speed (Images per minute)||32ipm|
|Rated Colour Speed (Images per minute)||32ipm|
|Max Paper Weight||255g/sm|
|Print Without PC||Yes|
|Scan Resolution (Dots per inch)||4800 x 4800dpi|