It seems no matter how many printers I test, they always seem to get better. Each year more features are added and each year the print quality gets better. This year Epson has come out with a couple of new, top of the line, Artisan all-in-one printers. Today I am looking at the Artisan 700 — a multifunction printer that can print photos, CDs and DVDs, scan and copy.
- 4 in 1 with WiFi: Print / Copy / Scan / Ultra Hi-Def Photo
- Auto Photo Correction; preview on LCD
- Professional quality CD/DVD printing
- Two-sided printing saves paper
- Ultra Hi-Definition photos last 4x longer than photo lab prints
- Wi-Fi and Ethernet networking
- Two paper trays always ready to print photos and documents
- Print personal note paper & greeting cards
What would a printer be without the ability to print? Well this printer can print on just about any type of surface meant for printing, from photo paper, to printable DVDs. With the optional duplexer two-sided printing is a snap.
This printer also uses Claria Hi-Definition Ink which is currently one of the best and longest lasting inks you can buy. Because of this the photos that this printer prints will last 4x longer than photos that are printed in a photo lab.
Being able to print doesn’t do you a lot of good unless you can connect to the computer that has your documents and photos. Have no fear, there are at least 5 ways to get your photos and documents to the printer. First, you can connect it directly to the computer with a USB cable, this is good if you only have one computer. If you have more than one computer and a network, then you can connect to the network with either an Ethernet cable or via WiFi. The printer also supports a Bluetooth adapter, so if you have a phone or camera with Bluetooth then you can print directly from those devices. Finally, the last way is to plug in a memory card or USB stick into one of the many memory slots.
Not only can you print directly from a memory card or a USB stick, but the printer can enhance and fix those photos if they have problems like red eye or are too light or dark.
The printer has a built-in paper tray that functions like two paper trays. The bottom part of the paper tray is for larger paper, it can hold up to 8.5″ x 14″, and the top tray can hold up to 5″ x 7″ paper.
The printer is very compact. On top is simply the scanner, the maximum size that can be scanned is an A4 document.
In front are the main controls for controlling the printer. In the center of the controls is a 2.5” color LCD screen. This is a very high resolution screen, and is great for not only displaying the menus and options, but also for showing photos that will be printed. If you are printing from a memory card or USB stick then you can use the screen to preview the images and see what they will look like before they are printed. However, the screen is small enough that you will have a hard time seeing any details.
To the left of the screen are 5 buttons. The top left button is the power button and obviously used for turning on and off the printer. Below that is the CD tray button, and it is used for ejecting the CD tray so a CD can be placed on it. The top right button has two purposes, and both of them are for use when displaying photos from a memory card. One of the functions is for setting the crop on a picture. You can use this to select the part of the picture that you want to print. The second function is to change how the photos are displayed. By default the photos are shown one at a time, but if you press this button twice it will change to a thumbnail view so you can see many of them at the same time.
Below that button is another, and this one is used for setting auto correct on and off. This will instruct the printer to choose the best settings for your photo and use them when the photo is printed. If however, it does not choose the best settings, you can always override them by choosing your own settings. These settings can be found by pressing the menu button and scrolling over to the photo settings.
In the middle of these four buttons is another larger button. This button when pressed will move through the 4 main options that this printer has, photo, copy, scan and setup. As you press the button each item is highlighted by a small graphic on each corner of the button. At first glance it looks like you should be able to press each of the corners and go directly to each item, but that is not the case, pressing the button just moves to the next item in order.
On the right side of the screen is another bunch of buttons. The first set of buttons are for accessing and navigating the menus, except for the two in the top corners. Those two are for increasing and decreasing the number of copies made when you use the copy functionality. The next button is a large one and it is simply labeled start, and is for starting the copy process. The last button is a stop and reset button.
The whole control console lifts up. This serves two purposes that I have found so far. The first is to give you a better viewing angle, and the second is to open up a space so you can get to the CD/DVD tray. As you lift the controls up they will lock into place. To get them to go back down you need to press a button which is at the top right of the controls.
Below the buttons is the CD tray, paper output, and input trays. The first one and closest to the top is the CD tray. Pressing the CD tray button causes this tray to come out, but before you can put a CD on it you must lift the controls up. This opens up a space so you can reach in and place the CD on the tray.
