Epson Expression Photo XP-850 Small-In-One Review

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We recently reviewed Epson’s Expression Premium XP-800 Small-in-One Printer. (Read the review.) I was impressed.

Judie and I came back from Aruba having taken a huge number of pictures. Many of them can be seen in this post on “Amazing Aruba“.

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Some of them are so good that I wanted to print and frame them for my home and office. A good quality photo printer is quite handy for doing just that, and while I could have used the XP-800, this presented a perfect time to test out the XP-800’s big brother the XP-850.

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The Epson Expression Photo XP-850 Small-In-One is just $20 more than the XP-800. And while the XP-800 is described as “Ideal for all your everyday projects, the user-friendly Expression Premium Small-in-One printers offer superior image quality for brilliant documents and photos”, the XP-850 is described as “Designed for excellence, Expression Photo all-in-one printers deliver brilliant photos and remarkable speeds in a compact design”. What does this focus on pictures mean in practicality? Let’s check it out.

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What struck me about the XP-850 was just how simple it was to set up and start using. The printer has a beautiful, large and fairly responsive touchscreen. I plugged it in, and it simply began to walk me through the entire process. Within a few taps my location, the date, and the time were set up. The printer then spent a few minutes processing the initial setup information it needed.

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From there I was instructed to open the lid and load the six individual ink cartridges. Having six different cartridges with which to deal is a pain, but it does allow you to run each color out completely before replacing it. You can’t do that if your printer is using just one or two cartridges. Ultimately it can and will save money.

The printer then primed the cartridges and, a short time later, was ready to go to work.

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Getting the printer on my wireless network was equally easy. A few taps as the touchscreen walked me through the process was all it took.

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And here’s the thing — because the printer is wireless, I was able to set up and start printing without ever connecting the printer to the computer.

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I pulled up a picture on my iPhone, tapped “Print” selected the XP-850 and, within seconds, the picture was printing.

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I pulled up a picture on my MacBook Pro, hit print, selected the XP-850 and it printed. Better still, I had put small photo paper in one tray and large photo paper in the other, and each time the printer knew which tray to use. I used the app Diptic to create a collage of images from one of our sailing trips, exported the picture to my camera role, hit print and… I had a nice copy in hand a minute later. That kind of simplicity, combined with the suburb image quality the printer puts out is nothing short of impressive.

Gear Diary Epson XP 851

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Like the XP-800, the XP-850 printer is also “Eco-Friendly” with features such as the ability to save up to 50% on paper with automatic, two-sided printing/copying and support for printing on recycled paper.

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I’m truly impressed with the Epson XP-850. Then again, I was impressed with the XP-800 as well. Both have a small footprint, both are under $300 (I’ve seen the XP-850 for less than $250 and the XP-800 for under $200) and both put out excellent photos. The question really isn’t “Is either of them worth getting?”. Both are. The real question is, “Which one should you buy?” The answer to that is rather simple. If you want to print excellent photos and are on a budget look to the XP-800. If you can spend a little bit more and want a printer that is specifically designed for pictures — for example it has six Claria Photo HD color cartridges — go for the XP-850. Either way you won’t be disappointed.

You can learn more and order yours.

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MSRP: $299.99 (Get it through our amazon Affiliate Store for $250 by clicking here. Get the XP-800 for $199.99 here.)

What I Like: Small; All-In-One does pretty much anything and everything you will want from a printer; Wireless printing built right in; Touchscreen is nicely responsive; Menus make setup and use simple; Printed pictures are stunning; Uses six cartridge of photo-quality ink

What Needs Improvement: Nothing, it is a superb all-in-one

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.