Top critical review
304 people found this helpful
Overall Good, compare carefully
on 7 November 2011
This printer replaced my HP 7280 all in one. The Epson 730 is used mainly at home for scanning, printing homework, occasional colour document printing and photo-copying b&w docs in the home. (I mainly use a laserjet for B&W printing). I spent about a week looking at HP, Epson, Cannon and Brother in the 100-150 pound price bracket. Decided on this printer because it offered the best specified print heads at the price plus it had airprint and a print email server. This purchase was a compromise between performance, cost and features. I couldn't find anything that offered all the features I really wanted for less than 250 pounds and I wasn't prepared to pay that much for an inkjet. I am technically competent and work in tech industry.
-Good overall design and the touchpad interface particularly works well and is surprisingly intuitive
-Airpint and email print sever, works flawlessly and is very easy to set up
-Wireless set up and connection works flawlessly, printing in less than 15 mins from taking out the box
-Photo print quality is exceptional, text is OK, but not the best, photo-copying OK
-Duplexer (double sided printing) works great
-Ability to leave it switched on and for it to go into sleep / active mode automatically
-Ink prices are excellent. I'm used to paying 20 pounds for ink, even Epson original ink is only £10, non Epson ink £3
-Six separate ink cartridges, I prefer this set up for good colour reproduction although some printers only have four or five cartridges.
The not so good:
-Text printing is fairly poor with bleeding at text edges and a slightly fuzzy look to some text fonts. It's good enough, but could be a lot better, most folks won't notice but I just have a critical eye
-Duplexer at the back of the printer adds 30% to the depth of an otherwise nice design and relatively compact device. Measure carefully if placing it in a tight space or cupboard
-Software interface is very poor. `Epson Scan' and print preferences is very poor with minimal features and control options. I think Epson got confused here between what features to put on the printer touch screen and the computer software. HP is definitely ahead by a clear mile in this control software area. This was a big disappointment with the Epson because I'm used to lots of software control over scanning, print output and other features
-The user guide is very poor and while detailed user guides to set up more complex operations are online via Epson UK. The Epson UK site had dead links to these guides and the CD guides didn't work either for me. So I went to Epson's USA site (where this printer is called the 730 Artisan) The guides there are a million times better and include video guides.
-A blue light constantly flashes on the printer every time it's used for printing, scanning etc. I've put black tape over this annoying feature. What is the purpose of a flashing light Epson ? how totally annoying !
-I read reviews that the paper tray was flimsy, but I find it OK, just as good as other makes and probably better in most cases, than other brands
-The paper collector mechanism (collects paper after printing) could be a better design, mine wasn't installed correctly and it pulled-off completely when I first used it, but I refitted it correctly and its now OK.
-This printer should have a sheet feeder mechanism; the price difference to get a similar Epson printer with this feature is over £100 more which it too high, for such a simple feature that's included in competitor models at this price.
-Where is the OCR software (optical character recognition software) I couldn't find this despite an OCR file on the CD which was empty !
-I haven't used the card reader slots or other media reader slots, but they look fairly standard and allow you to use the printer without the computer.
Overall, then a pretty good printer for the price, but it probably has a little more design flair than function. The features like initial set-up, airprint, email server and touch screen are really excellent, but what good is that if the text printing is poor. Scanning is good, but scanning software lets it down badly...I now use `Photoshop'. Photo printing and photo copying is very good as are ink prices. In fairness I am comparing it to my old HP printer that cost in excess of £300 when new, whereas this Epson cost a third that price and so can't be expected to perform at the same level. For a mid range printer though it's a good buy and you can't really go wrong with this choice. The HP printers in this range are not good in my opinion (too bulky / not robust) but the Cannon Pixma MG6250 might be worth a try and for me it was ultimately a toss-up between this Epson and Cannon. I chose the Epson ultimately, because of it's low cost ink prices, features, particularly airprint and email server and in my case a two-year guarantee that will give me two years of hassle free printing. When I next change printers in 2-3 years I expect performance / price will have moved on again.