Below that is the paper output tray. It pulls out so that it can support anything from 4″x6″ all the way up to 8.5″ x 14″.
At the very bottom is the paper input tray. Actually it is two paper trays built into one. There is an upper and lower section, the upper section is for large paper, up to 8.5″x14″ and the lower section is for smaller photo paper, up to 5″x7″.
The back of the printer has a spot for a power, USB, and Ethernet cables.
If you open up the top and take a look inside there are really only two spots of interest and one is the ink cartridge holders. Almost all of the previous printers that I have reviewed have had the ink located right on top of the print head, but not with this printer. On this printer they are located off to the side. The small green tab that you see is a kind of lock. It is used to lock the print head into place while being transported. It must be moved before you can print. The Printer has a special place for it just above so it does not get lost.
Testing the printer is the fun part. It is where I get to print off tons of different things and see how well it does. Epson sent a full set of standard ink cartridges and I planned on using it all. The first thing I always like doing is printing out lots of pictures. Printing with the 700 is extremely quick, the Artisan 700 can print up to 38 pages per minute and a single photo can be printed in as little as 10 seconds.
The photos that printed are fantastic. As you can see from the images below. I printed off several photos from different printers to compared the quality of each. I printed photos from the Artisan 700 and the R280, both printers from Epson. The first picture is the original from my camera, the second one is from the R280 and the third one is from the Artisan 700. As you can clearly see for yourself they are very similar, but in my opinion the Artisan 700 does a slightly better job.
One of the features of the Artisan is that it will auto correct photos that are printed from a memory card or USB stick. It can also automatically remove red eye. The first image is the original from my camera, the second one is an auto corrected photo and the third has red eye turned on. As you can see the auto correction works ok, it made some changes, but I am not sure they were necessary. The red eye reduction, also worked reasonably well, except that it was a little aggressive when identifying eyes. As you can see it thought part of the girls mouth was a red eye and it turned it black.
Printing documents is also very fast. I was able to print 7 full color pages in 55 seconds. The only complaint I have is that the pages printed in order, which means the first page was at the bottom of the stack and I had to reorder the pages by hand.
Printing DVD is a lot of fun. I bought my last printer, the R280, just because it could print on CDs and DVDs. The Artisan 700 makes the process even better because it is all built-in. The quality is also superb, As you can see from the image it is very easy to see even the smallest detail.
Next, I wanted to test text. This is where most inkjet printers have the hardest time. I compared the Artisan 700 against my HP 5L laserjet printer. The first image is the 5L and the second one is the Artisan. As you can see the 5L does a much better job with text. I think you will find that no matter what inkjet you buy, a laserjet is always going to do better with text, that is why I have both.
Last, but not least, is scanning. I have some professional color charts that I like to scan to see how well the scanner performs. As you can see it did a decent job, the colors are not perfect, but they are really good.
All during these tests the printer was really quiet. Sometimes I had to watch the printer just to make sure it was printing. To emphasize this fact I have recorded a short video of the printer printing a 4″x6″ photo, pay attention to how quiet it is. The scanner is also really quiet and fast, so if you are not paying attention you will miss it.
One additional plus is that the ink is a bit cheaper than with my current R280. For my R280 it costs about $20 for each high capacity cartridge and for the Artisan 700 it is about $16. However, I could not find any information about capacity so I don’t know if I am also getting less ink.
Warranty and Support
The warranty for the Artisan 700 is simply a two year warranty that covers parts and labor for manufacturer defects. In my opinion this is a mediocre warranty. I would like to see longer warranties for all products, but since I am not in charge I don’t get to make that decision.
I am really impressed with the speed, quality, and how quiet the Artisan 700 is. I don’t think I found a single problem with this printer other than the text quality, but that is a tough area for all inkjets. The price is also very reasonable. It is especially nice that the printer comes with a full set of standard color ink cartridges and two high capacity black cartridges, this is about $90 worth of ink. If you are looking for a multifunction printer that can scan, copy, and print then I can highly recommend this printer. If you need a little more, like faxing and a document feeder you may want to check out the Artisan 800. I am giving this printer my 5 star gold award because of how great it is. I am impressed with it and you will be too. As always compare prices before purchasing. The Artisan 700 can also be purchased from Newegg or Amazon.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|