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 800 — a multifunction printer that can print photos, CDs and DVDs, scan, copy, and fax.
- 5 in 1 with Wi-Fi: Print / Copy / Scan / Fax / Ultra HD Photo
- Up to 38 ppm, photos in as fast as 10 sec1
- Built-in fax and Automatic Document Feeder
- Wi-Fi and Ethernet networking
- 7.8-inch touch panel, 3.5-inch LCD
- Professional quality CD/DVD printing
- Two-sided printing saves paper
- Create coloring books and personal note paper
- Two-year limited warranty with registration1
- Ultra Hi-Definition photos last 4x longer than photo lab prints
- Two paper trays always ready to print photos and documents
When it comes to printing options, the Artisan 800 has a pluthera. 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. Even without the duplexer you can still print on two sides, it just takes a little more effort.
This printer also uses Claria Hi-Definition Ink which is currently one of the best and longest lasting inks you can get. Because of this, the photos that this printer prints will last 4x longer than photos that are printed in a photo lab.
The Artisan 800 has at least five ways to connect it to a computer. 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 use the second way which is WiFi, or if you have a wired network then you can use the third way which is an Ethernet cable. The fourth way is using the built-in 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 memory slots or the PictBridge port.
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.
Printing photos and text is not the only thing this printer can print. The Artisan 800 is also able to print lined, grid, and coloring pages. All of these things worked out really great. I would only make one comment. The coloring pages can only be printed from a scanned source and not from a picture on a PC, memory card, or USB stick.
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, which is great for photo paper.
The printer is very compact. On top is an Automatic Document Feeder and the scanner. The ADF can hold up to 30 pages and the maximum size that can be scanned is an A4 document.
The controls for the Artisan 800 are very unique. On the front is a very large 7.8″ touch panel with a 3.5″ LCD right in the middle. 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. The screen is not large enough to see a lot of details, but you will get a good idea about the results.
To the left of the screen are six touch panel buttons. Those buttons are Display/Crop, Menu, Home, Left arrow, Auto, and Back. The Display/Crop button is for printing buttons from a flash card. With this button you can choose how to display the pictures (full, thumbnails, or full with details) and you can also crop the images for printing on photo paper. The menu button will display the menu for whatever screen you are currently viewing. The Home button will always take you back to the main screen. The left arrow is used to scroll through each menu’s screen. The Auto button turns on and off Fax auto answer. The back button takes you back one screen.
To the right are another 7 buttons. The buttons are plus and minus, Clear Settings, right arrow, Start, OK, and View Auto Correct. The plus and minus buttons are increasing and decreasing the number of copies of each picture you print. Clear settings is self explanatory. The right arrow is just like the left arrow in that it moves through screens. The Start button will start a copy, or fax. The OK button accepts any setting changes. View Auto Correct turns on the auto correction and displays it on the screen.
To the left of the touch panel are two additional buttons. The top button is the power button, and obviously it is 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 whole control console lifts up freely. 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 the console to go back down you need to press the unlock button, which is at the top left of the controls, above the power button. Pressing the Unlock button will lower the display automatically, do not press it down or it will damage the controls.
Below the control console is the CD tray, paper output, and input trays. The first one 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 and 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 lower section is for large paper, up to 8.5″x14″ and the upper section is for smaller photo paper, up to 5″x7″.
The back of the printer has a spot for power, USB, Ethernet, and phone 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. The printer comes with 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 800 is extremely quick, the Artisan 800 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 800 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 800. As you can clearly see for yourself they are very similar, but in my opinion the Artisan 800 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 800 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 the printing of text. This is where most inkjet printers have the hardest time. I compared the Artisan 800 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 one of each.
To test scanning I have some professional color charts that I like to scan. This gives me a good idea of how well the scanner performs. As you can see it did a decent job, the colors are not perfect, but they are really good.
Last, but not least, is faxing. To test this I sent a 7 page document to myself. I was very happy to see that the fax did not actually dial until all the pages had been scanned into memory. The scanning was quick, taking about 5 seconds per page. Once they were all scanned the fax dialed the number and sent them to the destination. I was sending black and white pages so it was fairly quick. The whole process took about 5 minutes. I don’t have a second color fax, but I imagine that it would take quite a bit longer, because it takes longer to scan color and color document would also have more data to send to the destination.
All during these tests the printer was really quiet. Sometimes I had to watch the printer just to make sure it was printing. 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 800 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 800 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 800 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 MSRP of $419.99 is quite expensive, but it very easy to find it for a lot cheaper. 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, print, and fax then I can highly recommend this printer. If you don’t need a faxing or a document feeder you may want to check out the Artisan 700. I am giving this printer my Editors Choice award because of how great it is. I am impressed with it and you will be too. As always compare prices before purchasing.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|