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Epson Stylus Photo 895 Inkjet Printer Review

Epson Stylus Photo 895 Inkjet Printer Review - Epson Stylus Photo 895 test

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Category : Inkjet Printers
Product : Epson Stylus Photo 895
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Epson have designed the Stylus Photo 895 to function as a standard wired to your computer printer, or as a stand-alone printer using the built in PCMCIA card reader and LCD option screen. This dual functionality will make it very attractive to those people who want to print their digital photos without buying a computer.

As with almost any product in todays digital-imaging market, competition is fierce. With HP, Canon and Lexmark producing their own flavours, to name but a few. Epson have quite a task on their hands to stand out from the crowd.

Epson Stylus Photo 895

Main features

  • 2880x720dpi resolution
  • Standalone printing capability
  • 6 Colour printing
  • Lightfastness up to 20 years with Epson Matte Paper - Heavyweight
  • Print roll capability
  • PCMCIA card reader with CompactFlash adapter included
  • Borderless prints
  • Print Image Matching technology
  • USB
  • Priced around 200
Design, interfaces and installation

This printer can only be used via USB (no cable supplied), as we've started to see on several printers now. As well as the power and USB connections there is a socket for a small LCD preview monitor (75), an optional extra for seeing the pictures stored on your cards.

 

Epson Stylus Photo 895

To be able to print from the cards you use in your digital camera you must buy a PCMCIA adapter (shown right). One is included for CompactFlash cards, but if your camera uses SmartMedia or MemorySticks you will need to buy a suitable adapter.
Some people may want this printer just for the added benefit of having the card reader built into the printer, and not as a separate device.
Epson Stylus Photo 895

When using the printer in stand-alone mode, you use the control panel shown to the right.

This large LCD allows you to set various options. These are controlled by four directional switches below the LCD which are easy to use.

We'd would have liked to see more options on this screen, and for it to be more intuitive as the selecting of photos wasn't very straightforward. This is a good reason to buy the add on LCD unit so you can double check you are printing the correct photograph.

Although a little quirky to use at first, we found the stand-alone printing facility to work well, but would always prefer to print via the PC.

 

Epson Stylus Photo 895

Two cartridges are used, a black one and a colour one. The colour cartridge is composed of six separate ink reservoirs. This means when one colour runs out you have to replace the whole cartridge, and end up spending more on ink than you need too. Thankfully Epson haveare now introducing printers where you can replace individual colours as they run out.

Replacing cartridges is simple, just needing to lift the grey covers, pop the old ones out then insert thereplacements and close the covers.

Both cartridges cost around 15 each.

Epson Stylus Photo 895

One of the best features of this and some other Epson printers is the ability to use a roll of paper for larger than A4 prints.

A Premium Glossy Photo Paper Roll (100mm x 8m) costs around 11. Various other roll sizes and types are available. No paper roll is included with the printer, only the roll holder.

These rolls allows you to make panoramic prints (as shown below), or set a queue of standard sized pictures printing off the one roll.

Epson Stylus Photo 895

Epson Stylus Photo 895

The included manual is over 100 pages long and is well laid out with detailed explanations of some of the more advanced features the beginner might not understand.

Software
The driver software for this printer is plain and functional making it straightforward to use.
The animated picture below shows some of the various options available. It's good that Epson have included the ink level meter here as well as on the print status program because it makes it easy to check if you need to buy new cartridges.

Epson Stylus Photo 895

Also quite useful is the print preview program (shown below). This allows you to see how how the print will appear and not all image editing programs have this built in, neither do all printer drivers so it's a welcome inclusion.

Epson Stylus Photo 895

Lastly, Epson include their PhotoQuicker software (shown below). This acts as an image viewer, basic editor and provides excellent printing options. You can select from all the various paper types Epson provide, and it's especially useful when using the attached Paper roll to print. The user interface takes a little getting used to as it has been jazzed up from the standard windows type interface more commonly seen.

When you insert a card into the printer's card reader it automatically reads the images from the card and loads them into PhotoQuicker, then printing is straightforward. Although this program should be easy to use for most people, we'd still have liked to seen better documentation on using it included.

Epson Stylus Photo 895

Performance
Epson produce a wide range of papers for their printers, and you'll find print speeds vary according to which type you use. The longest print time we found was with their Colorlife Photo Paper which they say is fade resistant. Not only did it take 13 minutes to print a page, the paper also needs over 24 hours to dry.
Luckily standard glossy photo paper is quicker to print, and print times were around five minutes faster per page. In designing this printer the focus has obviously been on its features for stand-alone printing rather than high speed, as the following performance table shows:


Print-type Speed Quality mode
Mono text 4.3ppm Draft
Mono text 1.8ppm Standard
Colour Graphics 2.3ppm Draft
Colour Graphics 1.4ppm Standard
Photo (A4 full page) 0.11ppm Photo

Print quality
We were pleased with the performance overall. Colours produced were rich and vibrant, and detail levels were very good for a printer in this price range. With the option of 2880dpi as well as the excellent 1440dpi even the most quality conscious of home users should be very satisfied with their results.

Density

Epson Stylus Photo 895
Performance was excellent for this photograph, with the printer managing to pull out most of the darker details well. The blacks are deep and realistic properly conveying the dark atmosphere. Detail is also good, with the smaller objects like the bulbs around the clock being sharp when viewed close up. The only minor let down was in some areas of the photo the dark areas were too dark, losing a tiny amount of detail.

Skin tone

Because of the printer having excellent colour capabilities that aspect is hard to criticise here. Sharpness levels are still great, but some of the fine hair detail has been lost. Epson Stylus Photo 895

Colour

As we'd expected the colours are rich and vibrant, with the gradation in the blue sky transferring well. Epson Stylus Photo 895

Verdict
This printer has certainly impressed us, and for the price it will be hard to beat. Print quality is excellent, as is the driver and the software provided. The extra functionality of card reader and stand alone printing are selling points on their own for some people. Yet you should seriously consider if you will make use of this extra functionality and if not then you'd be better choosing a printer without it and using the money saved for paper and cartridges.

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